The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), in collaboration with The Governor’s Prevention Partnership, proposes to implement a career-based mentoring model program for use with high-risk youth, age 14-21, in the City of Bridgeport, in response to the identified need in the State of Connecticut to enhance our youth’s resiliency to
problematic behaviors and prevent substance use. In the past decade, mentoring programs for disadvantaged children and youth have received serious attention as a promising approach to enriching children’s lives, addressing their need for positive adult contact, and providing one-to-one support and advocacy. All children need caring adults in their lives, and mentoring is one way to fill this need for high-risk youth. The special bond of commitment fostered by the mutual respect inherent in effective mentoring can be the tie that binds a young person to a better future. The overall purpose of the ATM Initiative is to generate new empirical knowledge about which mentoring approach and associated services are most effective for
enhancing high-risk youths’ protective factors and minimizing their risk factors for
developing substance abuse and delinquency behaviors, and/or other behavioral, emotional,
social, cognitive, and physical problems. The proposed project seeks to: (1) implement the
selected career-based mentoring intervention and associated services for high-risk youth
(ages 14-21), including youth who are at risk of school failure, school drop out, and/or
involved in the juvenile justice/adult criminal justice system; (2) measure and document
reductions in substance abuse use, as well as other negative behavioral, psychosocial, and
cognitive development outcomes; and (3) document the program implementation in the form of
a manual that can be used to replicate in other communities in Connecticut and/or nationally.
The Consultation Center, a partner in prevention research, will evaluate the effectiveness
and document the implementation, design, and content so that the program can be replicated
in other communities in Connecticut and/or nationally. This Center for Substance Abuse
Prevention (CSAP) initiative offers DMHAS and its’ collaborative partners a great opportunity to build on our current substance abuse prevention system by providing prevention services that address the cultural needs of high-risk youth.