Nonkin natural mentors in the lives of older youths in foster care

Michelle R. Munson, J. Curtis McMillen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explored the nonkin natural mentoring relationships among older youths in foster care. Three hundred thirty-nine youths nearing their exit from one state's alternative care system were interviewed. Those that reported the presence of a natural mentor, 62% (n=211), were subsequently asked about how they met their mentor, how long they have known their mentor, how frequently they have contact with their mentor, and the quality of the relationship. Seventy percent of the youth with mentors reported having known their mentors for over 1 year. Youth reported high levels of contact and relationship quality. Ethnic group membership, gender, where youth were living, and clinical characteristics were associated with individual mentoring characteristics. Child and adult service delivery systems might benefit from considering ways to support the continuation of these relationships during the transition period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-468
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Behavioral Health Services and Research
Issue number4 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Foster care
  • Natural mentoring
  • Older youths
  • Transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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