Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work


This study examined the impact of therapeutic mentoring on youth in foster care. Youth outcomes on the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) measure for four groups of youth were compared. Three treatment groups were divided based on the amount of therapeutic mentoring received and compared on CANS outcome scores as measured from baseline to 6, 12, and 18 months. The fourth group did not receive any therapeutic mentoring. Outcome domains for emotional and behavioral functioning, peer relationships, academic functioning, and community involvement were analyzed. All youth in the study (n = 262) received counseling and support through the System of Care (SOC) program, designed to prevent placement disruption for foster youth.

Analyses revealed a significant difference for youth who received therapeutic mentoring compared to youth without therapeutic mentoring. For youth mentored in the first 6 months of participation in the SOC program, improvement was demonstrated in the areas of family and social functioning, school behavior, and recreational activities. In the baseline to 18-month period, mentored youth showed significant improvement on measures for traumatic stress symptoms. Study results suggest that therapeutic mentoring shows promise for enhancing treatment interventions for youth in foster care and warrants further study to maximize the benefits for this specialized approach to mentoring.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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