Big Brothers / Big Sisters« Back to list
|Category||Type||Target Age Group||Setting||Outcomes||Source of Rating|
|Proven Programs||Antisocial Behavior||
||About 33% less likely than control youth to hit someone||
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is a national mentoring program with over 500 autonomously funded agencies. The Big Brothers Big Sisters approach is to match at-risk youth with volunteer adult mentors. All national affiliates (BBBS programs) are based on a uniform level of recruitment, volunteer screening, matching, and continuous supervision and support of matched pairs. Local chapters must adopt standards with minor variations to accommodate local characteristics. The BBBS approach does not target or address any particular aspects of academics, prevention, or risk, but rather emphasizes continuity and consistency in adult relationships. BBBS strives to simply provide a caring adult friend.
They are youth in 4th through 8th grade who have been identified by the schools’ teachers, counselors, or principals, or by law enforcement officials because they are at-risk for gang involvement. The majority of youth referred are performing poorly academically, have poor school attendance, have behavior problems, and lack contact with pro-social peers, or positive adult role models outside of school. Additionally, many are exposed to gang violence in their neighborhoods have relatives in gangs, and some are beginning to exhibit gang-like behaviors, such as putting gang writing in notebooks, dressing in gang attire, and have expressed interest in gangs.
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Big Brothers Big Sisters
References and/or Published Evaluations
The Big Brothers Big Sisters programs have been recognized nationally as an "Effective Program" by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, validating the research and outcome-based results of our mentoring programs.
Additionally, the program model has been categorized by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration's (SAMHSA) national Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices as a "Best Practice", identifying it as a rigorously implemented and evaluated, evidence-based program known to produce consistent, positive outcomes for youth. And, the model has been recognized by OJJDP as an "Exemplary" model, meaning when implemented with a high degree of reliability, this model demonstrates strong empirical findings using a reputable, conceptual framework and an evaluation design of the highest quality (experimental). Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County just received a three year grant allocation from OJJDP to provide enhanced training for our mentors, which will include training that covers the topics of gang awareness and violence prevention.
In 2008, the California Mentor Foundation surveyed mentoring programs that met standards of a background check, orientation, training, and support to the mentoring relationship. The survey targeted youth who had been matched to a mentor for 12 months and asked questions that focused on school attendance, teen parenting, drug usage and gang involvement. A total of 244 programs, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, monitoring 28,204 matches were included in the analysis. The survey responses revealed that 97.2% stayed in school, 95.7% did not use drugs, 99.1% deterred from teen pregnancy, and 95.9% did not join a gang or act out violently. These figures are consistent with the results of three previous surveys conducted by California Mentor Foundation over the last decade.
The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado conducted a project called Blueprints for Violence Prevention, which to-date has analyzed over 800 violence and drug abuse programs to determine which are exemplary and grounded in evidence. Big Brothers Big Sisters is among the 11 model Blueprint programs selected, "meaning the program has a high level of evidence supporting its effectiveness and should be replicated in other communities to prevent violence and drug abuse."
When considering the economic return to society of mentoring programs, a recent study conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) analyzed the Big Brothers Big Sisters model, and when comparing the total benefits of the program to the public cash costs, they calculated a $3.28 return to the community for every dollar spent.
BBBSOC plays a crucial role in the delivery of countywide human services for children living in challenging home and neighborhood environments. Without the benefit of healthy and sustained adult interactions, young children are statistically more likely to engage in destructive behaviors, have trouble in school, and are less likely to form strong bonds with their families, friends or peers.
DeWit, David J. et al. "Feasibility of a Randomized Controlled Trial for Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Community Match Program at the National Level," Children and Youth Services Review, March 2007, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 383-404.
Grossman, Jean Baldwin and Joseph P. Tierney. "Does Mentoring Work? An Impact Study of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program," Evaluation Review, June 1998, vol. 22, no. 3, pp 403-426._ Back to Top
Provided by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County (BBBSOC) organization, September 2010
- Has this program been replicated at other sites? If so, how many and where are they?
Yes. The Big Brothers Big Sisters community-based mentoring program has been replicated at other sites. There are approximately 400 affiliate BBBS agencies that offer this program in communities throughout the United States.
- Do you have a formal curriculum or program guidelines in place? Is there a cost for these materials?
Yes. As an affiliate of BBBS of America, BBBSOC is guided by national standards, a service delivery model, program guidelines and materials, a data base system, performance management system, training modules and activities, marketing and support materials for executive and support staff, all of which help us achieve and sustain a high quality of service and greater impact to our community. Some of these items are free of charge to us, and others are associated with a cost. For example, we pay for our database system annually, and any marketing materials have costs associated with them, which are our own production costs or fees paid to national BBBS to acquire them.
What kind of training and technical assistance is available for this program?
Upon being accepted to the program, volunteers attend an extensive three hour, mandatory pre-match training on the program requirements, and receive a detailed description of the children they will be mentoring, as well as the complex rules surrounding their relationship with the child. Additionally, volunteers are provided supplemental trainings as needed or required by partners covering topics affecting youth, such as Gang Awareness, Attachment Disorder, Cultural Awareness, Substance Abuse, Abusive Relationships, and School Performance.
Mentoring does not always come easy to everyone that becomes a mentor in our program, and difficulties sometimes arise that can burden even a skilled mentor. Ongoing, supplemental training will equip the mentors with the information and strategies they need to foster realistic expectations and maximize their chances for developing a mutually satisfying relationship with their Little Sisters/Brothers and sustaining the relationships through difficult periods.
Once the program has been implemented, do you offer ongoing assistance with fidelity monitoring or quality assurance?
Yes. Support between each match is administered by a BBBSOC Match Support Specialist (MSS). The MSS plays a critical role in the program, ensuring that the matches are safe and achieving expected goals, and receiving the proper guidance and support needed to sustain a meaningful relationship over a long period of time.
The MSS manages expectations for all parties proactively in order to anticipate emerging problems or barriers to match success. They also encourage, celebrate and validate matches as they evolve into friendships.
Mentors matched to youth of elevated risk and need such as those at risk for gang involvement, juvenile delinquency or youth violence need consistent, ongoing support and reassurance that their contributions to the children are extremely valuable, and so that any problems that arise can be detected early in order to avoid premature match closure.
A MSS will contact each match (mentor/mentee) at scheduled intervals, which are aligned with the national BBBS policy for best practice in match supervision/support, or more frequently if necessary. In addition to making direct contact with mentors and mentees during the supervision and support process, MSS are required to stay in regular contact with parents and or caregivers and teachers or social workers if necessary.
- Can an organization obtain assistance with data collection or measurement of outcomes?
Yes. We will be administering a variety of surveys to youth, mentors and parents during the match to measure the impact the program has on each child. We will provide the results of these surveys to the program partners.
- Which local stakeholders (law enforcement, local govt., CBOs, etc.) have to participate in order for this program to be successful?
In order for BBBSOC to be successful in our scope of work for this project, it is necessary for us to have a strong relationship with law enforcement, the schools involved and any counseling/community services offered to the families in order to coordinate services. For example; if a family is not able to attend meetings at our agency location, we need to coordinate meetings for the family; either at the child's school, or with the counselors conducting additional case management. Additionally, if parents are not cooperative in bringing their children to scheduled interviews, we rely upon law enforcement to follow up with the family and make direct contact with them, so they understand the importance of securing community resources such as the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for their children. Another example would be if a family moves or disconnects their phone, and our agency or mentors can't reach the child to conduct case management or schedule match outings, we rely upon the schools, counselors and law enforcement to assist us in locating the family in order to preserve the match.
- Do you recommend the use of a risk assessment tool in identifying referrals for this program?
If so, which one? Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County does not currently use a risk assessment tool to identify referrals for this program. Referrals are identified by the schools and law enforcement.