CYC-NET began in the mid-1990s as an email listserv group of 8 members. These child and youth care practitioners, teachers and writers were located in South Africa, North America, Europe, the Middle-East and Australasia. By 1998 this group had grown to around 200 and today this number stands at thousands of members.
Following the simple email discussion group came a fully-fledged Child and Youth Care web site. The simple web site with which we started in the late 1990s has grown today into a comprehensive 800 megabyte repository of many thousands of text files. The web site is regularly updated and receives 1 500 unique visitors on average (June 2022) each day.
With the increased attraction of social media, in 2017 CYC-Net established a presence on Facebook. It also transitioned the email discussion group to Facebook groups. Today CYC-Net runs two active Child and Youth Care discussion groups, one for general Child and Youth Care discussion and another focussing on Child and Youth Care Students.
However, since its inception, while evolving to respond to changing members needs, its core activities have remained essentially unchanged.
CYC-Net's main objectives are to promote and facilitate reading, learning, information sharing, discussion, networking, support and accountable practice amongst all who work with children, youth and families in difficulty. See the CYC-Net Constitution here.
The field of child and youth care work, almost universally, is an under-funded and precarious enterprise often characterised by its “charity” status and its dependence, where available, on state grants. In very few countries is it regarded as an independent profession with dedicated training institutions and professional regulation. Canada, the UK, USA and South Africa have been notable exceptions in terms of their experience, academic status and state regulation, with the added support of professional associations.
However, even in these countries, at the practice level, resources and delivery are varied. CYC-Net was developed with the intention of supporting child and youth care workers, who often are isolated and unsupported in geographically underserved and dispersed parts of the world, where limited access to libraries and low salary levels frequently prevents them from accessing any training whatsoever.
CYC-NET is a registered non-profit and public benefit organisation in South Africa and a registered Not-For-Profit Corporation in Canada. CYC-Net is also approved by the South African Revenue Service to be exempt from paying taxes and duties [Section 10(1) (cN) of the Act]. As an approved public benefit organisation, donations to CYC-Net made in South Africa are tax deductible in the hands of the donors [Section 18A(1)(a)].
CYC-Net is provided open access to all its users. However, it is only through financial support received by universities, colleges, training facilities, service organisations and agencies, associations and individuals that CYC-Net is able to provide a valuable resource serving the learning needs of the wider Child and Youth Care community.
CYC-Net was founded by Thom Garfat (Canada) and Brian Gannon (South Africa).
CYC-Net operates under the guidance of a Board of Governors and employs a single person. Everything CYC-Net provides is largely achieved through goodwill and volunteer efforts. Professional skilled services (eg. application coding development) is contracted out on a fee-for-service basis.