Boone County Youth Assistance Program
Youth Assistance programs in Indiana began with the Hamilton County Youth Assistance Program. The Hamilton County Youth Assistance Program was developed in the fall of 2009, as a pilot program in Westfield, Indiana. Youth Assistance was established in Noblesville in 2012 and Fishers in 2014, with the hope that it will expand to other communities within Hamilton County. The Early Intervention Advocates in each community work under the appointment of Judge Paul Felix, Hamilton County Circuit Court and Judge Steven Nation, Hamilton County Superior Court 1.
The Program was modeled after the successful Oakland County, Michigan Youth Assistance Program, which began in 1953. In a desire to be proactive in assisting the healthy development of Hamilton County youth and their families, local leaders investigated the Oakland County model and sought to adapt it to address the needs of local youth by coordinating the unharnessed capacity of numerous local individuals, service providers and organizations.
In 2015, a group in Boone County decided to form the Zionsville Youth Assistance Program. Working with assistance from Hamilton County, a Board was formed, and a new nonprofit was created. Staff was hired in the later part of the year, and the demand was immediately evident, as referrals started immediately. The program is now serving children and families from across Boone County.
The provision of intensive case management is a core function of the Zionsville YAP. In addition to case management services, the Zionsville YAP contributes a value-added function by utilizing information technology to create interagency communication among adults who support at-risk youth across settings in and out of school time, in families, at leisure and at work. In partnership with the Boone County Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (“JDAI”) Program, and the Boone County Circuit and Superior Courts, the ZYAP can continue to achieve its mission through the resources of paid staff, access to county employees, and a well-organized volunteer committee structure governed by a non-profit Board of Directors. Its structure is uniquely powerful because of its intergovernmental collaboration coupled with the ownership and investment of individual volunteers.