My name is Laura Bakunda, and I am a second year student at Mount Royal University, in Child and Youth Care Counselor program.
Recently in my practicum seminar class, we were provided with an article on transition and termination to reflect upon. Randy Cima (1992) wrote an article about his experience working with defiant children as a new counselor entitled Michael. Michael was one of the boys in the program that Cima had worked with. “Michael and his roommate Cameron defied every rule, broke every restriction, ignored all directives, and frowned at all adults” (Cima, 1992, p. 1). The writer and Michael had formed a relationship that could have been further developed and utilized to help Michael, however, this was cut short when he was transferred out of the program due to his lack of compliance. At his third facility, after leaving the one the author worked at, when he was 14 years old, they found him one night hanging from the shower head in the bathroom (Cima, 1992).
What I have learned so far in my time spent at school and my practicum placement is that it is our job to identify the needs of the children and youth. It is our responsibility to not terminate them when they need our help at the most critical point. The author does a wonderful job of communicating to the readers why we should not terminate children and youths. Rather, we should use the resources, knowledge, empathy, listening skills and communication to build relationship with vulnerable youth, and just simply take them out for lunch (Cima, 1992). From my understanding, any child and youth in the system, especially the challenging ones, termination from a program is never the right decision. The challenging ones are considered challenging for a reason, they require more effort and more time.
So my question is what are your thoughts on termination? How is termination or transitions being dealt with in the many programs around the world?
Cima, R. (1992) Michael. The Journal of Child and Youth Care
Work, Volume 8.
For many years I have used the “Michael” article in my classes and find it one of the most provocative pieces I’ve read about our work (and I told Randy so). It explains the “heart” of relational work and its importance in the life of our children. I recommend it to everyone.