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Youth Advocate Programmes (Ireland) report on financial and social benefits of early intervention

4th July 2012

According to their Annual Report 2011, Youth Advocate Programmes (YAP) offered intensive support to almost five hundred young people and their families, who reported significant improvement in their self-esteem, family relationships and commitment to education as a result. YAP's Intensive Support Programme provides up to 15 hours of support a week for six months for young people (aged 10 - 18 years) at high risk of placement in care, secure care and custody. Their families are also actively involved in the programme, and 24-hour on-call support is available every day all year.

This six-month programme costs approx. €10,200 – €11,200, offering the State savings of  between  €29k and €93k over that time on foster or residential care costs respectively. The positive outcomes in relation to attendance and behaviour in school, as well as better family relationships for participants are hugely important in minimising risks of future criminal activity and detention/imprisonment.

In relation to school, for example, 94% of participants reported an improvement in their general behaviour; 79% in their attendance and 78% in their educational aspirations. 82% who took part in a YAP programme said they had reduced risky behaviour and 91% had better co-operation with Juvenile Liason Officer/ Gardai.

Full report available here

IPRT's report with Barnardos and IAYPIC From Justice to Welfare: The Case for Investment in Prevention and Early Intervention offers a detailed examination of the risk and protective factors for young offenders, as well as social and economic benefits associated with early intervention.