Advice for those new to the field?
My name is Kendra Siklodi and I am going into my second year practicum in Child and Youth Care Counselling at Mount Royal University. I completed a first year fieldwork which seemed to be a lot of observation. Going into my second year practicum I am feeling fairly under prepared for the situation.
My question is what advice would you give to someone new to the field of child and youth care?
Here are a few links on CYC-Net you might find useful (Eds.):
I am a residential child care practitioner from Scotland with 13 years experience and although I have learned some valuable lessons during my experience I am not convinced that we can ever really be fully prepared for the challenges we face working with vulnerable young people.
I do have some advice though, lessons I have learned and points that I think are most important but often remain silent in training or education.
1. Young people are experts in their own lives. They are the only ones who know what they really think, how they feel or what they have been through.
2. Never underestimate the importance of listening – children often don't expect or want adults to solve their problems for them. It is much more helpful and achievable to try to understand and support them to overcome barriers themselves.
3. Remain child centred – don't be afraid to challenge decisions you know to be wrong. You are an advocate for children when they don't have a voice. Help others to understand their needs, rights and wishes.
4. Remember you are privileged – few people have an opportunity to change these young people's lives for the better. You may be the first person to help them experience something different in their relationship with an adult. Build a positive healthy relationship and demonstrate an example of an adult who is reliable, caring and trustworthy. Someone who can keep them safe and cares for them unconditionally.
Keep these rules foremost in your mind and you will make a positive difference.
Thanks Tracey – I agree with your 4 points wholeheartedly.