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Where We Work  >  International  >  YAP Ireland Programmes

The Model in Action:

YAP Cork recently took part in the “International Ocean to City Race” as part of the Cork Maritime Festival. YAP Cork embarked on a traditional journey of building a Currach as part of the Ocean to City Race and to mark YAP Ireland’s 10th Birthday. The joint venture allowed young people to build a boat by using traditional methods, skills and materials and learn to row the Currach on the River Lee. They were placed in teams of two to represent YAP Ireland in the youth section of this famous race and competed against other youth groups and organizations. The core group consisted of YAP young people aged between 10 to 17 years - all first time boat builders- joined by their YAP advocates and staff of Meitheal Mara (Boat Building Project). Read the full story and news of the May launch here.


YAP Ireland launched its Annual Report 2011 on Monday 2nd July to celebrate the amazing outcomes achieved by young people and families last year. A DVD of an animated film made by a young person – The Ark Safari in Cavan was showcased at the event and young people, families, Board members and staff attended. To download a copy of YAP Ireland’s Annual Report 2011 please click here.


Recently, YAP youth and their Advocates took a trip to the Cavan Centre to participate in its outdoor education/experiential learning program. The Cavan Centre is a community development project which delivers a range of educational, creative and activity programs aimed to encourage users to reach their potential and enhance their social and personal development. Find photos of the trip at the Cavan Centre website.

YAP Ireland is facilitating a joint art project with its young people and Advocates in the Cork program. The group is creating a mural based on the ‘highlights of Cork City’. Please take a look at pictures of their progress to date.

In the News:

Read how “Teen Advocacy Programme Saves State €200,000 a Year”

Watch YAP CEO Siobhan O’Dwyer and YAP graduate Wesley Carroll on TV 3.

Celebrating a decade as a leading provider of intensive support programs for young people and families, Youth Advocate Programmes (YAP) Ireland continues to grow in 2012 despite the serious financial challenges faced in Ireland. Recognizing the positive outcomes for youth and families and the savings that an effective, community-based service provides, public authorities are working with YAP Ireland CEO - Siobhán O’Dwyer and her team to expand and grow new YAP Ireland programs in the Eastern region of Ireland.

Changing Systems:

YAP Ireland was established in 2002 in the areas of North Dublin, Galway, Roscommon and Mayo successfully importing the YAP model from the United States. YAP was instrumental in assisting with child welfare system reform in Ireland. In 2002, the Irish Health Service Executive relied solely on residential programs for youth in the child welfare system. YAP was the first community-based organization in Ireland to bring youth out of residential placement and back to their home communities and then cultivate enough community support to ensure that youth remained in their own communities successfully, contributing to those communities. Training, technical support and development by American YAP colleagues of the YAP Ireland Program for 7 years alongside a talented YAP Ireland team’s dedication to the mission, model, kids and families strengthened and grew YAP Ireland.


YAP Ireland became a registered charity in March 2009 and was officially launched in October of 2009 as independent from YAP. As YAP’s first affiliate, YAP Ireland maintains a close relationship with YAP with shared Board Members, Quality Assurance maintenance, collaboration on international development work, and a shared Masters in Social Work intern. Carly Mahon from Monmouth University in New Jersey worked with the YAP team for 6 months before travelling to Dublin to do field work with the YAP Ireland team. Follow Carly’s adventures on the Emerald Isle by visiting her blog.

Where YAP Ireland Works:

Managed by a Board of Directors, YAP Ireland currently operates in 12 areas: Dublin North and City, Dublin South West, Limerick City and County, Galway, Roscommon, Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Cork, Kerry and Kildare with planful growth in 2012 and 2013. YAP Ireland currently employs 28 permanent staff and approximately 120 Advocates on a fixed term basis. In 2011, YAP Ireland provided 475 places to young people and their families.


The young people who are referred to YAP are at high risk of placement in care, secure care and custody and present with a range of inter-connected difficulties around their home, education, peer groups, behavior and community (Level 3 and 4 on the Hardiker Scale). The intensive support of up to 15 hrs a week over 6 months provided to young people and their families using a strengths based, needs led approach leads to positive outcomes for the young people, their families and referral agents. YAP is an extremely economical alternative to the high financial, emotional and behavioural costs of custodial and care placements. Indeed, the cost per place was reduced in the past number of years to an average of between €10,200–€11,200 for 6 months of YAP services compared to approximately €80,000 per year for foster care and at least €4,000 per week for private residential placements. 

“Doing Whatever It Takes”:


YAP Ireland has developed an outcomes measurement system which involves the referrer, young person, family/carer, advocate and YAP manager in grading a young person’s progress from the beginning of the program to the end. Outcomes are measured across four domains: Self, Family, Education/Training/Employment and Safety/Offending.
In 2011, initial and final outcomes for 283 young people were analyzed. This data can be broken down as follows: 105 females (37%) and 178 males (63%); 19% aged 10-12; 52% aged 13-15 and 30% aged 16-18+. 


Self: 77% showed an improvement in Relationship with Mother; 84% in Relationship with Peers; 86% in Self Esteem/Confidence and 84% in Withdrawn/Isolated.

Family: 76% showed an improvement in Parenting Skills; 82% in Social Supports/Family and 85% in Home Environment – Physical/Financial.

Education: 94% showed an improvement in General Behavior; 79% in Attendance and 78% in Aspirations.

Safety/Offending: 82% showed an improvement in Risky Behavior (Self) and 91% in Cooperation with JLO/Gardaí.

Profile of Young People and Families:

Data is available for 299 young people matched in 2011. The profile shows that 78% of young people referred are living at home with 40% of those at high risk of entry to the care system. 75% of young people were in school, 13% were not in education, employment or training, 34% had a mental health or disability diagnosis, 65% were not linking into any services, 32% had been arrested, 10% had one or more convictions and 22% have a family member who has been convicted.
Out of 253 cases a little over half of the parents/carers (53%) were responsible for home duties/caring for family, 25% were employed or self employed, 5% were carers, 5% were long term sick or disabled, 9% were unemployed. A high percentage of families have a family history of drug or alcohol misuse (58% of cases).

What does the YAP Model Look Like in Ireland?

  • Strengths-based, needs-led, wraparound, intensive support model with proven success.
  • Flexibility of service – “No Eject/No Reject” Policy and a “Never Give-Up” approach.
  • Ability to take in emergency cases and respond rapidly - e.g. Crisis Intervention Service.
  • Six month model with Advocates dedicated to one case. The model means that new referrals are matched regularly without the service becoming blocked with long term cases.
  • Ability to provide service in both in rural areas where there are fewer services for young people and families and in urban areas where YAP programs complement other services to rely on when children are at risk.
  • On-call service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.
  • Recruitment, training and employing advocates from local communities.
  • Outcomes measurement systems in place measuring the positive impact of the YAP model on young people and families thereby reducing the level of risk.
  • YAP Ireland carries out monitoring of the service twice during the lifetime of the case to ensure that parents/carers are happy with the service.
  • Can use existing management structures to set up services in new areas. YAP Ireland will invest in new areas and payment will only be necessary for places that are used.

YAP Ireland Locations

- Dublin North
- North City
- Dublin South
- South City

Limerick City and County

Galway City and County





Cork City and County