Prosocial Activities and Natural Mentoring Among Youth at Risk of Aging Out of Foster Careedit
Objective: Research suggests that the presence of natural mentors may ameliorate the risk associated with emancipating from foster care, though only half of foster youth have natural mentors. This study investigated the extent to which involvement in prosocial activities is associated with natural mentoring among youth at risk of emancipation. Method: Using data from the Multi-Site Evaluation of Foster Youth Programs, we applied multinomial logistic regression to test the association between involvement in prosocial activities and natural mentoring among 720 foster youths, ages 14–17, who were at risk of emancipation. Results: Controlling for demographic and child-welfare characteristics, foster-youth participation in hobbies/activities decreased the likelihood of having no natural mentors and no supportive adults by 57%, having only formal mentors by 60%, and having only foster parents by 49%. Participation in organizations/clubs decreased the likelihood of having no natural mentors and no supportive adults by 42%, and having only foster parents by 42%. Participation in religious services decreased the likelihood of having no natural mentors and no supportive adults by 43%, and having only foster parents by 37%. Conclusion: This study contributes to our understanding of modifiable environmental factors that policymakers and practitioners may promote to facilitate natural mentoring relationships among foster youth at risk of emancipation.