Amid Covid-19 Pandemic,
Youth Advocate Programs Focuses on
Keeping Youth Safely Home
YAP Remains Focused on Individualized Services that Keep Youth out of Prison and Placement & Safely Home
Employing technology and practicing social distancing, Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. has remained focused on its mission to provide community-based support to young people who would otherwise be incarcerated or placed into congregate facilities.

The nonprofit’s neighborhood-based Advocates are trained to help young people identify their strengths while connecting them and their families with tools that help them achieve their goals. Advocates work with each youth and family to design an individualized service plan that meets their unique needs, whether it be completing school, applying for a job, or receiving behavioral health services. With most program participants, the needs also include basics, like help with food or utilities.
“We’re now using FaceTime and Zoom to support the young people in our programs and their families. That includes working with parents to support their technology needs so they can be actively involved with their child’s individualized service plan,” said YAP Delaware Advocate Anthony Stanziale.

Two weeks into using teleservices, Stanziale helped two program participants locate potential job opportunities and fill out online applications. A former teacher, he also created a simple newsletter to give youth and families a one-stop shop for resources to help youth stay on track with classroom work and to connect families to places to pick up lunches for their children.
The pandemic has also created an organic opportunity for older program participants to give back to their families and neighbors. Practicing social distancing, YAP Advocates and program participants are distributing food, hygiene products and cleaning supplies in their communities. The distributions are an extension of YAP’s many partnerships with local community organizations that serve as service project and supported work partners for program youth.
YAP Launches COVID-19 Relief Fund
Confronted with challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. has launched a special COVID-19 relief fund. A national nonprofit, YAP partners with youth justice, child welfare and other social services systems to provide community-based alternatives to youth prison and out-of-home placement in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

With the pandemic, YAP -- which marks its 45th anniversary this year -- faces its biggest challenge ever. While safe, socially distanced services continue, some program funding has disappeared.

“YAP program participants struggle during normal times. With the pandemic, the young people and families we serve are more at risk than ever,” said YAP CEO Jeff Fleischer. “How our nation emerges from this pandemic will be largely impacted by the outcomes of families and communities that were struggling before the crisis began.”
YAP Joins Call to Action to Reduce COVID-19 Risk for Systems-Involved Youth
YAP has joined a nationwide call to action to reduce the coronavirus risk for incarcerated young people. YAP partners with child welfare, youth justice, behavioral health and other systems in their efforts to reduce their reliance on out-of-home placements of young people in detention centers, youth prisons and other congregate care.
READ HERE how advocates across the U.S. are urging governors and systems leaders to release incarcerated youth.
News Site Features Young People Receiving Community-based Alternatives to Out-of-Home Placement
YAP has launched, a source of news about community-based youth justice and child welfare programs that serve as an alternative to incarceration and institutionalization.

A content provider for journalists and bloggers, shares stories and videos of young people and families receiving youth justice and child welfare/social services at home, in their neighborhoods.

As part of its debut, the news site also introduced YAPTalks, short, heartfelt presentations from practitioners of community-based services.
YAP in the News
'You don’t need to lock kids up’: Harrisburg-based program provides alternatives to prison:
Human Services Leaders: $60 Billion Needed From Congress, ‘Essential Service’ Status from States and Counties: Chronicle of Social Change
Big Willy style: Berger taking big steps toward independence: Gettysburg Times
After several children shot in Chicago last weekend, CPS expands anti-violence programs for students most at risk: Chicago Tribune
City Expands Investment In ‘Choose To Change’ Youth Violence Prevention Program: CBS Chicago
New Detroit Lions Outside Linebacker Halapoulivaati Vaitai was also on the YAP team: Detroit Free Press