SEC. 4130. MENTORING PROGRAMS.
(a) PURPOSE; DEFINITIONS-
(1) PURPOSE- The purpose of this section is to make assistance available to promote mentoring programs for children with greatest need —
(A) to assist such children in receiving support and guidance from a mentor;
(B) to improve the academic achievement of such children;
(C) to improve interpersonal relationships between such children and their peers, teachers, other adults, and family members;
(D) to reduce the dropout rate of such children; and
(E) to reduce juvenile delinquency and involvement in gangs by such children.
(2) DEFINITIONS- In this part:
(A) CHILD WITH GREATEST NEED- The term child with greatest need means a child who is at risk of educational failure, dropping out of school, or involvement in criminal or delinquent activities, or who lacks strong positive role models.
(B) ELIGIBLE ENTITY- The term eligible entity means —
(i) a local educational agency;
(ii) a nonprofit, community-based organization; or
(iii) a partnership between a local educational agency and a nonprofit, community-based organization.
(C) MENTOR- The term mentor means a responsible adult, a postsecondary school student, or a secondary school student who works with a child —
(i) to provide a positive role model for the child;
(ii) to establish a supportive relationship with the child; and
(iii) to provide the child with academic assistance and exposure to new experiences and examples of opportunity that enhance the ability of the child to become a responsible adult.
(D) STATE- The term State means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
(b) GRANT PROGRAM-
(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary may award grants from funds made available to carry out this subpart under section 4003(2) to eligible entities to assist such entities in establishing and supporting mentoring programs and activities for children with greatest need that —
(A) are designed to link such children (particularly children living in rural areas, high-crime areas, or troubled home environments, or children experiencing educational failure) with mentors who —
(i) have received training and support in mentoring;
(ii) have been screened using appropriate reference checks, child and domestic abuse record checks, and criminal background checks; and
(iii) are interested in working with children with greatest need; and
(B) are intended to achieve one or more of the following goals with respect to children with greatest need:
(i) Provide general guidance.
(ii) Promote personal and social responsibility.
(iii) Increase participation in, and enhance the ability to benefit from, elementary and secondary education.
(iv) Discourage illegal use of drugs and alcohol, violence, use of dangerous weapons, promiscuous behavior, and other criminal, harmful, or potentially harmful activity.
(v) Encourage participation in community service and community activities.
(vi) Encourage setting goals and planning for the future, including encouragement of graduation from secondary school and planning for postsecondary education or training.
(viii) Discourage involvement in gangs.
(2) USE OF FUNDS-
(A) IN GENERAL- Each eligible entity awarded a grant under this subsection shall use the grant funds for activities that establish or implement a mentoring program, that may include —
(i) hiring of mentoring coordinators and support staff;
(ii) providing for the professional development of mentoring coordinators and support staff;
(iii) recruitment, screening, and training of mentors;
(iv) reimbursement to schools, if appropriate, for the use of school materials or supplies in carrying out the mentoring program;
(v) dissemination of outreach materials;
(vi) evaluation of the mentoring program using scientifically based methods; and
(vii) such other activities as the Secretary may reasonably prescribe by rule.
(B) PROHIBITED USES- Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), an eligible entity awarded a grant under this section may not use the grant funds —
(i) to directly compensate mentors;
(ii) to obtain educational or other materials or equipment that would otherwise be used in the ordinary course of the eligible entitys operations;
(iii) to support litigation of any kind; or
(iv) for any other purpose reasonably prohibited by the Secretary by rule.
(3) AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS- Funds made available through a grant under this section shall be available for obligation for a period not to exceed 3 years.
(4) APPLICATION- Each eligible entity seeking a grant under this section shall submit to the Secretary an application that includes —
(A) a description of the plan for the mentoring program the eligible entity proposes to carry out with such grant;
(B) information on the children expected to be served by the mentoring program for which such grant is sought;
(C) a description of the mechanism the eligible entity will use to match children with mentors based on the needs of the children;
(D) an assurance that no mentor will be assigned to mentor so many children that the assignment will undermine the mentors ability to be an effective mentor or the mentors ability to establish a close relationship (a one-to-one relationship, where practicable) with each mentored child;
(E) an assurance that the mentoring program will provide children with a variety of experiences and support, including —
(i) emotional support;
(ii) academic assistance; and
(iii) exposure to experiences that the children might not otherwise encounter on their own;
(F) an assurance that the mentoring program will be monitored to ensure that each child assigned a mentor benefits from that assignment and that the child will be assigned a new mentor if the relationship between the original mentor and the child is not beneficial to the child;
(G) information regarding how mentors and children will be recruited to the mentoring program;
(H) information regarding how prospective mentors will be screened;
(I) information on the training that will be provided to mentors; and
(J) information on the system that the eligible entity will use to manage and monitor information relating to the mentoring programs —
(i) reference checks;
(ii) child and domestic abuse record checks;
(iii) criminal background checks; and
(iv) procedure for matching children with mentors.
(A) COMPETITIVE BASIS- In accordance with this subsection, the Secretary shall award grants to eligible entities on a competitive basis.
(B) PRIORITY- In awarding grants under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall give priority to each eligible entity that —
(i) serves children with greatest need living in rural areas, high-crime areas, or troubled home environments, or who attend schools with violence problems;
(ii) provides high quality background screening of mentors, training of mentors, and technical assistance in carrying out mentoring programs; or
(iii) proposes a school-based mentoring program.
(C) OTHER CONSIDERATIONS- In awarding grants under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall also consider —
(i) the degree to which the location of the mentoring program proposed by each eligible entity contributes to a fair distribution of mentoring programs with respect to urban and rural locations;
(ii) the quality of the mentoring program proposed by each eligible entity, including —
(I) the resources, if any, the eligible entity will dedicate to providing children with opportunities for job training or postsecondary education;
(II) the degree to which parents, teachers, community-based organizations, and the local community have participated, or will participate, in the design and implementation of the proposed mentoring program;
(III) the degree to which the eligible entity can ensure that mentors will develop longstanding relationships with the children they mentor;
(IV) the degree to which the mentoring program will serve children with greatest need in the 4th through 8th grades; and
(V) the degree to which the mentoring program will continue to serve children from the 9th grade through graduation from secondary school, as needed; and
(iii) the capability of each eligible entity to effectively implement its mentoring program.
(D) GRANT TO EACH STATE- Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, in awarding grants under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall select not less than one grant recipient from each State for which there is an eligible entity that submits an application of sufficient quality pursuant to paragraph (4).
(6) MODEL SCREENING GUIDELINES-
(A) IN GENERAL- Based on model screening guidelines developed by the Office of Juvenile Programs of the Department of Justice, the Secretary shall develop and distribute to each eligible entity awarded a grant under this section specific model guidelines for the screening of mentors who seek to participate in mentoring programs assisted under this section.
(B) BACKGROUND CHECKS- The guidelines developed under this subsection shall include, at a minimum, a requirement that potential mentors be subject to reference checks, child and domestic abuse record checks, and criminal background checks.