Child and youth care (CYC) domain of social awareness is the significant sphere for today’s youth. In this respect the paper is dedicated to the role of the CYC practitioner. The thing is that in so multiple varieties of opportunities for children most of them are of bad side. This is why the research comments on the ways for improvements in CYC. Moreover, there are many points which trouble youth nowadays. All of them should be taken into account for the reliability and validity of gained data.
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The importance of counseling in the sphere of CYC is paramount. Thereupon, the centers with suchlike attitude toward youngsters are claiming for more attention to the way counselors or practitioners should behave. This challenge seems to be not so easy. However, with an initially clear position of a practitioner there hardly can be problems. For stating more arguments as of such point the research considers the opinions of experts in this issue. Thus, a number of practical and academic sources disclose strategic features for would-be and current CYC practitioners. The review of proper literature presupposes underlining the main facts and arguments. Furthermore, it tends to provide a wide picture on the problems which now appear among CYC practitioners. For the support of theoretical argument the research includes also interview with an experienced CYC practitioner along with the list of questions.
In the area of practice there will be children varying in age from 10 to 15. Moreover, the schedule for the implementation of the program supposes thoroughly designed model of reciprocal adjustment of plays and discussions within children. A special look will be attached to the characteristics of every child at places, so that to have an idea about applicable approach. In this respect there will be planned meetings with parents. Such attempt will make some points on correlation of general efforts in provision of facilities in children’s troubles. This will help in the area of improvements. In other words, a practitioner will be able more to pick up children’s advantages than flaws together. On the other hand, a CYC practitioner communicating with children and parents will have a possibility to look deeper into personal flaws to be worked over.
Working in groups is the main point of the area for practice. It is the approach which needs more concentration on collective power of children. Researchers are able to state that there are too many nuances in cooperation of a CYC practitioner with groups of children. Malekoff (1997) grabs special attention on this feature. The author intends to be more consistent and enthusiastic when constructing the ground for current and further communication. It should be based also on the brilliant examples from the previous studies in this sphere of counseling. The author provides rather abstract but straightforward associations about working in groups: “It is more abstract than still life, more jazz than classical” (Malekoff, 1997, p. 19). Hence, this work presupposes neat attitude and rational pre-arranged position of a practitioner. It is the way to make children co-creators of the reciprocal work and its results. Thus, involved into activities, kids realize their significance. Of course, it is possible due to the efforts from the side of CYC programs and personal position of a practitioner in this field.
Bellefeuille & Ricks (2008) in their book show the way for understanding children in their needs in every educational or care establishment. The authors provide a discussion that most of tutors and practitioners have no idea about the way to reflect on the requirements of children. The thing is that the precipice may simply appear at the point where children were not understood. Thus a practitioner should be aware of the methodological terms and features. This is the guide for every attempting practitioner to find out the most applicable approach in conversation with children. Chapters 1 and 2 show the steps in building up mindful and reliable model for communicating with children. CYC concept is underlined as the noteworthy in the whole discussion of the authors.
The practice will take place at the residential care. This place needs more attention. The point is that children in such residential have great emotional and physical problems. Their fragile psyches have to face with the lack of attention and care from the side of adults. In fact, there are different cases of stresses and depression among children. The context of the practice is to evaluate the extent of appropriate approach in order to determine the measures and programs for treatment.
CYC practitioners should be aware of their role for the children. Providing care is paramount feature of the task among practitioners. On the other hand, it is a challenge for the practitioner, because primordially he/she should be prepared to face with apparent troubles among youth. In residential care such point is greatly emphasized. Typical roles for a practitioner include counseling, understanding, and leading children. Such approach definitely serves as effective for the implementation of particular treatment. In turn a CYC practitioner should have traits of strong self-awareness, self-confidence, and self-esteem along with compassion and open-heartedness.
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The object of a CYC practitioner is, of course, children. Ability to know how to behave with children in accordance with their state of psyche is strategically important. Ungar (2005) examines how children behave as for their navigation between the systems for service delivery in terms of at-risk children. The author implements the methodology of how it is better to make use of negotiation between children in their groups. In turn it supports the idea of better treatment by means of better services provision. With regard to the author this will definitely provide resilience in at-risk children. This important edge of relationships between a practitioner and a child states the point of extra-sensitive attitude of adults.
Ball & Pence (2006) provide a discussion of culturally grounded approach in programs supporting young children’s development. The example of Aboriginal method in upbringing children is imposed in the book. Thus, a practitioner should be of great concernment about the innovative ways for building up bridges with children. The role of a supporter in the developmental phase of children is concerned with the person of a practitioner. CYC needs a so-called ‘generative curriculum’ stated in the book (Ball & Pence, 2006). In this case the process of counseling becomes really facilitated. It is so because of the requirement of time. Children need to meet in a practitioner a friend and a tutor. Such roles help to communicate better. Furthermore, it is the way for constructive dialogue in different conflict situations.
Practitioners should follow patterned approaches in the area of CYC. It means that they should divide their approaches according to the goals they are searching for. In this case Wynn (2007) provides three main approaches stated after the results of methods studies:
- Therapy plus adventure;
- Therapy plus outdoor/wilderness;
- Therapy plus activity/recreation.
The use of them presupposes several particular purposes. Thus, the intentions for the first approach are to maintain and resolve psychological and behavioral problems in groups. The second approach is logically presupposes the therapeutic impacts of being close to the nature. The third intends to provide more activities for the therapeutic improvements. The researcher admits the role children and family therapy in making success when choosing the most applicable approach at a definite moment.
On the other hand Ward (2004) designates ordinary and special approaches. Such division serves as the means for differentiation of the needs of children in everyday life. Andersson et al (2007) designate five models, among which “the psychodynamic milieu approach, “positive peer culture”, the behavioral model” seem to be most effective for practitioners (28). A proper look at this problem needs more argument of experts.
Ward (2004) discusses the problem of applicable approaches from the side of a CYC practitioner to the children. The message in his article directly states the necessity to implement whether ordinary or special approaches. This is a challenge for every ordinary practitioner; because a child’s psychological health is at stake. It is really fragile. The author admits the significance of provision of efficient treatment in residential care. Hence, the author points out the role of planning and analysis of the activities in the group. This approach serves as an optimal, though, debatable among observers in this field of work. Ward (2004) insists that living every day with youth in residential care a practitioner needs “a comprehensive “theory of the everyday” (209). In fact, this is an effective step toward making some facilities related to the contemporary transformations in the society. Also changes in psyches of children need more attention from a new perspective.
Looking at the problem of the place of residential care another group of researchers worked out applicable attitudes which a CYC practitioner should have. Andersson et al (2007) collected enough data, so that to undermine stereotypes that residential care is solely a place of concentration of children with psychological derivation. The authors claim that the therapeutic help is the prior task for any among residential care worldwide. The article provides a discussion of the particular approaches: from traditional to new ones. In this respect it repeats the assertion of Ward (2004) that the basis of residential care is imposed in the ordinary needs. Also the article gives clear information as of the models of residential treatment, namely: “the psychodynamic milieu approach, “positive peer culture”, the behavioral model, the psycho-educational model and the cognitive-behavioral model” (28). This is why the article correlates a scope of versatile methods for a practitioner to move groups of children toward improvements. All in all, the point of approaches which are used in different countries of the world is highlighted in the article. Hence, such observation leads to further discussion of the issue. The main points indicate the reasonable flow of actions by a practitioner. Nevertheless, it will definitely help in achieving general aims in serving for child and youth care. What is more, the results of different studies in this field are really stunning, because in the North America the number of self-awareness among practitioners is constantly growing. To be precise, the role of residential care acquires extra-ordinary coloring in its goals and tasks at large.
The desired outcomes in this specific and rather subtle area of the practice are supposed with making improvements in behaviors of adolescents. Moreover, this idea is emphasized with the variety of methods/approaches implemented. The work with children is supposed with merely positive results and conclusions. In this respect children are predicted to have more communication with peers. Such intention straightforwardly depends on the practicality of methods. A practitioner should want and desire to improve psychological and behavioral problems among each youngster. This is the predicted result. However, the difference in the supposed results considers the risk of deeper aggravation of a child’s psyche. In other words, this factor cannot be totally diminished.
Most evident and important CYC values in this area of practice are sincerity, willingness, experience, patience, open-mindedness, deep desire to help. All of them are stated in descending order. Each value should be considered with a person of a practitioner in this subtle are of practice. Garfat (2003) in his article outlines several values or even priorities which are applicable for a proficient CYC practitioner. Some among them are: noticing, connecting, giving meaning, checking-in with self, utilization of self, and intervening (Garfat, 2003). In this respect the author of the article represents the steps which should be followed by a practitioner in detail. The researcher claims for the personal theoretical and practical background of a practitioner on the initial stage of working with children. Having an ability to designate the paramount values means further successful gradation in cooperation with children. Thus, values of a practitioner in CYC should contemplate the ideals of humane and rationality as well as understanding.
The research also touches upon the interview with a practitioner in CYC. Mark L. Kelly agreed to take part in this kind of practical proof of the studies stated above. At the moment he is a Child and Youth Care practitioner having graduated the University of Victoria in Australia (cyc-online, 2002). His current position is a Street Outreach Counselor for Yukon Family Services Association (cyc-online, 2002).
Mark told that the main approach of his is self-awareness and constant control of personal motivation. The love and deep responsibility for children drives him very day when working. It is the matter of extra significance and direct approach to him, as an honorable civilian. Mark strictly notes the role of care in his life: “I care about success and how people perceive it. I care how my clients feel while in therapy, between therapy, and after therapy. I care what they think of me and how I am perceived” (cyc-online, 2002, p. 1). In response to points of cooperation with children Mark states that the main value in this respect is sharing. One more reason for Mark’s desire to work is an ability to have glimpses at everything happening around him. This is why it is so strategically vital for him to seek for some innovations in his work. This point Mark highlights, as the desire to follow the pathway of self-awareness throughout life.
List of questions
- What is your main approach in CYC practice?
- What drives you much while working with children?
- Does the role of care encompass your whole life?
- Which value is he most important in your work?
- What is the main reason for being a CYC practitioner?
Andersson, B., Johannsson, J. & Hwang, C.P. (2007). Long-term residential care for youths in Sweden – approaches to treatment. International Journal of Child and Family Welfare 10(1-2): 27-29.
Ball, J. & Pence, A. (2006) Turning the world upside down, In Ball J. & Pense, A. Supporting indigenous children’s development. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press: 3-16.
Bellefeuille, G. L. & Ricks, F. (2008). Standing on the Precipice: Inquiry into the Creative Potential of Child and Youth Care Work. New York: McGraw-Hill.
CYC-Online. (2002). My Credo: Awareness as a Child and Youth Care Practitioner The International Child and Youth Care Ntework 47.
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Garfat. T. (2003). Four part magic: The anatomy of a child and youth care intervention. Child and youth care online 50: 1-31.
Malekoff, A. (1997). Between adolescent and group worker. Group work with adolescents Principles and practice. New York: The Guilford Press: 17-28.
Ungar, M. (2005).Resilience among children in child welfare, corrections, mental health, and educational settings: Recommendations for service. Child and Youth Care Forum,34(6): 445-464.
Ward, A. (2004). Towards a theory of the everyday: The ordinary and the special in daily living in residential care. Child and Youth Care Forum 33(3), 209-225.
Wynn, T. (2007). Adventure-Based Psychotherapy’s Journey Toward Adulthood. Web.