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Mentoring programs in New York State


To evaluate the need for state regulation of mentoring programs.

New York City
May 13, 2005
10:00 AM
Assembly Hearing Room
Room 1923, 19th Floor
250 Broadway
New York, New York, 10007

There is a growing consensus that a caring adult who is willing to provide guidance and support to a young person may be the key to helping "at risk" youth become successful adults. It is estimated that over 2,500 mentoring programs are in operation in New York State, providing essential services to over 50,000 children each year. Recent research documents a 46% decrease in drug and alcohol use for youth that were paired with a mentor. Research also suggests that mentored youth are almost 1/3 less likely to engage in violence and skip half as many days of school as youth without mentors. The quality of parental relationships was also better for mentored youth. Likewise, these youth have a better chance of going on to higher education and are less likely to commit a crime. As research continues to show positive outcomes for mentoring programs, more programs are likely to be developed.

Mentoring programs take place within a wide variety of settings and take on all sizes and shapes. Most mentors are volunteers and have a wide range of personal and professional backgrounds. They are often recruited from area businesses, government agencies, community organizations, churches and professional associations. These mentors and mentees have various types of relationships with various levels of supervision and guidance.

Currently, there are no statutory guidelines or oversight of mentoring programs in New York State. The Committee on Children and Families is holding this hearing to determine if a need exists for such oversight. If such a need exists, what is the appropriate response?

Please see the reverse side for a list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony.

Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.

Oral testimony will be limited to 10 minutes’ duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committees will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible. In the absence of a request, witnesses will be scheduled in the order in which reply forms are postmarked.

Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements.

In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee’s interest in hearing testimony from all sources.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.

William Scarborough
Member of Assembly
Committee on Children and Families


  1. Is there a need for state regulation of mentoring programs? If so, what are the possible ways to regulate mentoring programs? Should regulation be mandatory?

  2. Should there be a definition of "mentoring program" in Statute? If so, what should it include?

  3. Are there standards for mentoring programs? If so, how do they differ from each other? If standards do not exist, should they be developed? If so, what should be included in the standards and who should be responsible for their development?

  4. Is it necessary for mentoring programs to do background checks? If so, should criminal history checks be mandatory? Whose histories should be checked? What methods and databases should be used; i.e. fingerprinting or social security numbers; FBI databases or state/local criminal justice records? Who should incur this cost?

  5. Should individuals with criminal histories be mentors? If so, what safeguards should be in place? Should notice be given to parents?

  6. Since most mentors are volunteers, would mandating background checks deter people from becoming mentors? If so, what should be done to make sure that those who are mentored are protected if background checks are not used?

  7. Is there a need for a standard training curriculum? Should all mentors and/or individuals administering mentoring programs be required to go through the training curriculum? Who should develop such curriculum and who should incur the costs of development and delivery? Please explain.

  8. What are other states doing with regard to the oversight of mentoring programs and mentors?

  9. What suggestions should the legislature consider in regard to the best practices of mentoring programs?


Persons wishing to present testimony at the public hearing on Mentoring Programs in New York State are requested to complete this reply form as soon as possible and mail it to:

Jennifer Best
Committee Assistant
Assembly Committee on Children and Families
Room 522 Capitol
Albany, New York 12248
Email: bestj@assembly.state.ny.us
Phone: (518) 455-4371
Fax: (518) 455-4693

box I plan to attend the following public hearing mentoring program to be conducted by the Assembly Committee on Children and Families on May 13, 2005.

box I plan to make a public statement at the hearing. My statement will be limited to 10 minutes, and I will answer any questions which may arise. I will provide 10 copies of my prepared statement.


I will address my remarks to the following subjects:

box I do not plan to attend the above hearing.

box I would like to be added to the Committee mailing list for notices and reports.

box I would like to be removed from the Committee mailing list.


I will require assistance and/or handicapped accessibility information. Please specify the type of assistance required:








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