Development, feasibility, and piloting of a novel natural mentoring intervention for older youth in foster care.


Aging out of foster care is associated with deleterious emerging adulthood outcomes. The enduring presence of a caring adult, such as a natural mentor, can improve outcomes for emancipating foster youth. Caring Adults ‘R’ Everywhere (C.A.R.E.) is a novel, child welfare-based intervention designed to facilitate natural mentor relationships among aging-out youth. Our aims were to test the feasibility of implementing C.A.R.E. and the feasibility of conducting a randomized controlled study with older foster youth. Twenty-four foster youth aged 18-20.5 years were recruited and randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 12) or control groups (n = 12). Ten natural mentors were identified and contacted for participation in the intervention and study. Process-oriented qualitative data and quantitative pre- and postintervention outcome data were collected and analyzed. Utilizing a controlled rigorous design, the findings highlight the positive experience of both the intervention youth and their natural mentors with C.A.R.E. Overall, results support the continued refinement, delivery, and rigorous testing of C.A.R.E. with great promise for programmatically supporting natural mentor relationships among youth aging out of foster care.