Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. > What We Do > Direct Services

YAP provides young people, adults and their families with intensive support in their home, school and community through our YAPWrap model that blends best practices from research in wraparound, mentoring, and positive youth development.

We partner with families to build and strengthen essential skills and resources needed to thrive throughout life, such as increasing their ability to safely problem-solve their needs, developing their social, emotional, academic and career competencies, and building their network of community support.

Advocates meet with participants multiple times a week at the times most needed by the family, with an emphasis on safety and support. Individualized plans balance involuntary service demands with activities driven by the participant's prioritized wants and needs.




Wraparound is an intensive, individualized, holistic care planning and management approach to working with high and complex need youth and families from within their homes and communities. It is deeply rooted in the in the core concepts of wraparound. From the moment we first meet a family through their completion of our programs, families are given “voice and choice”- empowered as equal partners- and services are tailored to their unique needs, strengths, interests and preferences. Wraparound principles also emphasize the importance of individualized, culturally responsive and strength-based services that engage natural supports and occur within the community.

YAP’s planning process has three components: assessment, a family team meeting, and plan development.

Family Team
Plan Development

During assessment, we introduce ourselves and the program, and learn more about the family through discussion and by using 4 assessment tools. We also spend time identifying and addressing any immediate safety concerns. Our assessment process empowers youth and families to express their needs, to identify what resources and capacities they have that can assist them, and to identify where there are gaps and how, in fact, we can help them to help themselves. We also reach out to other important stakeholders in the family’s life to learn their perspective on the family’s need and strengths.

Upon completion of the assessment process, we build a team with the family that will help them develop their plan and support them in achieving their goals. The team includes both formal supports, such as system and service representatives, as well as informal supports, such as extended family, friends, coaches, pastors, etc. We meet with each team member to learn their perspective on the family’s strengths and needs and how they can help. Everyone on the team has a role to play.

After meeting with the family team members, we develop an individualized service plan that is shared with all team members and becomes the basis of our work with the family. The plan is frequently reviewed and revised to assess progress and also to include any needs. We also develop a thorough safety plan during this time.




Advocate Model

YAP model

The Advocate model is the foundation of YAP’s actual intervention with youth and families. Advocates are paid, trained and weekly supervised credible messengers who work with YAP youth and families. Advocates frequently share common identities with young people: they live in the same neighborhoods, speak the same language, and may share race, ethnicity and interests. Many Advocates also have lived experience with the challenges our young people and families face, making Advocates positive role models to whom young people can easily relate. Their shared identities are a natural bridge to developing the trusting relationship that is essential in engaging youth and families in a positive change process.

Advocates help implement the individual service plan that is developed with each family. Available 24/7, Advocates provide services at times and locations when they are most needed, allowing for highly individualized and effective intervention. During their assigned hours—up to 30 hours per week—Advocates provide mentoring, coaching, case management, and modeling through purposeful individual, family and, at times, group activities.

Advocates help youth and families meet their obligations to judges, probation officers, case managers and other referring entities, thus avoiding further penetration into the system. Advocate services may also include assistance with part-time employment, transportation, attendance at meetings with system and service stakeholders with families, community service and connections with positive people, places, activities and services within the community.

family voice


Families Have Voice and Choice

The youth and families we work with play a central role in co-designing a plan that recognizes their strengths, addresses their challenges, and is based on their interests, talents, and goals. The plan is then implemented with the support of trained and supervised YAP staff known as “Advocates," who come from the same communities as the families they work with and provide intensive, unconditional support to help families reach their full potential.

We specialize in engaging system involved youth and families who have become involved with juvenile justice, child welfare, or behavioral health systems, balancing mandates and other system requirements with the goal of ensuring that youth and families “voice and choice," empowering them to have a say in their plan and giving them meaningful choices.


Core Principles

Individualized Service Planning

Interventions and goals are tailored to each youth and family's unique needs, strengths, interests, culture and preferences.

Focus on Strengths

Intervention and Service Plans build on youth, family and community strengths to fulfill potential.

Partnership with Parents

Staff engages the entire family in achieving their goals. Families are co-designers of their own services and are invested in having the plan succeed.

Cultural and Linguistic Competence

We recruit staff who live in the same communities as the families we serve. Staff share interests and other attributes, such as language, with families. All staff demonstrate commitment to learning and honoring each family's culture, history, experience and preferences.

Team Work

A team of professional and non-professional individuals who care about the youth and family work together in helping the family achieve their goals. YAP works to ensure that all team members contribute in a meaningful way to helping the family achieve their goals.

Community-Based Care

Supportive persons and associations are organized on behalf of the family from within the community. These are both formal (professional/system) and informal (natural) supports.

Unconditional Caring

Staff show consistent positive regard for families and maintain a "never give up" approach with all youth.

Giving Back

Staff identify with youth and families a way for them to contribute to their community through building upon their strengths and interests.

Corporate and Clinical Integrity

Staff maintain professional relationships with youth and families and other systems and maintain ethical business practice.