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Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research

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Social work with youth, Mentoring -- Research, Evidence-based practice in social work


The number of youth mentoring programs has risen significantly in recent decades. This trend, coupled with evidence that programs employing a greater number of empirically supported practices achieve more positive effects for youth participants, has prompted increasing interest in how to promote more widespread use of evidence-based practice standards in mentoring programs. In an effort to describe and better understand efforts to implement recommended standards, we studied a multi-level initiative sponsored by a national advocacy organization in which its state-level Affiliates guided local mentoring programs through a structured quality improvement process. Specifically, we examined organizational readiness for change among mentoring program staff as well as among staff from the state-level Affiliates charged with

supporting the mentoring programs as they implemented their change process. Analysis of in- depth qualitative interviews with 44 staff indicated that programs and supporting Affiliates were

generally highly motivated and committed to the change process. However, because this enthusiasm was not always accompanied by the resources needed to make program change, staff were more measured in their perceptions of change efficacy and noted corresponding challenges that weakened the implementation process. Implications of these findings for practice and future research are discussed.


This is the author’s accepted manuscript without copyediting, formatting, or final corrections. It will be published in its final form in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, published by The University of Chicago Press on behalf of The Society for Social Work and Research:

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