Frequently Asked Questions


What makes the AZ Stars Statewide Mentoring Project different from general community based mentoring?
The AZ STARS program specifically matches children of incarcerated parents, and foster care youth to quality mentors. We provide additional support to families including referrals and resources to help them cope with the incarceration. The volunteers in this program have opportunities for additional training regarding incarceration and forster care, and how it may affect their youth. However, the focus of the AZ STARS Project remains on the mentoring relationship.

How is my role as a volunteer different in the AZ STARS Project?
The minimum commitment level of 1 year (seeing the child at least once a week) remains the same. However, CIP and foster care youth may have additional challenges in their behavior, home life, and family dynamics or in school.

How are CIP and Foster Care youth different?
Some issues families and children may be dealing with can include:

  • Experiencing the loss of a parent or family member (through incarceration)
  • Economic hardship
  • Moving frequently
  • Feelings of shame
  • Unstable home environments
  • Feelings of confusion towards law enforcement
  • Juvenile Justice involvement

Always remember that every family and every circumstance is different. Some children may be at different stages in coping than others. This will affect how and when they express their feelings and thoughts.

Will the incarcerated parent be supportive of the match?
Most incarcerated parents that are involved in their children’s lives know about them having a mentor and are supportive of this. In some circumstances the child and family may have little to no involvement with the incarcerated parent and therefore they may not know about the mentoring relationship. In the circumstance that the incarcerated parent would be released during the time you are matched with a child, the AZ STARS Program Specialist would work directly with the family and mentor to aid in this transition. If at any time you have concerns regarding this, you may contact your AZ STARS Program Specialist.

How do I respond if the child asks me about the incarcerated parent?
In most cases the child simply needs someone to listen to them. It may not be necessary to say much. It is also important to discuss these questions with the child’s current caregiver to make sure that they are addressing these issues as well and that everyone is on the same page and in agreement. Your AZ STARS Program Specialist can also be a resource to you regarding specific questions your Little may have.