CYC-Online 7 AUGUST 1999
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CYC-Net: Where to from here?

During July Thom and Brian were able to spend a week in Cape Town doing some face-to-face review and planning for CYC-Net. An outline of their discussion follows, and all members and readers are invited to respond in any way they wish.

A: CYC-Net – the International Child and Youth Care Network – the Organisation

1. CYC-Net has come a long way, but needs to grow beyond its present voluntary status.

From its first beginnings some three years ago, CYC-Net has been an entirely voluntary exercise with all time being contributed by Thom and Brian, all technical work and internet hosting contributed by Pretext, and the e-mail access initially provided by South Africa's NACCW. This voluntary status imposes obvious limitations on the continuing growth of what could become a significant service to the field.

2. CYC-Net has received many indications of where it should be growing in the future.

Through discussion with our members and colleagues, we have been collecting ideas about what people want towards our future planning. Two examples:

More responsive and reliable support for practitioners in direct work. Often someone writes in with a query which has previously been discussed on the network. The rest of us assume the issue has been already dealt with, so nobody replies. We need to archive discussions, build FAQ (frequently asked questions) files, be more systematic in managing information so that it is available and useful when people need help.

Better reading support to those who are not near to or serviced by academic libraries. Distance learning students and child and youth care workers in outlying areas are not helped by reference lists. CYC-NET could develop a fee-paying library service (downloads, photocopies) in partnership with journals and authors to make reading more widely accessible.

3. CYC-Net is planning, therefore, to assemble a modest budget.

About US$1500 a month is seen as a realistic figure to cover all of the growing tasks and expenses we foresee over the next two years – technical, clerical, professional. We hope to achieve this in two stages – in reverse order these are:

A formal announcement of this will follow shortly, but it is expected that we would ask individuals to contribute about $25 Canadian a year and corporate bodies the equivalent of $250 Canadian a year (see table below for some equivalents). In return, these Foundation Members would be asked to specify services which they would like CYC-NET to consider and which might contribute in some way to their own work.

Canada US South Africa UK
Individual $25 $15 R100 –10
Corporate $250 $150 R900 –100

4. CYC-Net plans an international panel of honorary patrons and a financial base in an established non-profit organisation.

A group of respected patrons will lend confidence and propriety to an organisation which exists largely in cyberspace and which receives public money. We are also negotiating with a registered child and youth care non-profit organisation to provide banking facilities. We are arranging a secure credit card payment facility on our web site.

B: The content of our web site, our on-line journal and our e-mail discussion list

We now have several hundred visitors a month at our web site and over 350 members of the CYC-Net daily discussion group. We discussed several ideas for improving content.

1. Accessible material: As mentioned above, CYC-Net needs to archive material from our discussions, and also to add basic information and sources to a range of subjects relating to our field. Visitors to our web site should be able to access previous discussions and additional material on any practice area they are concerned with. There should also be a search engine on the web site.

2. Subject or curriculum areas: We are to suggest a list of content areas, and are considering inviting people to “chair" particular curriculum areas (for example, ethics, case management, literature, behavioural approaches, milieu, etc.), ensuring that the information and sources on the respective pages on the web site are maintained and up to date.

3. Varied content in CYC-Online: We are reaching the stage where there is a good mix between previously published material (which most of today's child and youth care workers have not seen before) and new contributions in our on-line journal. The Academy of Child and Youth Care Practice (formerly NOCCWA) has given permission for us to use material from their publication Child Care Work in Focus, and a number of other organisations have made suitable material available.

4. Categories of members: We are aware of several distinct groups amongst our members, and each of these groups has specific areas of interest in addition to their common concerns – there are:

5. News, correspondents: The CYC-Net web site would be an appropriate place to collect and publish news about children, child and youth care work, and child welfare matters and developments in different countries. We are inviting CYC-Net members to offer their services as correspondents in all countries of the world. Snippets from your daily newspapers – issues current in your part of the world, new ideas, controversies, learning – all would be of interest to web site visitors. If you would like to offer your help as a correspondent, use the mail form at the end of this editorial.

6. Promote participation: Some of our ideas are -

All of this content can be as short or as long as it needs to be ... from three lines to a few pages. The editors will welcome your ideas, and particularly your response to the plans and proposals above.

Thanks for your participation in the past, and for joining in with us all as we go forward from here.

Thom and Brian

The International Child and Youth Care Network

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

P.O. Box 23199, Claremont 7735, Cape Town, South Africa | P.O. Box 21464, MacDonald Drive, St. John's, NL A1A 5G6, Canada

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