The purpose of mentoring is the help the juvenile learn how to function. It promotes the development of the child. Mentoring allows the child to have a positive relationship, which can help them to learn about healthy relationships. These children often benefit from the positive reinforcement the relationship with the mentor provides. Many children try to please the mentor, so they make an extra effort to do as they should. This can include going to school, avoiding drugs and alcohol and opting for peaceful resolutions instead of violence. In some cases, that trend continues after the mentoring period is completed.
In the case of juveniles, the mentor is a person who is older. This person can offer the juvenile the benefit of life experience and care to help the juvenile learn valuable life skills. The children who are in mentoring programs are likely to be from a background that includes foster care, poverty, incarcerated parents and other factors that place the child at risk.
There is a lot more to the juvenile justice system than just putting kids behind bars. Making good use of the programs and services offered through the court can help to teach children appropriate behavior and encourage them to stay on a path that is far from illegal activities.
Source: National Institute of Justice, "Practice Profile: Mentoring" accessed Feb. 12, 2015