Since Youth Advocate Programs' founding in 1975 our sole mission has been to keep families together and at home in their communities with intensive support. We believe that institutions are no place for children and no place for families. We believe that every single person has strengths, gifts and basic human dignity. We believe we need a better solution going forward than detaining families together in tent cities, shelters, detention centers or worse.
We are rooted in American communities in 22 states and Washington, DC, and have a sister program in Guatemala, where our staff and colleagues have seen and continue to see the violence and threats that motivate families to do anything and everything to keep their children safe.
The most effective American solutions will include community-based support for organizations on the ground in Guatemala and other countries from where people are fleeing, and for the people here, awaiting their court proceedings.
Families belong together. We do not need to build or invest in new institutions in any sector of our country, whether it be child welfare, juvenile justice, behavioral health or immigration to make that happen.