The Youth Assessment and Prioritization (YAP) Tool is an innovation in helping a youth homelessness program or system of care to gain a greater understanding of a where a youth who is homeless or at risk of homelessness is on the road to experiencing long term homelessness. The tool also assists in the prioritization of these youth for programs and services that are best suited to assist them. The YAP is a person-centred instrument that is designed to not only identify additional risk factors but to also have a strong emphasis on the identification of a youth’s strengths, even if they do not see any in themselves.

The YAP Tool is set up as a two-part process including a pre-screen and a more robust strength-based interview which are designed to inform 5 Narrative Domains focusing on key life areas and that help to provide those working with young people a full foundation of information to begin their supports.

The domains of the tool are:

  1. Housing Need
  2. Social Networks and Connections
  3. Health and Wellness
  4. Daily Living
  5. Attitudes and Behaviours
  6. Narrative

Lastly, the tool culminates with a final narrative summary of the final recommendations for referral and supports.

Want to start using the YAP tool?

The process is as follows:

  1. Connect with David French, Director of Policy and Planning.
  2. Complete the two-day mandatory training through WalRhon Psychological and Assessment Services.
    • – Training includes a practical application component and serves as a train the trainer for individual programs after a certification process is completed post training which requires 3 completed assessments with a co-assessor.
  3. Agree to contribute to aggregate data sharing and ongoing development of the tool.

Under development:

  • Making the Shift is using the YAP as the primary method for initial assessment for the programs participating in the Making the Shift pilot projects.
  • The University of Ottawa will be conducting the validation process and the results will be released once completed.
  • A specific YAP tool website is under development, stay tuned for more information.
  • Why Assess Youth Differently

    A coordinated assessment process is considered a best practice in homeless serving systems. The United Kingdom suggests that “Common Assessment” is key to delivering integrated and focused early interventions for those at risk of homelessness. The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH) highlighted the National Alliance to End Homelessness take in the US, in their Coordinated Assessment Toolkit, where they argue that coordinated assessment, “undergirds a more efficient and effective homelessness response through:

    1. Helping people move through the system faster (by reducing the amount of time people spend moving from program to program before finding the right match);
    2. Reducing new entries into homelessness (by consistently offering prevention and diversion resources upfront, reducing the number of people entering the system unnecessarily); and
    3. Improving data collection and quality and providing accurate information on what kind of assistance consumers need.”

    Stephen Gaetz, from the COH adds, “If a community has adopted a ‘system of care’ approach, measures should be taken to share the information between agencies and providers and thus reduce duplication of assessments and enable effective case management, such that clients get timely access to the most appropriate services based on need.”

awayhome-sm-icons-03  awayhome-sm-icons-02  awayhome-sm-icons-01



The views expressed on this website are those of the A Way Home coalition and do not necessarily reflect those of the individual organizations.