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.