The Mentor Michigan Foster Care Initiative began in 2011 and is a partnership between Mentor Michigan and the Department of Human Services (DHS). The goal of the initiative is to enhance support for mentoring programs serving youth in foster care and increase the number of foster youth in mentoring relationships.
As DHS works to ensure youth in foster care are given the opportunity to be mentored, Mentor Michigan has developed capacity-building resources, mentor training materials, and mentor recruitment tools for state mentoring programs that address the unique needs of youth in foster care. Mentor Michigan and DHS are also collaborating together to create resources on mentoring for caseworkers, foster youth, and foster parents as well as providing assistance in a media campaign to raise public awareness around the need for mentors for youth aging out of foster care.
Managing a successful mentoring program for children and youth in foster care requires familiarity with the foster care system and the resources that have already been developed to help these young people reach their full potential. This section contains links to useful information and tools specific to mentoring foster care youth, with a particular focus on supporting youth preparing to age out of the system (ages 14+). Mentor Michigan will continue to update this section as new resources are identified or become available.
Mentor Michigan Faith-Based Recruitment Toolkit
Mentoring programs across the state are seeking caring adults who can help be a friend and mentor for youth in foster. When recruiting mentors for this role, one potential population to consider partnering with is the faith-based community. In addition to making great mentors, people in the faith-based community can support youth in foster care in a variety of ways, including hosting match activities, holding a special collection, and more. The resources in this toolkit can help you get started with your faith-based recruitment efforts.
Best Practice Guidelines from NYC Administration for Children's Services
This webpage outlines "Best Practice Guidelines for Foster Care Youth Mentoring" in the areas of ‘building organizational capacity,' ‘working with mentors,' ‘working with mentees,' and ‘working with case workers.' Subheadings include program structure, recruitment, screening, training principals and components, matching, expectations, and referrals.
An Overview of the Foster Care System in America (video)
A comprehensive overview of the legislation, definitions, demographics and decision points by Lynda Arnold, Vice President of the Child Welfare League of America, from the American Academy of Pediatrics' 2009 National Conference and Exhibition; video is geared towards medical professionals, but has useful information, and includes PowerPoint slides. (Length: 32 minutes)
Foster Youth Mentorship Training for Program Managers
Developed by the EMT Group for the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, this training guide has six modules for program managers new to foster care youth mentoring or those wanting to expand service in that area. Mentor Michigan is currently modifying Module 1: A Child's Path Through the Foster Care System to reflect information on foster care in Michigan.
FosterClub maintains a national network for young people in foster care. Check out the "What is foster care?" coloring book, the "Transition Toolkit," and other free downloads you can provide to mentors in supporting foster care youth. You may also want to connect to the nearest youth board to find out what asset trainings may be available for mentees and mentors to attend.
Casey Life Skills
Linked to Casey Family Programs, this site offers programs free access to the Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessments (ACLSA), learning plans, and learning resources to help engage foster care youth in gaining the life skills they need to exit care successfully; organizations can receive authorized training as well as access ACLSA aggregate data reports. Information on how to utilize the tools can be found under each tab. Life skill areas covered: career planning, communication, daily living, home life, housing and money management, self care, social relationships, work life, and work and study skills.
Fostering Connections Resource Center
Learn about the 2008 Fostering Connections law and the ways changes in foster care policies, especially those around older youth, could affect the mentors and mentees in your program.
National Foster Care Month
Learn more about foster care and the National Foster Care Month Campaign held in May. Find out how you can get involved in changing a lifetime; access the National Foster Care Month Toolkit; and many other great resources to help you celebrate National Foster Care Month.
Mentoring Youth in Foster Care Research
View research studies that relate to mentoring youth in foster care, including building lasting matches, mentoring young people leaving foster care, and addressing the unmet educational needs of children and youth in the child welfare system.