Oct 2016 - In This Issue:
Where We Work


YAP serves over 13,000 families a year in more than 100 programs across 20 states in rural, suburban and urban areas. 

YAP Film


"Safely Home" showcases the power of the YAP model across diverse geographies and demographics by sharing the stories of youth and staff in three different YAP locations:  urban Chicago, Orange County, NY, and rural Louisiana.   
News Around YAP
Rashan Thornton participated in a NJ YAP program as a teenager.  Today, he has self-published his autobiography, " From the Trap to Triumph."  

"It was one of the best days of the summer!" said Program Director Sherri Munn about Lucas County, OH YAP's Family Fun Day.

On August 27, Baltimore YAP held a Community Resource Fair and 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament.  Many thanks to Kaiser Permanente, a major sponsor of this event.  

Thanks to the Amazon wish listed created by our coordinator Rebecca Rehn, Tarrant County YAP received various donations for our youth.  With these items we were able  to create goodie bags that included books and toys and helped us work with the young people in our programs to learn various fun coping strategies.  

Additional thanks to Dr. Hafeez of the Texas Physicians Medical Research Group for his donation of $500.  With his support we were able to provide sporting equipment for our young people to help continue our efforts in decreasing out-of- home placements and encouraging the use of positive coping strategies.   

Somerset County (PA) YAP held its annual fundraiser for the Tom Jeffers Endowment Fund for Continuing Education by hosting a Cow Patty Bingo stand at their local county fair.   Winner  John Malady generously donated his winnings back to the Endowment Fund!

On July 26, Philadelphia YAP held their first Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) Benefits Counseling event for their youth and families. Staff members lent their support in providing a successful event and an extraordinary turn out. OVR counselors educated and pumped up our youth and their families about the possibility to receive job coaching services and obtain employment through our new partnership with OVR. The night ended with a wonderful dinner and the opportunity to interact with clients and their families. The event was a huge success and a wonderful way to kick off YAP's new and exciting program.  

YAP's Street Soccer team provided a training to Lebanon (PA) YAP staff, youth, and students from Lebanon Valley College (LVC). Together, they plan to introduce the sport to the Lebanon community at a December street soccer tournament at LVC.  

"Our kids loved it," said Lebanon County Executive Director Bob Swanson. "Despite their insistence that they don't play soccer, many remained after the event to keep playing!"

 NJ YAP's Fatherhood Healthy Relationships Initiative (FHRI) held a " Dads - Take Your Child to School Day" in Vineland.  Fathers were invited to accompany their children to school and take part in a breakfast at Sabater Elementary School.   NJ FHRI is part of the state's #NJFathersMatter program that recognizes that fathers are an instrumental part of a child's life and seeks to involve them more, while providing information on a wide range of fatherhood issues.

A group of new Program Directors met in Harrisburg in October for a 3-day seminar.  Pictured here are members of our leadership team from DC, Delaware, Maryland, and Chicago.  

National Juvenile Justice Network Spotlights YAP as "Promising Practice" 
In the National Juvenile Justice Network's (NJJN) snapshot on probation, YAP is named as a "Promising Practice" for its approach for working with youth in the juvenile justice system.  Read NJJN's snapshot HERE.
New Aftercare and Alternative to Incarceration Programs
YAP expanded its footprint into Kansas and Washington, DC.  In Kansas, YAP will be working initially with youth in Johnson County as an alternative to placement/incarceration.  In Washington, DC, YAP's work will be at the back end, helping to safely transition youth currently in placement home through providing aftercare services at home and in the community.  For more information, please contact Ed DeJesus about YAP in DC, or Virginia Hoft about YAP in Kansas.
Oct. 21:  Community-Based Approach to Juvenile Justice
"A Community Based Approach to Juvenile Justice" will be held on October 21, 2016 @ 10am in Washington, DC.  To participate in the webinar, REGISTER HERE.  

The event will include remarks from:
  • Karol V. Mason, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs
  • Nancy Rodriguez, Director, National Institute of Justice
  • Robert L. Listenbee, Administrator, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
  • Vincent Schiraldi, Senior Research Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Patrick McCarthy, President and CEO, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Youth Prisons are too Much Like Adult Prisons
"What was once created as an alternative to an adult corrections approach, youth prisons are too often simply an imitation of adult corrections," argues Liz Ryan in THIS ARTICLE highlighting the many ways that juvenile institutions mimic adult jails.  
President Declares National Youth Justice Awareness Month 
President Obama declared October 2016 Youth Justice Awareness Month (YJAM). In his PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION, he emphasized community-based alternatives for young people in conflict the law.  If you'd like to participate in YJAM, check out these opportunities to take action from our partners at the YOUTH FIRST INITIATIVE and the CAMPAIGN FOR YOUTH JUSTICE.
Intensive In-Home Services to Preserve and Reunify Families
Beginning in October, Alabama YAP will provide Intensive In-Home Services to families in 10 counties throughout the state.  Through a partnership with the Alabama Department of Human Resources, YAP family teams will work to enhance skills within the family, support the family and guide the family to the community resources needed to develop self-sufficiency, create safer environments and promote permanency.  Evidenced based curricula and practices such as Strengthening Families, Casey Life Skills, and Peaceful Alternatives to Tough Situations will be utilized to assess family strengths and to increase healthy behaviors.

YAP has been growing rapidly in Alabama, both in counties served and in our breadth of services.  With the addition of the Intensive In-Home services, we will have a presence in 28 counties throughout the state.  
Moms are Filling American Jails
This WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE points out that women are the fastest growing incarcerated group.  Nearly 80 percent of women in jail are mothers of young children.    YAP has programming in New Jersey designed to ensure that children have continued contact with and support from their mothers while incarcerated, and supports a safe and successful reunification when the moms are released back into their community.
Report:  20 Years After Welfare Reform
The Center for Community Solutions recently released a REPORT examining the effect of welfare reform that started with the establishment of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program 20 years ago.   
New Law that Incentivizes Hiring Foster Youth
A bill that would INCENTIVIZE EMPLOYERS TO HIRE FORMER FOSTER CARE YOUTH was introduced to congress.  The legislation would expand the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to include the hiring of qualified foster care transition youth.

Jim McDermott, one of the sponsors of the IMPROVED EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES FOR YOUTH ACT, highlighted the great need for foster care youth support with these sobering statistics: "half [of transition age foster care youth] are unemployed at age 24; half will spend time in a homeless shelter, and 70% will be reliant on government assistance after emancipating from foster care." 
Helping Teachers Understand Unique Needs of Students
"WHAT KIDS WISH THEIR TEACHERS KNEW", a project started by a teacher that has grown throughout the country, powerfully illustrates the diverse stressors and challenges many of our kids face in their homes and communities. We know that what happens to kids outside of the classroom impacts their performance within the classroom. Awareness of these issues can bring both the sensitivity and resources a kid and family needs to thrive.
Congratulations to Our Latest Scholarship Recipient
College student Bonnie Rogers was honored at an event on October 4, where she was awarded her "big check" from the TOM JEFFERS ENDOWMENT FUND FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION.  Bonnie is studying Psychology at Harrisburg Area Community College.

She reflected on her journey:  "Life is a classroom packed full of challenges, experiences and vital lessons. Often, one may fail a lesson in life and walk away feeling defeated, but will eventually understand that those failures were not failures. They were simply the stepping stones that are necessary to achieve greatness."  
Youth Wins Scholarship and Travels Abroad
Lottie is YAP's most recent award winner through the TOM JEFFERS ENDOWMENT FUND FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION.  Prior to embarking on her college career this fall, she had the opportunity to travel to Ireland as part of a cultural exchange project with our sister program YAP Ireland.  Read more about that trip in the international section below and in this SELF-PENNED ARTICLE.    
Supporting Adults with Intellectual Disabilities
YAP's Intellectual Disabilities Waiver program promotes all the things we know work well for people with disabilities such as family inclusion and partnership and strengthening community linkages.  The goal is for individuals enjoy inclusion and meaningful engagement within their local communities.  

One example of the growth and success of this program is  Andy, age 19. Andy receives several services with the ultimate goal of being independent and working competitively.  Andy volunteers at several local businesses including a coffee shop, YMCA and animal care facilities.  He also recently became employed at a local retailer.  Andy is gaining self-advocacy skills and important independence skills through the support of his YAP team.  We look forward to being a positive part of Andy's life and supporting him and his family in ways that are meaningful for their needs/dreams.
Suicide Prevention and Intervention Training
September was SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH.  Dan Karlow, Assistant Director of National Behavioral Health Services, presented a Suicide Prevention and Intervention training internally to YAP staff in Texas and Pennsylvania, and externally to employees from XAVIER PLACE.  On September 8th, Vice Presidents Cheryl Reeling and Jessica Carlton also presented the training at the York (PA) County Suicide Prevention Conference.  Beyond the normal trainings that focus on definitions and statistics, this training looks at warning signs (from Early, Critical to Immediate) and four main causes/factors of suicide: Mental Health, Bullying, Trauma and Media.

For more information about approaches to suicide prevention/intervention, visit the SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCE CENTER.  They have a particularly helpful GUIDE FOR MEDIA OUTLETS regarding how to report on and speak about suicide.  

10 Staggering Stats Show How Mental Health Care Fails People of Color
Though 1 in 4 Americans has mental heath issues, this number is even higher for people of color, who are 20% more likely than white people to report serious psychological distress. This ARTICLE takes a look at some disturbing statistics regarding the mental health system and minority populations.    
Unfair Practice of Penalizing Youth for Being Poor
Juvenile Law Center's groundbreaking report, " DEBTORS' PRISON FOR KIDS? THE HIGH COST OF FINES AND FEES IN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM," examines the impact of juvenile court costs, fines, fees, and restitution on youth and families, especially those living in poverty. Kids who can't afford to pay for their freedom face serious consequences, like being held in juvenile detention instead of going in school, being denied treatment, or facing civil judgments that follow youth into adulthood. A single court cost can be financially devastating to struggling families. Many go into debt to pay court-related costs or sacrifice necessities, like groceries, to keep up with payments. Developing better state policies to reduce financial burdens on impoverished families can ultimately make communities safer and reduce racial injustice.Much attention has been paid recently to the issue of juvenile court fees and the devastating consequences they can have on the families of those charged.

Additionally, this NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL takes a closer look at the practice that appears to benefit no one.  
Crime Victims' Preferences for Safety and Justice Policy
The Alliance for Safety and Justice conducted a NATIONAL SURVEY that found a majority of crime victims support shorter prison sentences and smarter safety investments. 
Making Youth Voices Heard
On August 18 YAP Ireland held a national event in Croke Park, Dublin, titled "How Can Young People and Families Have Their Say in Services?" Young people and parents and carers from YAP Ireland presented their views on how to use youth and family voices to influence services for the better.

Allegheny County YAP graduate Lottie Toney traveled to Dublin for an educational exchange and was reunited with YAP Ireland graduate Jimmy McDonagh. Lottie and Jimmy participated in a VOICE Pen Pal Project last year and met face-to-face at the November 40th Anniversary Celebration in Harrisburg. Lottie and Jimmy presented together at the event in Dublin about the ongoing Pen Pal Project.

In Lottie's own words:  "While at the conference, I got to meet teens in the YAP Ireland Program and hear their stories.  While we live in different countries, our want to be heard was the same. I had a wonderful experience and everyone joked how we brought 5 days of sunshine! I loved that I got a chance to go on a journey to a whole new world opening more opportunities for my future. THANK YOU YAP FOR CHANGING MY LIFE FROM BETTER TO SUCCESSFUL!!"


Youth Advocate Programs

YAP is a nationally recognized, nonprofit organization exclusively committed to the provision of community-based alternatives to out-of-home care through direct service, advocacy and policy change since 1975.