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Youth Advocate Programs (YAP) was formed in 1975 and it prohibited young people from being incarcerated with adult inmates at the State Correctional institution in Camp Hill. Tom Jeffers who is currently the Board Chairman founded it. In June 1976, the Department of Public Welfare gave it funds to serve clients released from prison (Tree, 2012). In the 1990’s, it started offering services to the youth dealing with clinical disorders as well as those who had delinquency charges and dependency charges. Since the year 2003, Jeff Fleischer has been the C. E. O. of this agency and he reports to the Board of directors. It has an employee workforce of about 2000 workers who serve 10, 000 families each year. It has programs in about 25 major cities in the United States of America such as Washington, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Columbia, Dallas and Chicago.
The mission statement of this gang intervention program is to provide individuals who are, have been or may be subject to compulsory care an opportunity to develop, contribute and be valued as assets (Tree, 2012). This is in an attempt of ensuring that the community has safe, effective and economical option for institutional placement. The agency was motivated to adopt this mission since it believes that every individual and family has strengths and capabilities that can and must be developed. This agency has a commitment to family focused programs that empowers the youth and families to adopt a healthy, safe and productive life. It provides child welfare programs, mental health facilities and juvenile justice systems to the youth.
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YAP has many goals on its gang intervention programs. It targets a population of young people aged 10-18 years from suburban, rural and urban communities. Its goals are ensuring that the youth perform well in educational and vocational programs. It also assists the youth to find employment through a Supported Work Program (Tree, 2012). Furthermore, this program aims at reducing the incidences of all gang related violence and victimization. It also aims at addressing systematic issues that often lead the youth to join street gangs. It will achieve this if it manages to educate the youth on the dangers that they face when they involve themselves in crime. Moreover, it has a goal of enhancing public safety by employing neighborhood-based advocates who reflect on the ethnic diversity of the community so that they divert the youth from street gang culture. It also aims at eliminating substance abuse among the youth since it affects their health and it may influence them to engage in criminal activity (Tree, 2012). Another goal of this gang intervention program is assisting the youth on ways of finding alternative activities instead of involving themselves in crime.
The gang intervention program at YAP has succeeded in many ways. Many students in this program who were involved in drug abuse and crime said that the advocates in this program helped them to stay out of trouble. In addition to this, they claimed that this program helped them perform better in school and at their places of work (Tree, 2012). Most youths said that after attending the counseling programs in this agency, they became better at handling their daily lives and improved their relationships with their family members. It has also succeeded in developing retreats and mediation for warring gangs. It offered mediation between Blood and Crip gang members in Fort Worth in the mid 1990’s. It has collaborated with local enforcement agencies, courts, schools probation facilities and parole and this has helped in developing a community wide prevention and intervention programs for the youth who were previously gang members.
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