Evaluating the contribution of formal youth mentoring in promoting the well-being of care-experienced young people: SAYes as a case study

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Abstract

This project aimed to explore the potential of formal youth mentoring as an effective, scalable approach to interrupting intergenerational transmission of disadvantage for socially marginalised young people leaving alternative care in South Africa. We sought the perspectives of those involved in one such formal mentoring programme - the ‘Transition to Independent Living’ formal mentoring programme (TIL) offered by the SAYes Trust to youth transitioning out of the care of Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCC) in Cape Town. We interviewed 35 young people involved in in the TIL programme who were preparing to exit or had recently left care. We also interviewed 8 Child and Youth Care Centre practitioners (3 social workers and 5 carers) and held two focus groups with a total of 16 SAYes mentors.
This pilot project was a collaboration between Queens University Belfast and the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town. Taking the SAYes TIL programme as a case study, this preliminary exploration aimed to identify whether and how mentoring might interrupt cycles of disadvantage for care-experienced youth in South Africa, laying a foundation for further practice innovation and research. Through this qualitative approach, we aimed to explore:
• what benefits are achieved for which care-experienced young people under what circumstances?
• in what ways might formal mentoring be effective in challenging disadvantage and promoting social and economic inclusion for care leavers?
• Might formal mentoring be a scalable approach to achieving South Africa’s sustainable development goals with care leavers?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages62
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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