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Who We Are

High-impact nonprofit that provides community-based alternatives to youth incarceration, congregate placements and neighborhood violence.


What We Do

We promote divesting in facilities and investing in communities to create continuums of care capable of providing exactly what each person needs.


Our Services

YAP provides young people, adults, and their families with intensive support right from where they live, learn, work and play through our YAPWrap model.


Our Impact

Our growing research base confirms that YAP is making a positive difference in the lives of young people, families and within the systems that support them.


Changing Lives


Our Footprint

100% of our programming occurs in the home communities of the people we serve.

Families Annually
Urban, Suburban and Rural Communities
States +DC

YAP’s Nonpartisan Position

Founded in 1975, YAP is a nonpartisan national nonprofit organization. Our employees in urban, rural, and suburban communities in 35 states and the District of Columbia fully represent America politically and demographically.

YAP is not a social justice organization, but rather, a change leader that for a half century in partnership with youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, education, and other public systems, delivers community-based youth and family rehabilitative and behavioral health wraparound services that have been proven to reduce recidivism while keeping youth, families and communities safe and saving taxpayer dollars.

YAP’s unique wraparound services model, which guides all our work, reduces crime and recidivism by addressing society’s most complex challenges. Our neighborhood-based staff work directly and individually with youth and families, firming their foundation by connecting them with tools that address their individualized economic, educational, and emotional challenges -- with practices that incorporate accountability, restorative justice, respect for victims’ rights, and giving back to their communities -- so that our program participants are successful once our services end.

YAP’s government funded contracts, which support our work with children and families, require written plans on how we meet requirements for Equal Opportunity Employment Certification. In our five decades of delivering services, we have served program participants of all backgrounds from urban, suburban, and rural communities. With our no reject, no eject policy, we accept all referrals. With most of our participants living in poverty and given the disproportionate numbers of youth of color we serve (nearly 70% of our referrals), we are in a unique position to give our youth justice, child welfare, education, behavioral health and other systems partners an opportunity to have great outcomes for all youth and families, despite their background, and thus, we're a change leader.

With the success of our work with systems-involved youth, more communities across the U.S. are engaging YAP as a public safety law enforcement partner where we are using principles of our evidence-based model to help reduce neighborhood violence. For example, partnering with the Baltimore Police Department and State Attorney’s Office in Maryland, YAP is one of two Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS) service providers working with police to connect individuals at the highest risk of violence engagement with individualized educational, economic, and emotional tools to put their lives on a positive course. The goal is to make neighborhoods safer by reducing homicides and shootings, decreasing recidivism, and strengthening police-community trust.

YAP’s neighborhood-based Advocates are paid staff members who are trained to advocate for our program participants by connecting them and their parents and guardians with individualized educational, economic, and emotional tools to put their lives on a positive course. Separately, YAP Voice gives current and former program participants an opportunity to share their success stories with the public so that policy makers and others understand and appreciate that with holistic wraparound services from YAP Advocates and behavioral health professionals, biographies can change. YAP’s public policy work does not align with any political party or ideology, but rather promotes youth justice/child welfare/behavioral health community-based programming and educational and employment opportunities policies that ensure fair and just treatment for youth and families, regardless of their background.

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The Neighborhood Advocate

YAP's blog features stories about families, advocates and program practitioners on the front lines of youth justice, child welfare and social services systems reform.

YAP Pressroom

Visit our Pressroom to find newsletters, press releases, videos and more.

Press Release 7/11/24



Press Highlights


What They're Saying

Youth Advocate Programs are the county's greatest and best asset to redirect and change the lives of juveniles and their families

District Judge Marshall County, AL

When I was in a facility, YAP was there to help me get out and go home.

YAP Participant

You can’t leave a family or walk away and not have been changed... Change does happen and it happens with the kids most people do not want to work with. Those are our kids.

April Curtis YAP Director, Chicago IL

YAP’s approach is family focused. We not only work with the young person, but with their entire family. The family is going to be there long after we’re gone, so it’s essential that we work with the family from the onset.

Jeff Fleischer YAP CEO

I was… in foster homes. I was locked up for 18 months. It wasn’t very good… Because of YAP, my goals have become more obtainable. I always wanted to go to college and now I’m finally doing it.

Shelby YAP Participant

I think what makes YAP so effective is their wraparound approach. They support kids on all these different levels at once, their neighborhoods, their schools, their families.

Paul Tough Author, "How Children Succeed"

Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. is committed to equal employment and program opportunities with a work/program environment that is free of discrimination and harassment. All decisions at YAP are based on business and program needs, job requirements, and individual qualifications without regard to race, age, color, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, military or veteran status, genetic characteristics, or disability unrelated to job performance or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where YAP operates. YAP will not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on any of these characteristics.