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     Evaluation of An Advocacy-based Mentoring Program


Through the OJJDP FY 2011 Research on Best Practices for Mentoring solicitation, OJJDP supported evaluations that would enhance what is understood about mentoring as a prevention strategy for youth who are at risk of involvement or already involved in the juvenile justice system. The Evaluation of An Advocacy-based Mentoring Program evaluated four Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP) in separate regions of the country. The primary goal of the research project was to provide estimates of the effectiveness of youth advocacy as delivered through these programs.

Goals and Objectives:

YAP provides a treatment intervention for reducing serious and chronic delinquency for court-referred youth. This study examined processes and outcomes in the YAP programs in four cities that paid mentors who prioritized advocacy as one element of their mentoring work with youth. The study was designed to inform juvenile justice policy and practice regarding the possible benefits of advocacy-based interventions for this population. The research design was based on information that prior research had collected about YAP services and focused both on identifying key mentoring and advocacy processes that may interrupt chronic delinquency and measuring proximal and distal outcomes related to crime and prosocial behavior.

The overall goal of this study was to better understand the viability of advocacy as an intervention for youth at high risk for future criminal activity, to identify critical practices that may be relevant to YAP and other programs using individualized treatment approaches to reduce delinquency and recidivism through advocacy efforts, and to learn more about which interpersonal interactions and participant characteristics are most influential in successful advocacy efforts. The project objectives were two-fold: (1) Quantify the association between participation in the YAP program and changes in youth delinquency and related outcomes using a rigorous quasi-experimental research design to estimate the degree to which program objectives were realized (i.e., program impact and effectiveness); and (2) identify ways in which advocacy and specific types of mentoring interactions contribute to youth outcomes through program participation. The researchers statistically analyzed program effects on recidivism, deinstitutionalization, and prosocial activity (e.g., school and employment status) using the recurrent institutional cycle.


Data collection for the 163 participating youth in the study ended June 15, 2014, and the final technical report was posted in 2016.

Publications and Products:

Karcher, M.J. and Johnson, D.A. 2016. An Evaluation of Advocacy-based Mentoring as a Treatment Intervention for Chronic Delinquency. Final report for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, grant number 2011-JU-FX-0001. NCJ 250454. Retrieved from:

Karcher, M.J. and Johnson, D.A. 2017. OJJDP-Funded Research in Brief: Advocacy-based Mentoring Evaluation. Research in Brief for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, grant number 2011-JU-FX-0001. NCJ 251116 Retrieved from:

Contact Information:

Jennifer Tyson, Research Coordinator | 202-305-1598

Project Snapshot

Project Title: Evaluation of An Advocacy-based Mentoring Program As a Treatment Intervention for Chronic Delinquency

Most recent solicitation: FY 2011 Research on Best Practices for Mentoring

Grantee: University of Texas at San Antonio

Current award start date: October 1, 2011

Anticipated end date: December 31, 2015

Award status: Closed

Type of research: Evaluation

Related Topical Page: Mentoring

Related Program Page: OJJDP's Programmatic Initiatives in Mentoring

Location of research: Alabama, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania

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