Best Practices for the Recruitment of Mentees
for Programs Serving Youth Who Are, Or Have Been In Receipt Of Child Protection Services
Involvement in a mentoring program is an excellent way to guide these children and youth to lead productive lives. But participation in a mentoring program, like anything else, may not be for everyone. Developing a solid recruitment strategy will help to identify and approach the children/youth who will benefit most from the program. Many of the existing mentoring programs serving this population accept referrals from multiple sources including social workers, foster parents and the youth themselves.
“There is a lack of understanding of these youth. There isn’t adequate training on the staff level. That leads to an intake process that may not be inclusive and accessible to the youth, and that makes it challenging to have a successful mentor matching process. Mentors also need to understand LGBT2SQ youth and their needs. We’re not seeing any of that training being implemented except in some small parts of the country.”
- Create opportunities for youth to self-refer. Keep in mind, certain youth, for example, youth who are LGBT2SQ may be reluctant to access a mentoring program because of their experiences of past discrimination or perceived homophobia. These youth can be doubly stigmatized because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity and their cultural, racial, or ethnic identity. Ensure non-discriminatory policies and practices are in place. Make certain that forms contain gender neutral language. Add LGBT2SQ identity-affirming language on any websites and other materials so that LGBT2SQ youth know they are welcome.
- Strive for inclusion in the recruitment plan, including engaging underserved groups in meaningful ways and proactively removing the barriers to their participation.
- Consideration should be given to any language barriers that may exist for ethno-cultural youth and the resources for addressing them.
- Regardless of the source of referral, it is important to obtain the consent of the legal guardian and to ensure that the youth’s participation is voluntary.
- Ensure that the needs of the youth recruited for the program match the services that the program provides.
- Nooreen Pribhai, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada