Dec. 18, 2019 —TheNeighborhoodAdvocate.org launches today, chronicling the lives of families, advocates and program practitioners on the front lines of the youth justice, child welfare and social services systems reform movement.
TheNeighborhoodAdvocate.org was developed by Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc., a four decades-old nonprofit provider of holistic community-based programs that serve as an alternative to youth detention/incarceration and out-of-home placement/family separation. A content provider for journalists and bloggers, TheNeighborhoodAdvocate.org shares stories and videos of young people and families receiving youth justice and child welfare/social services at home, in their neighborhoods. As part of its debut, the news site also introduces YAPTalks, short, heartfelt presentations from practitioners of community-based services.
YAP serves more than 20,000 youth and families in more than 100 communities in 28 states and the District of Columbia and expects to expand to at least a half dozen more states by the end of 2020. Youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, developmental disabilities/autism, education and other systems partner with YAP to provide or adapt the nonprofit’s unique Safely Home community-based wraparound model to serve individuals at the highest risk of institutionalization. Without YAP, the prospect for the nonprofit’s youth justice program participants is immediate incarceration for violent and other offenses.
YAP’s model is guided by principles that reflect the nonprofit’s mission to keep young people and families Safely Home together. Staff adhere to a no-reject, no eject policy with referring agencies; are available 24 hours, seven days a week; and serve the entire family, ensuring that they have voice, choice and ownership in their individualized service plans. Committed to cultural and linguistic competence, YAP matches youth and families with professional advocate mentors with similar backgrounds, interests, and when possible, shared zip codes. YAP’s services are strength-based, empowering youth and families with tools to identify their gifts and talents, while connecting them to accessible resources to help them pursue their personal, family, educational and career goals and give back to their communities.
In addition to expanding service in the U.S., YAP partners with global organizations to design programs based on its effective, evidence informed Safely Home model in Ireland, Sweden, Australia, Sierra Leone and Guatemala.