Program

Feb 07, 2002

THE BUDDY SYSTEM

OVERVIEW

The Buddy System was a mentoring program designed
to improve participants’ academic and social behaviors, and to promote
interaction between youth and older role models. The program was based on
individual and group mentoring, and on encouraging positive behaviors through
financial incentives. Evaluations of the program found that participants who had
committed major offenses prior to enrollment in the program were less likely to
commit such offenses during or after having participated in the program. Buddy
System participants who had never committed major offenses before entering the
program, however, were significantly more likely to do so than were youth in the
control group.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target Population:Multi-ethnic
children, teens and youth (10 to 17) with academic or behavioral problems

The Buddy System is a mentoring program designed
to improve participants’ academic and social behaviors, and to promote
interaction between youth and older role models. The program provides a mentor
from the community to multi-ethnic older children, teens and youth children who
have been referred to The Buddy System by schools, police, courts, social
welfare agencies, or community residents because of academic or behavioral
problems. Occasionally, mentors and participants engage in group mentoring with
other Buddy System mentoring pairs. Finally, The Buddy System has a monthly
financial incentive component, which is designed to reward participants if their
behaviors were rated as having improved. The program is designed to provide safe
and secure relationships, impart social skills, encourage participants to engage
in socially appropriate behaviors, and improve academic performance.

Component Provided by Duration Description
One-on-one Mentoring CommunityResident Less than 1 year for most participants Weekly meetings
engaging in social activities; mentors trained to establish a warm trusting
relationship and to create a plan to change targeted behaviors
Group mentoring Community resident When appropriate, mentors met with their mentees in
group activities
Financial incentive Program Youth were given $10/month if their behaviors improved

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

STUDY 1:Fo,
W. S., & O’Donnell, C. R. (1975). The Buddy System: Effects of community
intervention on delinquent offenses. Behavior Therapy, 6, 522-524.

Evaluated population:Youth
referred to program, treatment n=264 and control group n=178.

Objective:
To determine the effects of the program on
delinquent acts.
Measurement instrument:
Records on the delinquent offenses of
participants and control group.
Evaluation:
Type:Experimental,
random assignment, treatment n=264 and control group n=178.Statistical
techniques:
Z
test, Significance Level=.05
Outcome:
For youth who had committed major offenses in the
year prior to entering the project, program youth were significantly less likely
to have committed major offenses during the Buddy System year (37.5%) than were
the youth in the control group (64%). The pattern was opposite, however, for
youths with no record of major offenses in the preceding year; in this case,
program youth were significantly more likely to have committed major offenses
(15.7%) than the control youth (7.2%).
Other Information:
Funding provided through HUD’s model cities and
HEW’s office of Junvenile Delinquency and Youth Development.

STUDY 2:O’Donnell,
C. R., Lydgate, T., & Fo, W. S. (1979). The Buddy System: Review and follow-up.Child
Behavior Therapy
, 1, 161-169.

Evaluated population:335
youths (206 boys and 129 girls) in the experimental group. 218 youths (151 boys
and 67 girls) in the control group. In the experimental group 255 were in the
program for one year, 73 for two years and 7 for three years. In the control
group 195 were assigned to one year, 23 for two years and none for three years.

Objective:
To evaluate the effectiveness of the program
based on the arrest data (for major offenses only) of participants over a
three-year span.
Measurement instrument:
Arrest records of participants and control group
one year before participation, the year(s) of participation and two years after
the initial year of participation.
Evaluation:
Type:Experimental
Statistical techniques:Two
tailed Z Tests, Significance Level=.05
Outcome:
The Buddy system was most effective for youth who
had been arrested for major offenses in year preceding participation in the
program: 56% of these participants vs 78% of the control group (p<.04) were
arrested for a major offense in the program year or 2 years after. Of
participants without prior arrests, those in the treatment group were more
likely to commit a major offense than those in the control group: 22.5% vs 16.4%
(p<.05).

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Fo, W. S., & O’Donnell, C. R. (1975). The Buddy
System: Effects of community intervention on delinquent offenses.Behavior
Therapy
, 6, 522-524.

O’Donnell, C. R., Lydgate, T., & Fo, W. S.
(1979). The Buddy System: Review and follow-up.Child
Behavior Therapy
, 1, 161-169.

Program also discussed in the following Child
Trends publication(s):


Jekielek, S., Moore, K. A., & Hair, E. (2002).Mentoring
programs and youth development: A synthesis.
Washington,
DC: Child Trends.

SUMMARY & CATEGORIZATION

Program categorized in this
guide according to the following:

Evaluated participant ages:
10-17 / Program age ranges in the Guide: 6-11, 12-14, 15-21

Program components:
Mentoring/tutoring, Clinic/provider-based

Measured outcomes: Behavioral
problems

KEYWORDS:Mentoring, Education, Social/Emotional
Health and Development, Juvenile Offenders, Children, Youth, B4ehavorial
Problems, Delinquency, Tutoring, Clinic-Based, Provider Based, Middle Childhood
(6-11), Adolescence (12-17), co-ed.

Program information last
updated 2/7/02.