Youth Advocate Program (YAP) Inc. began providing services in New Jersey in 1978. Today, our service continuum includes intensive wraparound advocacy, case management, mentoring, family support, life skills training, anger management/coping skills training, supported work, violence prevention, and behavioral health. YAP tailors these services for those at risk of out-of-home placement, detention, incarceration, truancy, gang involvement, and criminal activity.
2023 is YAP NJ's 45th anniversary which was recently recognized by NJ Governor Philip D. Murphy in this letter.
For children and youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, YAP provides intensive services designed to keep kids and communities safe. Paid mentors called “Advocates” are recruited from the same zip code area where the youth and family reside. Advocates provide services based on the youth’s needs for supervision, structure, and support. They work flexible hours including evenings and weekends, as well as provide 24/7 crisis intervention services.
Designed for youth at risk of placement pre-adjudication, services focus on ensuring youth comply with court mandates, but also seek to prevent future placement by engaging the youth in positive, structured activities, such as life skills and emotional regulation curricula, employment and education and family support.
INTELLECTUAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
For children and adults with developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injury, autism spectrum disorders and those with dual diagnoses, services include habilitation, behavior support, respite, companion, employment, community integration and personal assistance.
IN-HOME BEHAVIORAL HEALTH
Serving youth and families with a range of challenges, including those diagnosed with Autism, behavioral and/or emotional disorders and Developmental Disabilities, services occur within the youth and family’s home and interventions focus both on helping the child/youth to develop skills and in supporting parents to better understand and support their children’s mental health needs while promoting a high quality of life.
OUTPATIENT CLINICS & PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES
Designed for children and youth who no longer require partial hospitalization programs, residential services, or in-home therapy, services are provided in an individual, family and group modality and typically occur weekly. Psychiatric evaluation and medication monitoring is also available.
RE-ENTRY AND COMMUNITY REINTEGRATION INTENSIVE SERVICES (CRIS)
Serving youth preparing to return to the community from mandated placement settings, whether it be secure detention, residential facilities, youth prisons or others, YAP staff meet with youth up to 90 days prior to release to design Individual Service Plans that meet each youth’s complex needs - from securing stable housing and ensuring families have the tools they need to welcome youth home, to providing intensive monitoring, conflict resolution, restorative practices, life skills classes and employment.
We partner with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs to serve youth ages 12-18. We provide 10 hours/week of individualized wraparound advocacy services delivered by community-based Advocates, including a group-based, trauma-informed therapeutic component.
For over 30 years, New Jersey YAP has used Supported Work, a short-term transitional service to mainstream employment through which youth explore career options, develop work skills, self-esteem, workplace ethics, job networks and mentors, and earn real wages at employers in their community. This program transitions hundreds of high-need youths from the juvenile justice and child welfare systems to lives of self-sufficiency.