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Working Professionally with Children and Youth in Care
CYC-Online Issue 79 AUGUST 2005 / BACK
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Talking about our field ...

We were talking the other day about the distribution on our planet of what we call “child and youth care work”, and of how very few countries seem to make use of what it offers – its literature, its goals, its methods and its people, all of which are very distinctive. We didn’t get much further than the fingers on one hand when we numbered the countries where child and youth care work is an acknowledged, or at least reasonably known field of practice.

Daily in the world's press there is much talk of children, youth and families who get into difficulties and who get labelled as “troubled or troubling”. And assigned to work with these young people and families is a whole range of professionals and others who are not familiar with and/or do not work from the position of child and youth care work. Very prominent among these are law enforcement and corrections staff, a wide range of others who work within an essentially punitive and confining modality, and the wide gamut of people who work within the strict parameters of their own professions, whether educational, psychological, social work, psychiatric or other. One often hears of a problem situation being dealt with by the addition of more guards or security staff, higher walls or more limited mobility, less (not more) opportunity for kids and families to interact with and participate in their local communities – and one longs to suggest the exchange of one child and youth worker for one guard – or one wall or one period of exclusion.

The question arises: Why? Why is child and youth care so little known? Why are there so few countries where child and youth care workers, and what they have to offer, are familiar?

When it comes to sharing what must be one of the world's best-kept secrets, is this not really our responsibility? Should not we – the on-the-floor direct care workers, the administrators, the teachers, the writers and the supervisors who are all, are we not, pretty passionate about child and youth care work “be the ones to state the case for our profession and spread the word?

Here’s what we were thinking as we talked about this:

CYC-NET would happily make available the “front office” for such a venture – the (virtual) meeting rooms where we can talk, the virtual paper on which we share people’s ideas and document the discussion. We can keep an open discussion page on our web site, and we can use our discussion group to throw ideas around. Whatever.

If you have any ideas about this (the process or the content), tell us.

Brian and Thom

Registered Public Benefit Organisation in the Republic of South Africa (PBO 930015296)
Incorporated as a Not-for-Profit Corporation in Canada: Corporation Number 1284643-8

P.O. Box 23199, Claremont 7735, Cape Town, South Africa

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