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How we grow up impacts the adults we become.

When young people experience adversity, trauma and toxic stress- like abuse or neglect, face discrimination because of their race, gender identity, or legal status, and/or live in impoverished or high crime neighborhoods- and without positive connections to their community, their development and well-being is negatively affected: their brains and bodies literally change, making it harder for them to focus in school, trust others, or make good decisions. These conditions in their environment create an unstable foundation, making it more difficult to find good paying jobs, access transportation, receive quality healthcare and education or enjoy green spaces and recreation.

Often these challenges are the conditions that make young people vulnerable to being placed out of their home. Right now, more than half a million young people currently live in youth jails and prisons, psychiatric hospitals and group homes, or are disconnected from their parents, siblings, schools and communities by being placed in foster care. Research shows that being placed outside of the home in and of itself is traumatic, and unfortunately many youth are further victimized while in placement.

The good news is that YAP services are designed to reverse the damage done by trauma and toxic stress! YAP services strengthen the foundation of young people from within their homes and communities through repairing and restoring broken relationships and connecting youth and their families to new supportive people, places and activities and opportunities that meet their needs and help them to develop to their potential. Our program participants and their families are empowered with skills and social capital needed to make contributions that create vibrant and healthy neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for us all.

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SOLUTIONS

YAP's Solutions to Societal Issues

  • Out-of-home placements
    are expensive
  • Out-of-home placements
    put kids at additional risk
  • Out-of-home placements
    disproportionately impact youth of color
  • Out-of-home placements
    weaken communities

YAP's Solution:
Supports from Within the Community

The Justice Policy Institute’s “Sticker Shock” report from 2020 found that the average cost of locking up youth is $588 per day. Forty states report spending at least $100,000 a year per youth on placement.

YAP offers safe, community-based programs at half the cost of most out-of-home placements.

 

YAP's Solution:
Increase Protective Factors

Research indicates that children and youth should be placed in the least restrictive settings possible. Youth who live in prisons, group homes or residential facilities are at greater risk of developing physical, emotional and behavioral problems that can lead to a number of bad outcomes, such as school failure, homelessness, unemployment and incarceration.

YAP programs achieve positive outcomes for youth and families, reducing further system involvement while strengthening family relationships, and connections to school, employment, and community. YAP’s programs also reduce costly, long-term reliance on public welfare and other systems by helping young people learn to function safely and independently. YAP Advocates and their teams empower young people with tools to establish and achieve educational, vocational training, and employment goals. YAP also helps develop a sustainable team of individuals from the community who can provide support after YAP involvement has ended.

YAP's Solution:
Advocate Matching

The United States continues to be impacted by structural racism, which is reflected in the disproportionate number of Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) in the child welfare, youth justice, mental health and other systems.

Seventy percent of YAP’s program participants are people of color, which positions us to disrupt the harmful practices that disproportionately separate youth of color from their families and communities. Additionally, YAP employees, hired from the communities they serve, reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the families we serve, provide positive role models, and deliver services with cultural humility and understanding.

YAP's Solution:
Invest in Community

By reducing reliance on out-of-home placement, YAP provides the opportunity for saved dollars to be invested in communities instead of facilities. Further, YAP hires community members, provides Supported Work opportunities with local businesses for many youth to receive stipends while experiencing on the job training opportunities, and engages young people and families in activities that strengthen and provide opportunities for program participants to give back to their communities.