Referrals to Mentoring for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System

Referrals to Mentoring for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System
Referrals to Mentoring for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System


A new study supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), U.S. Department of Justice, identifies effective practices and strategies to improve the mentoring experience for at-risk and high-risk youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system. Researching the Referral Stage of Youth Mentoring in Six Juvenile Justice Settings: An Exploratory Analysis examines best practices for referring youth to mentoring when they are in certain juvenile justice system settings, including Juvenile Detention, Juvenile Corrections, Juvenile Probation, Delinquency Court, Youth/Teen Court, and Dependency Court. As a low-cost delinquency prevention and intervention option that capitalizes on the resources of local communities and caring individuals, mentoring has emerged as a promising delinquency reduction strategy for at-risk or high-risk youth. This quantitative and qualitative research study provides a deeper understanding of how youth are referred to mentoring, challenges faced during the referral process, examples of effective strategies to face the challenges, and action steps.

The research was conducted by a team that included Global Youth Justice, National Partnership for Juvenile Services, and MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership. Presenters at the forum included a representative of OJJDP who provided an overview of the federal role in mentoring, a researcher who described the statistical survey findings, and a researcher/practitioner who summarized findings from the 30 site visits on the process of referring youth in the six juvenile justice settings to a mentoring program.

The Mentoring Best Practices Research Project is currently holding one-day technical assistance trainings across the country that are open to open to individuals and teams, including administrators and staff from: mentoring programs, Juvenile Detention, Juvenile Corrections, Juvenile Probation, Delinquency Court, Youth Court, Teen Court and Dependency Court.
For more information about the trainings and other resources developed as part of this research, visit

Click here to view the event video!

Presenters Included:

Pamela Clark is Program Associate for the National Center for Youth in Custody and an independent consultant and trainer specializing in youth development, juvenile justice and non-profit leadership and governance.  She serves as adjunct faculty at the Indiana University Purdue University Columbus campus.  She has a master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from the Indiana University School of Social Work.

Ms. Clark retired as Director of the Bartholomew County Youth Services Center In Columbus, Indiana in 2008. She previously served as Executive Director of the Foundation for Youth of Bartholomew County, Inc., and of the Bartholomew County Youth Advocacy Commission.  She has also served as a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff, a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer teacher, in Kenya, East Africa, and a VISTA volunteer paralegal with the Legal Aid Society of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Ms. Clark is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the Association of Child and Youth Care Practice, Inc. (ACYCP), the National Partnership for Juvenile Services (NPJS), and the Indiana Juvenile Detention Association (IJDA).  She is a past President of both the Indiana Juvenile Detention Association (IJDA) and the National Juvenile Detention Association (NJDA).

In 1994 Ms. Clark received the Indiana University School of Social Work’s Dr. Janeth Dunigan Memorial Award for Scholarship.  In 2005 she was recognized by both the NASW as the Region 10 Social Worker of the Year in Indiana, and the NJDA, as the Grimm-Hill Member of the Year.  In 2011 Mrs. Clark received the National Partnership for Juvenile Services’ Hammergren-Dunlap Distinguished Service Award For Exemplary and Meritorious Service to Juvenile Justice and Detention Services.



Throughout her career, Barbara Tatem Kelley has focused her professional energies on advancing knowledge and practices related to the positive social development of children and adolescents.

Ms. Kelley currently serves as a juvenile justice program specialist in the Demonstration Programs Division of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), U.S. Department of Justice. OJJDP is the primary federal grant awarding agency for programs to advance effective practices for preventing child victimization and juvenile delinquency, and intervening in the lives of child victims, at-risk youth, and juvenile offenders.  Ms. Kelley’s primary responsibilities include developing and managing research, evaluation and demonstration programs on a wide range of topics including:  gang prevention and intervention, tribal youth initiatives, delinquency prevention, girls’ delinquency, mentoring, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and the precursors and outcomes of youth involvement in delinquent behavior and the juvenile justice system.


She has extensive experience as a consultant in the area of youth gang research and in the development of training and technical assistance for the juvenile justice field.   Ms. Kelley has a M.A. in clinical psychology and a M.Ed. in special education, both from George Mason University, which served her well as a special education teacher of a self-contained class of students with emotional disabilities.  Ms. Kelley also previously served as a social science program specialist for OJJDP in the former Research and Program Development Division with responsibility for evaluations of national demonstration programs and for longitudinal research on the causes and correlates of delinquency.


Since 2008, Mary Midyette has been living The Up Center’s mission of “Helping People Live Better Lives,” from early work researching social venture opportunities including a child care loan program (in 2007) to supervising the decorated volunteer mentoring program, Team Up.

Team Up’s conception coincided with the sudden shutdown of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of South Hampton Roads and Mary’s arrival on the scene at the Up Center, and the program has flourished ever since.  It has established a total of 357 matches, 115 of them in its Foster Care Program, and in 2010, was awarded the Outstanding Mentoring Program in Greater Virginia by the Virginia Mentoring Partnership.

In 2011, one of Team Up’s mentors, Bruce LaLonde, was named the Outstanding Mentor in Greater Virginia by the Virginia Mentoring Partnership.

Before Mary joined The Up Center, her former employer, Nova Chemicals (which was closing its Chesapeake, VA, plant) extended to her a severance package that supported work in community service.  In 2007, she took the package, volunteered at The Up Center, and, at the end of that year, accepted the offer of a full-time job there.  Ms. Midyette at the time held twenty-six years of focused experience in Supply Chain Management, with an emphasis on transportation, distribution and logistics, working for Southern Railway, Norfolk Southern, Huntsman Chemical and Nova Chemicals.  And, as of August 31, 2012, she continues to put her management experience and training along with her personal commitment to work helping others at The Up Center.


 J. Mitchell Miller is Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Fellow of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Tennessee where he focused on juvenile delinquency and criminology. Previously, he served on the faculty of the College of Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina where he was Director of Graduate Studies in Drugs & Addictions with joint appointments to the USC College of Social Work and School of the Environment. Dr. Miller is a Past President of the Southern Criminal Justice Association and a past Editor of the Journal of Crime and Justice and the Journal of Criminal Justice Education.

The author of over 80 refereed academic journal articles and nine books, Dr. Miller’s research focuses on juvenile justice system intervention, substance abuse, and program evaluation. His recent publications have appeared in leading academic outlets such as the Journal of Criminal Justice, Justice Quarterly, and Journal of Research in Crime & Delinquency. Dr. Miller has conducted research for a number of funding agencies, including the National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention. An advocate of evidence based practice, Dr. Miller was named in a 2008 Journal of Criminal Justice Education article titled “Rainmakers: The Most Successful Criminal Justice Scholars and Departments in Research Grants Acquisition” (Mustaine and Tewksbury, 2008) as one of the top twenty funded criminologists in the United States.



Click here to view J. Mitchell Miller’s Powerpoint Presentation

Click here to view Pamela Clark’s Powerpoint Presentation

Click here to view Mary Midyette’s Powerpoint Presentation

Read a detailed summary of the forum here




Pamela Clark

Program Associate
National Center for Youth in Custody

1424 Gull Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49048



Barbara Kelley

Program Specialist

Office of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention

810 Seventh Street, NW

Washington, DC 20531

(202) 616-9517



Mary Midyette

Team Up Supervisor

The Up Center

1805 Airline Blvd.

Portsmouth, VA 23707



J. Mitchell Miller, Ph.D.


University of Texas at San Antonio

1 UTSA Circle

San Antonio, TX 78249

(210) 458-4011



The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.