Fostering Healthy Connections through Peer Mentoring: Foster Youth Give Each Other a Helping Hand
The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), in partnership with FosterClub, has secured funding from the New York Life Foundation to launch a three-year initiative, Fostering Healthy Connections, a unique peer mentoring program in which former foster youth mentor children and youth currently in the foster care system.
This initiative seeks to support eight CWLA member agencies, in geographically diverse areas, in developing or enhancing peer mentoring programs. These peer mentoring programs will be aimed at preparing current and former foster youth to develop healthy connections in order to
- improve their educational and behavioral outcomes and
- strengthen their interpersonal relationships.
CWLA will act in an intermediary grantmaker role and will assist member agencies by providing some funding, consultation, technical assistance, and training, as well as support in developing a strategy for program sustainability, resource development, and fundraising approaches. During this three-year project, grantees will be required to secure a 1:1 funding match in year two and a 2:1 funding match for year three.
CWLA, in consultation with project partners FosterClub and Father Maloney's Boys' Haven, will provide a mentor and mentee curriculum, a "Peer Mentoring Implementation Guide," peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and youth-friendly online resources and materials. While member agencies will have some local flexibility, the overall structure of the CWLA peer mentoring program elements will be consistent across sites.
We Can Create Positive Outcomes for Foster Youth
Our initial pilot site agency, Father Maloney's Boys' Haven in Kentucky, has successfully completed the first six months of Fostering Healthy Connections and has demonstrated the potential for this initiative to be replicated across the nation.
CWLA is looking forward to working with our members to create an evidence informed peer mentoring program model that supports positive outcomes for former foster youth and current children and youth in the foster care system.
For more information please contact Kerrin Sweet, Foster Care Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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