Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Out-of-School Time Services (PA-OST) 15: Programming and Activities: Mentoring

Agencies provide the screening, training, monitoring, and support needed to facilitate successful mentoring relationships.
NA The agency does not offer mentoring as part of its OST program.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: OUT-OF-SCHOOL TIME SERVICES (PA-OST)

VIEW THE STANDARDS

Purpose

Children and youth who participate in Out-of-School Time programs gain the personal, social, emotional, and educational assets needed to support healthy development, increase well-being, and facilitate a successful transition through childhood and adolescence, and into adulthood.
Note: While most of the agencies implementing this core concept will likely run on-site mentoring programs, the standards can also apply to agencies that allow mentors and mentees to meet off-site.
1
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
2
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.
3

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
4
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Expectations regarding mentoring
  • Procedures for screening mentors
  • Procedures for orientation and training for mentors
  • Table of contents of mentor orientation and training curricula
  • Procedures for matching
  • Procedures for monitoring and supporting matches
  • Procedures for closing matches
  • Daily schedules for past month
  • Mentor orientation and training curricula 
  • Documentation tracking mentor completion of required trainings
  • Materials provided to children, youth, and families explaining the mentoring initiative
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Mentors
    4. Children, youth, and families
  • Observe program activities
  • Review files of children and youth
  • Review mentor files

PA-OST 15.01

The mentoring initiative: 
  1. is designed to help children and youth build strong, supportive relationships with positive role models; 
  2. is focused on promoting the growth, development, and empowerment of children and youth; and
  3. establishes clear expectations regarding how frequently mentors and mentees should meet, and the minimum length of time mentors should commit to the program.
Examples: Although expectations can vary based on program type, many agencies ask mentors to agree in writing to meet with mentees at least one hour per week, or for several hours once or twice a month, for at least a year (i.e. school or calendar year, depending on program type and schedule).

Fundamental Practice

PA-OST 15.02

The mentor screening process is completed before a prospective mentor serves children and youth in any capacity, and includes: 
  1. a written application;
  2. a face-to-face interview; and
  3. reference checks, including both personal and professional references, when possible.
Note: As addressed in PA-HR 2.04, the agency should also conduct fingerprint-based state and federal criminal history record checks, child abuse and neglect registry checks, and sex offender registry checks. If mentors have opportunities to transport mentees the agency should also review their driving records, as referenced in PA-ASE 4.02.

PA-OST 15.03

In order to determine a prospective mentor’s suitability, the mentor screening process includes an assessment of:
  1. whether the prospective mentor’s personal qualities will facilitate the development of a trust-based relationship centered on the mentee; and
  2. whether the prospective mentor has the time and availability needed to establish and maintain a strong mentoring relationship.

PA-OST 15.04

Mentors receive orientation and training that address: 
  1. the philosophy of both the program and its mentoring component;
  2. the responsibilities of the mentor to the agency and the mentee;
  3. the responsibilities of the agency to the mentor;
  4. relationship development, including the importance of building trust;
  5. establishing appropriate boundaries and setting limits;
  6. child and youth development, including any special strengths and needs of the population served;
  7. diversity and cultural awareness; and
  8. realistic expectations for the relationship.

Interpretation

At least two hours of in-person, pre-match training should be provided.

PA-OST 15.05

The agency considers the characteristics of mentors and mentees when making matches.
Examples: Characteristics that may be relevant to consider when making matches include language spoken, interests, age, gender identity and expression, background, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual identity, sexual orientation, special needs, personality and temperament, strengths, and/or the expressed preferences of the mentor, mentee, and the mentee’s parent or guardian. Logistical issues, such as availability to meet at the same time, can also be relevant to consider.

Fundamental Practice

PA-OST 15.06

Mentors, mentees, and mentees’ parents or legal guardians provide written, informed consent to: 
  1. the proposed match; and
  2. the rules and requirements of the mentoring initiative.

PA-OST 15.07

In an effort to facilitate the development of a successful mentoring relationship, the agency: 
  1. arranges, and ensures personnel are available during, the initial match meeting; and
  2. ensures that mentoring meetings are frequent enough, and continue long enough, to meet the objectives of the relationship.

Fundamental Practice

PA-OST 15.08

Personnel monitor the appropriateness and effectiveness of the match by checking in with mentors, mentees, and mentees’ parents or legal guardians at least: 
  1. bi-weekly, during the first month of mentoring; and
  2. once a month, thereafter.

Interpretation

Personnel should use these check-ins to learn about the activities that occurred during match meetings, the quality of the mentoring relationship, and the impact of the mentoring relationship on both the mentee and mentor, as well as to make sure that the mentoring relationship does not present any safety issues. More frequent monitoring will likely be necessary if a match is considered to be in jeopardy of premature closing. Agencies that have trouble obtaining input from parents or legal guardians may seek input from other involved adults, such as teachers or other school-day personnel.

PA-OST 15.09

The agency maintains a record of the date, duration, and activities completed at each mentoring meeting.

PA-OST 15.10

Personnel: 
  1. regularly assess matches to determine if they should be continued or closed; and
  2. provide ongoing support and assistance to facilitate relationship development and address challenges, as needed.
Examples: In addition to regular feedback and support from personnel, ongoing assistance can include access to resources such as specialized publications, experienced mentors, or additional training opportunities.

PA-OST 15.11

When it is necessary to close a match, personnel: 
  1. ensure that the relationship ends in a planned, constructive manner;
  2. meet with mentors to discuss the reasons for, and their feelings about, the closure of the match;
  3. meet with mentees and their families to discuss the reasons for, and their feelings about, the closure of the match;
  4. review rules regarding post-closure contact with all parties, including mentors, mentees, and the families of mentees; and
  5. offer the possibility of re-matching, as appropriate.

Interpretation

Closure procedures should also address situations where one party (i.e. the mentor, mentee, or family of the mentee) is unwilling or unable to engage in the closure process. While it may be hard for some agencies to engage family members, it will be especially important to involve the mentee’s family if the match is determined to be unsuitable or inappropriate, as opposed to when a match is designed to end at a specific time (e.g., at the end of the school year).
Examples: It may be necessary to close a match for a variety of reasons including, for example, if the mentor or mentee relocates, if the match is determined to be unsuitable or inappropriate, or if the match is designed to end at a specific time, such as when the school year ends.