Mentoring Foster Youth - SFUSD School Health Programs

San Francisco Unified School District
Introduction to Training
This training was developed to support mentors
interested in working with foster youth. Through a
series of interactive activities you will have the
opportunity to improve knowledge of effective
strategies for supporting and empowering foster youth.
The training will take about 45 minutes. Upon
completion, please fill out the training evaluation by
clicking on the link on the last page.
Materials Required:
- Pencil
- 3 Sheets of Paper
Learning Objectives
 Increase awareness about the unique needs of foster
 Improve understanding of foster youth strengths and
 Increase awareness of the benefits of mentoring foster
 Improve knowledge of strategies to support foster
youth in mentoring programs.
Ice Breaker – Change Exercise
 Take a close look at everything you are wearing.
 Now take the next minute to change 5 physical things
about what you are wearing. (i.e., roll up sleeves, take
off shoe)
 Without changing anything back, change 5 more
things about what you are wearing.
 Once again, without changing anything back from the
first two sets of changes, select 5 more things to
change about what you are wearing.
 Please stop and move to the next page without
changing anything back.
Reflective Questions
 What did you notice about change?
 How did the changes make you feel?
 Why do you think we started with this activity when
talking about foster youth?
 We like to begin with the change activity because, as
you may have experienced, continuous change is often
 To enter the foster care system, youth go through
numerous steps before their initial placement. The
following slide describes the entry path for many of
the foster youth that you will mentor. The entry
process into the foster care system is complex, and
requires that youth interact with numerous adults.
Mike’s Story Part I
 Mike is seven years old, one of nine children all under the
age of fifteen. He was raised by his grandmother who
recently passed away and is currently residing in a single
parent home with his mother. Mike’s mother suffers from
severe mental illness and has been in and out of the home
throughout his life.
 For the last three weeks Mike’s mom has been missing from
his home and is unreachable. During his Mom’s
disappearance, Mike has been periodically missing school.
 The next slide outlines the entry process into foster care.
We will continue Mike’s story after the foster care entry
slide. Please pay attention to the number of adults Mike
comes in contact with during this process.
Report filed about alleged abuse/neglect
• Call screened and report prompts an Emergency Response
Emergency Response Investigation
• In-Person CPS Investigation
• Evidence of abuse or neglect substantiated
Child removed from home to short-term placement in protective
• Relatives identified
• Child protection center
• Court petition filed/Detention hearing (48 hours after child in
Team Decision Making Meeting (TDM)
• Team determines “best fit” for placement, may be placed
with relatives (ideally 1 day after removed from custody)
Jurisdiction/Disposition Hearing (held within 15 days)
• Child becomes a dependent of court
• Family Maintenance or Reunification plan
Placement options
• Relative
•Long term foster placement
• Adoption
•Residential treatment
•Group home
•Short-term foster care
• Guardianship
Mike’s Story Part II
Once the school makes a CPS report due to unexcused absences, Mike begins to come into contact with
a myriad of adults . The process starts with an investigation, and is followed by removal from his home
due to founded neglect. He is then found family members to care for him, and a court hearing
regarding guardianship is held, where the court decides if his mother is fit to parent. She discloses her
mental illness, and a reunification plan is developed for Mike to return to his mother when her health is
stabilized. Mike is placed in the custody of a relative, and then returned to his mother’s custody. Several
scheduled follow up visits with the CPS Worker occur six months later.
Pre - Removal
Student Advisor , Principal, Secretary, or
Attendance Clerk
Emergency Response Worker
CPS Worker (Assigned if case goes to
Post –Removal
Child Protection Shelter Worker(s)
Non-Guardian Relatives
Team Decision Making Meeting (TDM)
Translator (as needed)
Community Based organization
worker(s) (i.e. tutor, mentor, wraparound
service provider)
Psychiatrist, Doctor
Social worker/CPS Worker
Court Appointed Special Advocate (if
Foster Youth Services Liasion
Foster Youth
 In 2007 approximately
496,000 foster youth
were in care across the
United States.
 California has the
largest percentage of
youth in foster care;
the current count is at
 Approximately 2300
youth emancipate (age
out) in CA each year.
California Foster Youth
 Everyday nearly 100 children in California enter foster care
 54 will be reunified with their families, but 10 will re-enter
care within 3 years
17 will stay in four years or more
11 will be adopted or permanently placed with relatives and
2 will re-enter within 3 years
10 will exit for “other reasons” – death, incarceration,
institutionalization, abduction
4 will run away
3 will “age out,” or emancipate out of foster care
San Francisco Foster Youth
 In San Francisco 340 youth emancipate each year
 1 in 4 will end up homeless
 70% will indicate they want to go to college
 Only 10% will enroll in college. 65% of the general
population will enroll
 Only 4% will obtain an associate degree or certificate
 Only 2% of all emancipated youth will actually obtain a
bachelor degree
(HEY Stats Sheet)
What is the role of a Mentor?
 Deep Listener – Really paying attention to the verbal
and nonverbal information being passed.
 Reflection/Inquiry – Assisting mentee to reflect using
 Feedback – Proving feedback to the mentee when
 Sharing – Inserting yourself and giving examples of
how you have done things. Support the mentee to
move to next steps in developing new interest and
Attributes of a “Good Mentor”?
 Consistent
 Focuses on
 Good listener
ups and downs
 Flexible
 Zen
 Time to commit  Not overly
invested in
 Positive role
 Positive
 Process
 Empathetic
 Present
 Understanding
 Open minded
 Caring
 Good energy
 Knowledge of
 Dedicated
 Can tolerate
What are potential strengths & barriers
foster youth bring to mentoring?
 Good at reading people
 Many rotating people in
 Lots of life experiences
their life
 Move a lot
 Experienced
 Walls up/Need to do
things independently
 Survivors/Transferable
 Independent/mature
Reflection Activity – Part 1
Think of a mentor that you had at any point in your
life. Use the following activity to reflect on the
relationship between you and that mentor.
1. Write down 5 barriers that your mentor might have
faced when initially considering mentoring you (i.e.,
distance, class, work, substance dependence)
2. Now write down 5 strengths that they had that helped
them to overcome the mentorship barriers
Reflection Activity – Part 2
Now think of yourself as a mentor to a foster youth.
1. Write down 5 barriers that you as a mentor might
face when initially considering mentoring (i.e.,
relationship – teacher/student, ethnicity)
2. Now write down 5 strengths that you have that will
help you overcome the mentorship barriers
Why Is Mentoring Important for
Foster Youth?
Mentoring programs:
Reduce school absences
Improve overall academic performance
Increase college participation
Improve attitudes and behavior in relation to school
Reduce drug and alcohol use (especially among minority youth)
Reduce likelihood of hitting others
Less likely of committing misdemeanors or felonies
Enhanced positive attitude toward elders and toward helping
Improved parental relationships and support from peers
Self Worth
Herrera, C, 2007) (Jekielek, S., Moore, K. & Hair, E. 2002) & (DuBois, DL, Holloway, BE,
Valentine, JC, & Cooper, H., 2002)
Strategies for Mentoring Foster Youth
Learning – Introduce youth to new experiences and activities.
Provide opportunities for youth to have exposure to you as an
individual, a large percentage of mentoring is all about
Reflection – Provide time in your mentoring activities for the
youth to have an opportunity to reflect. It is often during these
reflection times that youth are able to gain ownership over a
new skill or technique. Reflection helps build self awareness.
Action – Once youth have learned a new skill or technique
mentors should give them the opportunity to test them out.
This will allow the youth the opportunity to practice while
mentors provide additional support.
Discovering Learning
Ideas for working with Youth
Introduces youth to new experiences and activities.
Hands on Activity – Helping mentees uncover areas of interest.
Take a piece of flipchart paper and fold it in half and then in half again
to form a book.
Choose the title of a popular song for the name of your book. Write that
title on the front cover.
On the inside of the front cover (page two), list a table of contents.
Write your name and birth date
Description of your favorite color, animal, sport…
On page three, draw a picture of your friends or family.
On the back cover of the book, draw a picture of what you plan to do in
the future. Where will you go? Who will you go with? Etc.
When the book is complete, have the mentee tell their story, using the
book as a visual aid.
Encouraging Reflection
Ideas for working with Youth
Provide time in your mentoring activities for the youth to have an opportunity to reflect.
Hands on Activity – Helping mentees develop reflection skills.
 You inherited a successful restaurant from Chef Charlie, a good friend. The only
problem: Charlie was very disorganized. The only recipes you have found are on torn
strips of paper. You have to make sense of it all, and quickly! The restaurant is opening
tonight, and you have to have the food ready.
 Materials Needed
 Cut Recipes (Separate the Title, Ingredients, Instructions, etc.)
 Mentors should begin this activity by spreading the strips of recipe on the table
 Ask mentee to put steps in order as quickly as possible. The recipe must make sense.
 When done, have them announce “bon appetit!” to signal the end of the game.
 Once the mentee calls “bon appetit,” have them read/review their recipe in order.
 Ask them reflective questions about the process:
 What was your favorite part of the activity?
 What was your least favorite part of the activity?
 What was something new you learned/discovered?
 Was the activity something you would want to repeat?
You may practice this activity by planning activities together. Write down all of the steps of
an outing. (i.e., going to museum – select type of museum, get directions, travel…) Or
supporting the youth to write down steps, put them in order, and check them off as you
complete them.
Supporting Action
Ideas for working with youth
Once youth have learned a new skill or technique mentors should give them the opportunity to test them out.
Hands on Activity – Helping mentees discover strengths and talents.
 Take out a sheet of paper and write mentees name in the
center and draw a large circle around name. Now connect six
smaller circles with lines.
 In the six smaller circle ask mentee to name six or more
activities or subjects in which they enjoy or feel confident.
 Next discuss how you might be able to build upon some of
their strengths and talents during mentoring sessions.
 Now brainstorm a list of activities that would combine the
skills developed during learning and reflection with the
mentees natural talents.
Final Reflection Activity
 Think of a specific foster youth
 Write down 5 barriers that they will face on their road
to healthy adulthood.
 Write down 5 strengths that they have that will help
them to overcome those barriers.
 Write down 5 positive mentor attributes/strengths you
bring to the relationship.
 Write down 2 activity ideas you could do that build on
both your strengths and will build skills for the youth
Thank You!
Please complete the training evaluation here
If you would like more activity ideas go to

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