Our Placer Youth Mentor Program assigns volunteer mentors to children who are at-risk of educational failure, and former foster youth who are transitioning into adulthood without family support. These at-risk kids are not currently involved in any court system, but are identified as being at-risk of educational failure (truancy) or of entering the juvenile justice or child welfare systems. The volunteers we assign are not “court-appointed,” so we refer to them as a Youth Mentor. Although the title is different, the training is the same, and many volunteers will take on roles as both CASAs for foster children and Mentors for at-risk youth. These kids are typically referred to us by school counselors at middle schools and high schools.
When foster youth age out of the foster care system at age 18, they often wish to maintain a formal relationship with the CASA. However, once a youth ages out, the case closes and the volunteer is no longer court-appointed. But the relationship with the CASA can continue outside of court in a Youth Mentor relationship.
As with CASA volunteers, Mentors meet weekly with the youth, helping them define and accomplish goals, and introducing them to opportunties and potential life paths that the youth never dreamed possible. As important role models, Mentors strive to navigate at-risk youth and former foster youth toward positive outcomes that will help these young people transition successfully into adulthood.