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YAP staff attended ESN conferences, first serving as delegates and promoting YAP in the Exhibition Hall of the 18th European Social Services Conference. Over 450 professionals,managers, researchers and policy-makers from 33 European countries and beyond came together for the conference in Barcelona. Organized by the European Social Network and supported by the Spanish Presidency of the European Union, Generalitat de Catalunya and Province of Barcelona, the conference brought forth prominent speakers in the field of social policy whose messages were a mix of provocation, calls for action and words of caution.
The YAP team joined delegates from 32 countries in 2011 at the “Building an Active and Caring Society: Innovation, Participation,Community” ESN Conference where 350 social directors, service managers, senior professionals, political decision-makers, researchers and campaigners gathered in Warsaw to discuss a wide range of current issues in social work and social welfare. The YAP team presented the workshop “Community-based Alternatives to the Institutionalization of Youth” at the conference, forming new relationships with European social welfare leaders that have been strengthened since the conference.
ESN is dedicated to bringing together people and organizations that design and deliver local public social services across Europe to contribute their expertise and build effective social policy and practice. ESN Chief Executive John Halloran is quoted in the ESN 2010 Annual Report “The transition from residential to community care is a big change for stakeholders, policy-planners, budget authorities, social and health professionals and, last but not least, for users and their families. ESN is committed to supporting managers of local public social services and other stakeholders to bring about change for those who have spent much of their lives in institutions.” The ESN Working Groupon Developing Community Care notes “Deinstitutionali-zation involves a transition to a new vision of care, which places the individual at its centre and creates flexible, local solutions to meet their needs.” The YAP and YAP Ireland teams look forward to working with ESN to champion the move from a reliance on institutionalization to community-based care.
Read ESN’s report on Developing Community Care.
Monmouth University School of Social Work offers a unique MSW Concentration in International and Community Development which draws a student body devoted to social justice on a global level. Besides hosting conferences for YAP, MU School of Social Work has provided a series of talented interns to collaborate with YAP’s international development team, VOICE, YAP Ireland, and our sister agencies in Sierra Leone and Guatemala. MU School of Social Work is a co-founder of the International Youth Advocacy Federation.
Robin Sakina Mama, Ph.D. (Professor and Dean of the MU School of Social Work and Representative to the IFSW at the United Nations) describes what led to MU School of Social Work hosting the 2007 IYAF Conference“Invisible No More!” and her continued service as an officer on the IYAF Board of Directors “what prompted us to host the conference was that we have had a good relationship with YAP for many years. We have this whole focus on families in both our programs and our focus on human rights and social justice made this an event that we would have congruence with. The conference opened up the question as to whether having an international organization focused on youth advocacy was a good idea. The response to this was so positive during and after the conference that it just seemed logical to continue and try to establish this new organization. It has been an honor for me to be involved and I hope that other organizations will join us in this effort to support our youth and help them to advocate for themselves.”
Inhijambia is a non-governmental organization dedicated to providing alternatives to life on the streets of Managua for teenage girls, the only program like it in the Nicaraguan capital. Inhijambia does street outreach and then offers a detoxification program for the girls as the majority of these young women are addicted to street drugs. Education and vocational training and transition to independent living services follow. NJ-based Peace Works introduced YAP staff, IYAF members and Monmouth University staff to delegates from Inhijambia in meetings in 2011 which included an evening program with staff and youth from the YAP Middlesex Program exchanging stories with Judith, Co-director and physician on staff with Inhijambia and Jaqueline, graduate of Inhijambia now working for the Inhijambia as she completes a degree in social work.