Implementing E-mentoring with care-experienced youth under ‘lock-down’ – a South African experience

Mandi MacDonald, Andrew Dellis, Shanaaz Mathews, Jenna-Lee Marco

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Abstract

Purpose: to describe the challenges and potential benefits of moving a mentoring programme for young people in care and care leavers to an online mode of delivery in response to the South African Government’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Approach: a descriptive account incorporating reflections from staff responsible for the move to e-mentoring and from South African and UK researchers undertaking an exploratory study of mentoring vulnerable youth at the time when Covid-19 restrictions were imposed.
Findings: E-mentoring can provide an effective means to maintaining the essential elements of a well-established mentoring programme for young people in care and care leavers under government enforced ‘lock-down’. E-mentoring presents particular challenges and benefits in the South African context. Youth in care and care leavers have unequal access to a digital infrastructure, but this can be overcome by investment in resourcing, equipping and training carers, mentors and mentees. The geographical reach offered by online platforms gives young people access to a more diverse pool of mentors.
Originality: Both care leaving services and the use of e-mentoring to meet the needs of vulnerable young people are emerging areas of practice and research interest. This paper brings the two areas together in the context of South Africa under Covid-19 ‘lock-down’ through describing the response of one mentoring programme and highlighting the benefits and challenges.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Children's Services
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2020

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