Whether the youth is in foster care, kinship care or a group home setting, caregivers (e.g. parents, foster parents, group home workers, CAS caseworkers, etc.) play an important role in supporting the mentoring relationship. They need to be involved in the match relationship to support it, to share relevant information about the child and recent events…this is a team. Caregivers should have an understanding about mentoring and the role of the mentor and be willing to participate in case management conferences.
Families characterized by sensitivity to others’ ideas and needs and an ability to openly express views are more likely to encourage youth to become involved in positive relationships outside the family. Interviewer should have a clear understanding of the guardian’s stability, availability and understanding of their role in supporting the match relationships and a strong belief that the guardian will positively support the match relationship.
include a history of not returning phone calls, a history of conflict in relationships, a lack of understanding of the important role that guardians play and significant stress that may negatively impact the relationship.
Be aware of the balance that needs to be struck: the more restrictions or matching criteria, the more difficult it will be to match the young person. However it is important to understand the relationship the guardians are looking for in order for them to support it. The age and gender of the young person needs to be taken into consideration for it has bearing on the type of mentoring approach from which they would benefit…instrumental vs relational.
On occasion, the environment in which the young person lives, can expose a volunteer to risky situations. For example, the family may live in a neighbourhood characterized by gang fighting, drug dealing or simply be run down without adequate lighting. Respectfully gather information to help the mentor keep her/himself safe.
Interviewer is looking for responses that show that the applicant understands the differences between a mentoring relationship with a young person and a friendship with an adult. Interviewer should know who lives in the home, or visits regularly, if there are pets or if people smoke inside; be aware of any safety concerns (e.g. bad lighting in the parking lot), etc. Interviewer should have a clear sense of match criteria and restrictions.
would include being overly specific and restrictive regarding the qualities of a mentor, an unwillingness to answer the questions, a known-to-be-violent partner or active gang activity nearby.