Peer Mentoring Opportunities for Looked After Children and Care Leavers

This report and its recommendations are the result of a small project exploring services offering and

research around peer mentoring and how such practice could be developed to improve outcomes for Looked After Children and Care Leavers in Scotland.


The following brief notes are intended to provide some direction when establishing a peer mentoring project or programme. It is not suggested that this is an exhaustive list but it should be recognised that some aspects of planning and management are likely to require extra attention when considering the development of peer mentoring opportunities for Looked After Children and/or Care Leavers.

1) Dedicated coordinator/staff time - this is a resource intensive strategy and will require realistic staff resources to manage any project safely and effectively.

2) Purpose, aims and objectives-as with any project these require to be clear from the outset. The use of terminology without clear definitions could cause difficulties with evaluation and may raise unrealistic expectations for peer mentor and/or mentee.

3) Budget/finances-staffing costs will only be part of the budget required.

a. Project needs to ensure sufficient budget to cover peer mentor/volunteer costs e.g. travel, subsistence, training etc.
b. Petty cash system requires to work effectively to meet the needs of the mentors/volunteers when recouping expenses
c. Consideration should be given to having the facility to provide cash in advance (to ensure that potential mentors are not precluded from involvement due to financial circumstances)

4) Selection process - this should be a 2-way process which enables any potential mentor to understand the expectations and responsibilities of the peer mentoring role.

a. Project needs to provide information to explain its purpose and the role/remit of the peer mentor
b. Potential peer mentor should complete an application form
c. A face-to-face interview/discussion must take place
d. An application must be made to the Protection of Vulnerable Groups scheme (PVG)

5) Training programme - see appendix 3 for suggested content

6) Matching process-again this should be a 2-way process, including

a. Consideration of issues such as gender, locality, confidentiality, personal profile, interests etc
b. Risk assessment and risk management
c. Introductions - should be supported by staff
d. Contract - frequency of meeting/contact, goals/targets for relationship, duration of mentoring relationship (as appropriate), review timescales, evaluation

7) Support mechanisms - these include both practical and personal

a. Provision of mobile phones, access to venues as appropriate, expenses payments etc
b. Personal safety issues - "check in" procedures, communication channels
c. Supervision - feedback and recording, training and developmental needs

8) Review Process

a. Both parties must have the opportunity to review the contract/ relationship as agreed
b. A procedure should be established to enable reporting/review of any concerns raised by either party at any time during their relationship

9) Endings

a. Clarity of this is crucial for both parties and should be acknowledged by "formal" review. The ending of the relationship can also be marked by a celebration of achievement, certificate and/or occasion/event.

10) Evaluation - this is required both for the project/programme and for each individual peer mentoring relationship but with reference to the latter:

a. How and when this will happen needs to be agreed at the outset and included in peer mentoring contract
b. Baselines need to be established at the outset to ensure that targets or goals can be monitored and evaluated with progress recognised and recorded.


Email: Eliza Brush

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