CYC-NET began in the mid-1990s as an email listserv group of 8 initial 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 CYC 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. Since its inception, while evolving to respond to changing members needs, its activities have remained essentially unchanged.
The site is updated at least every 48 hours, and receives between two and three thousand unique visitors each day.
CYC-Net's main objectives are (primarily through the internet and electronic media) 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 (031-323-NPO, PBO 930015296). CYC-Net is approved by the South African Revenue Service to be exempt from paying taxes and duties [Section 10(1) (cN) of the Act]. Furthermore, as an approved public benefit organisation, donations to CYC-Net made inside the Republic of South Africa are tax deductible in the hands of the donors [Section 18A(1)(a)]. Tax free donations to CYC-Net from inside the USA are also welcomed through the CYC-Net International Education Fund (USA).
CYC-Net is provided open access to all its users. However, it is only through subscriptions 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. Those who provide a voluntary contribution/subscription are able to participate more fully in CYC-Net's affairs (e.g. nominate Board members, vote at meetings, receive reports, etc.)
CYC-Net was founded by Thom Garfat (Canada) and Brian Gannon (South Africa).
CYC-Net operates under the guidance of an internal Board of Governors and has a very small staffing structure. Everything CYC-Net provides is achieved largely through volunteer efforts. We provide a small stipend to two people – one editor and one support staff. Other services required by CYC-Net, such as web development, is contracted out on a fee-for-service basis.