Information for Referral Agents

What is a Mentor?

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A Mentor has come to mean a loyal, wise and trusted teacher and friend (Dondero 1997).

Mentor’s provide support in academic and social development. They serve as role models, offering friendship, guidance, and stability (Bandura, 1977). Mentors represent a commitment to values and they promote a sense of personal worth, foster self-realisation, help broaden opportunities and assist in making intelligent choices.

Mentoring can be ‘naturally occurring’ arising from the existing relationships in a young person’s life. Sadly, not all children or young people are fortunate in this regard. The complementary role of an assigned Mentor and the quality of that relationship, supports, guides and bring benefits from outside the family unity, to young people who are particularly at risk of offending behaviour. The Mentoring relationship helps combat the risk of further offending and offers positive alternatives to young people. Le Cheile works with young people from 12 – 21 years old.

Le Chéile Mentors are volunteers aged 20 and over from all backgrounds and different experiences. They have been interviews, Garda Vetting, reference checked and trained. They also receive ongoing case supervision and training throughout from the Le Chéile co-ordinator

The Mentor (Family support Order)

The Mentor Order under the Children Act 2001 makes provision for a Mentor Order to be implemented by the Probation Service. A Mentor Order involves the Court assigning a Mentor to a child to help, advise and support the child and the child’s family (Section 131(1)).

The legislation underlines key elements relative to the order, i.e.

  • The child and the child’s parent(s) or guardians (s) consent to the order and agree to co-operate with its terms.
  • The child shall continue to reside at their normal residence.
  • The order would not exceed two years duration.
  • A Mentor must be available.
  • The child would be under the supervision of a Probation Officer who would also support the Mentor in their role with the child and family.
  • The order may specify other conditions necessary.

Provision is made under the Act to have the Mentor Order revoked or withdrawn on application to the Court.

How to refer?

  • We take referrals for young people aged 12-21 from Young Persons Probation, and Garda Youth Diversion Programmes in Tipperary, Waterford and South Dublin.  Contact your local office to see if you can refer a young person to mentoring.
  • For Probation referrals,the young person can bee referred through a Mentor Order or as part of their Probation Bond.
  • You will be asked to complete a referral form, which includes information such as offending behavior and reasons for referral to the Project.
  • The co-ordinator will meet with you and the young person to talk about the mentoring and will arrange a meeting for the young person and parent/guardian to introduce the Mentor.
  • Every 6-8 weeks, a case review is held to discuss how the mentoring is progressing.

For more information, please contact the co-ordinator in your region. Contact details can be found here

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