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Relational Child and Youth Care Practice

RCYCP 27-4  

ISSN 0840-982X  /  VOLUME 27 NUMBER 4, WINTER 2014

Table of Contents and Article Abstracts

4  /  Editorial: Evolving Relationships / Carol Stuart

This editorial, and this issue, are about building, maintaining, and evolving relationships; because I do not believe that anyone ever truly closes a relationship. Relationships shift, one party changes or “leaves” physically, but the emotional connection remains pulsing or fading as images, sounds, smells, and memorabilia bring the connection back. This is my last issue as the managing editor of Relational Child and Youth Care Practice. We are entering a new phase as an e-published journal with a new managing editor, Heather Snell, and a new relationship between RCYCP and The CYC-Net Press. I consciously used the phrase “we” are entering a new phase. Leon Fulcher, Chair of the Board for CYC-Net, has written an overview of where this journal has come from and why we are entering this new phase.

The decision to go in this direction was made slowly, gradually, conversationally, and with heart and soul as well as logic. In short, it was made in the context of relationships, as it should have been for this journal. Most “journals” operate in a business context; they are “owned” by a publishing company. Managers are asked to make decisions about not just the quality of the articles, but also to consider the market, sales, audience, and so on. In coming to the decision to shift the journal, we talked about those things, but we also talked about the importance of the vision, the meaning, and the relationships that the journal itself had with students and practitioners in the field. Our history and our champions were explored. We consulted the Board and we talked with those who still have connections – a relationship – with the journal such as Gerry Fewster, our founding editor. We connected with people in CYC programs to explore other possible academic homes for the journal. The decision and the mechanisms for continuing the journal in an e-format evolved over these conversations. Thus, with this final print version of the journal, my relationship with the journal and the people who are part of it changes. I have become a member of the Canadian Board, I will write on occasion, a column or an article, I will occasionally do a peer-review, and I will happily receive and read my e-version of the journal. I will continue to feel proud of this journal. It was where I published my first article in 1983, as well as many more over the years. I’ve helped it move three times; from Malaspina University-College to Ryerson University, from there to Vancouver Island University, and finally to be “housed” with the CYC-Net Press: Moving is difficult, but is made easier by the friends and family that surround us as we undertake the packing, house cleaning, and building of new and different relationships at a greater or closer distance than previously.

As they should be, many of the articles in this issue are focused on the building, maintaining, and the unfortunate closure of relationships. Mark Krueger closed his life in this world on Oct. 4, 2014. His death occurred on the eve of the 18th Canadian National Conference in Moncton, New Brunswick, which opened on Oct. 8th. Mark always attended the Canadian conferences, as well as the International Conferences, and he played a large role in this journal, as our editorial consultant. CYC-Online, Issue 189 published a tribute issue for Mark in November, 2014, and in this issue we are re-printing two of those tributes. Karen VanderVen wrote about Mark’s long history within the field and his writing and publishing. Mark was committed to the print based texts that represent the tactile feel, smell, and look of interacting with ideas in a relational manner. He created visual and auditory images in our minds by writing about relationships through metaphors of visual art and music –  jazz specifically. So it is fitting that Karen’s tribute be part of this last print version of RCYCP. Gerry Fewster has a long standing relationship with Mark, as well as with this journal, and so his reflections on Mark, fittingly, close this issue. Gerry describes how Mark closed the door on his relationships. I don’t believe he closed the door – he just unilaterally altered the relationships – without consultation. This happens all the time to the young people that we work with. Perhaps that is a part of Mark’s final messaging to us. Thank you, Gerry, for sharing these thoughts.

So as you read the articles and columns in this issue, consider the eternal nature of relationships. Patti Ranahan and Renee Pellissier describe the profound effect of a youth worker’s first relational encounter with a young person considering suicide. This relationship effects a practitioner’s future relational interactions with young people contemplating such serious decisions. Yoshi Iwasaki describes the personal and professional reflections that he engaged in as a researcher in a participatory change project guided by young people. As youth workers, in relational practice, the power of young people to create change and influence is well known, but researchers and those coming from other disciplinary perspectives such as Yoshi, are deeply influenced by the power of those relationships and thus become committed to the nature of our work. We can find comfort in this type of support and dedication. Meredith Hoffman and James Freeman have two articles, which follow up on an article in a previous issue. They have examined the effects of specifically training front-line workers in developing and maintaining relationships. Having read Mark Krueger’s eloquent and deep descriptions of relational practice, and having reflected, written, and engaged in my own understanding of the nature of relational practice, it is sometimes hard for me to believe that we still need to engage in such basic training for front-line workers. However, both the articles by Meredith and James, and Jack Phelan’s book review of Michael Burns’ new book A Question of Balance, are reminders of the need for continuous training in the basics of relational interventions. These skills and approaches to building, maintaining, and evolving relationships are essential and our educational programs cannot supply enough practitioners, thus ongoing training in practice is necessary. Donna Jamieson, in her column on False Memory Syndrome, eloquently describes the emotional connections to place and relationship and how they follow us throughout our lives. Her story represents the way family wraps itself around the young people whose parents are struggling, supporting both the children and the parents in time of need, but in the process, building something that offers support and comfort for life. Lauren Wallace and her co-authors describe a Canadian version of Wrap-Around which speaks to the nature of evolving relationships. Wrap-Around programs are designed to “construct” relationships purposefully that will support young people and families with complex needs. These relationships are both personal and professional. In this unique program, often those that were service recipients evolve into supporters of other service recipients within the program. Again, conscious attention is paid to relationship, the nature of relationship, and the evolution of relationships and roles within a community of support. Garth Goodwin’s final column is his expression of a conscious decision to evolve in relationship, his decision to retire, and the reflections that this brings to the work and the changes over the years. As one of our long time Canadian practitioners, Garth, like Mark Krueger, has been a regular feature at Canadian National conferences. He has helped the field in Canada develop and maintain an internet presence and publically documented history. This issue closes with Gerry’s thoughts about his relationship with Mark – closure and the struggle to pry open the door that someone has either gently or loudly closed.

Thus, I come to the end of this editorial and an evolution in my relationship with RCYCP and the people who make up the complex web of relationships that form that entity. I acknowledge and thank Gerry and Thom for the opportunity to be able to bring my influence to RCYCP. I thank Thom and Grant for assisting with the routine tasks of editing the articles that we publish and keeping things on track over the years. There have been many supporting people behind the production of the print version of this journal but in particular I want to acknowledge two of them. Cheryl Short has been creating the covers for RCYCP since it began. She has advised and even guided the look that brings our face to the world. Choosing the photo has always been the task of the managing editor – first Gerry and then myself – something I have particularly enjoyed. Cheryl has brought that to fruition in the integration with our logo. Liz Laidlaw, also one of our columnists, has been the editorial and production force behind the final version of every journal for the last four years. She made sure that subscriptions are managed in a timely manner, ensured quality copy-edits, managed the final print run and ensured distribution to all our various subscribers. Liz is passionate about writing, both her own, and that of others. I could not possibly have done this without her. I acknowledge Leon, Martin, Thom, and the behind the scenes people at the CYC-Net Press for taking a different role as RCYCP goes forward in its form as an e-journal, and Heather for stepping up to manage the whole process. I trust it to your vision and will support you all in this new evolution of our relationships and the product– which IS Relational Child and Youth Care Practice.

7  /  The Times They are a Changing /  Leon Fulcher

9  /  The Professional Career of Mark Krueger /  Karen VanderVen

11  /  Being green: A discourse analysis of youth workers’ talk of initial touchstone experiences with suicidal youth /  Patti Ranahan and Renee Pellissier

The purpose of this research is to identify and describe the mental health literacies of youth workers. A group interview with youth workers who have encountered a suicidal youth was analyzed using discourse analysis. Results presented in this paper focus on discursive constructions of youth workers’ first time with a suicidal youth. Participants constructed an identity of being novice or ‘green’ in the stories they shared. These stories support Strong-Wilson’s touchstone stories such that they are formative in youth workers’ acquiring of knowledges and practices and in mental health literacy development. Implications for youth work supervision and pre-service education are discussed. 


23  /  Goodbye and Good Luck! /  Liz Laidlaw

24  /  Reflection on Learnings from Engaging and Working with High-risk, Marginalized Youth /  Yoshitaka Iwasaki 

This paper presents a reflective summary of the learnings gained so far from being involved in our ongoing community-based participatory action research (PAR) project on youth engagement. First, the paper describes an overview of our youth engagement research project, including the involvement of our youth leaders and youth-led development of our framework for youth engagement. The paper then gives insights into practical implications of the learnings from this project. Overall, this research has shown the utility of a grass-roots, youth-led, and strengths-oriented approach to the engagement and development of high-risk, marginalized youth who face a multitude of life challenges. In particular, the hallmark of our project is our mutually respectful, ongoing effort to building a positive relationship with youth leaders in a sustainable way. These youth leaders continue to contribute significantly to guiding our youth-oriented research project, including the planning for the next phases of our overall PAR initiative. The implications described include: (a) relationship-building with youth, (b) respectfully learning from youth, (c) key factors for effective youth engagement, (d) key elements for positive change of youth, and (e) the needs of high-risk youth. Overall, the learnings from our project support our framework for youth engagement. Furthermore, our research demonstrates the importance of using youth leadership (especially, the role of youth leaders) to inspire and engage broader youth groups in a constructive, meaningful way and help them become capable, contributive members of our society.

Addressing issues that influence the lives of high-risk, marginalized youth (e.g., youth poverty and homelessness, abusive behaviours, mental health issues) presents a significant challenge in our society, considering the prevalence of disconnect and distrust they often experience with their social environments/systems (Curran, Bowness, & Comack, 2010; Delgado, 2002; Lynam & Cowley, 2007; Wearing, 2011). Yet, meaningful youth engagement is a key concept not only for positive youth development, but also for a systems change to more effectively support high-risk youth and families (Blanchet-Cohen & Salazar, 2009; Davidson et al., 2010; Wexler et al., 2009; Yohalem & Martin, 2007). The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the learnings thus far. First, I will describe an overview of our youth engagement research project, including the involvement of our youth leaders and youth-led development of our framework for youth engagement. I will then provide my insights into practical implications of the learnings from this project.

36  /  Supporting Transfer of Learning For Staff in Relational Practice / Meredith Hoffmann and James Freeman

Providing foundational training in child and youth care helps to strengthen core competencies for effective child and youth work and improve services provided to youths in care. This project continues an evaluation study on the 40-hour Child and Youth: Basic Course created by the Academy for Competent Youth Work in the United States. This article focuses on the participants’ transfer of training to the milieu and the lessons learned on how to cultivate conditions in the environment to achieve the most benefits for the youth and families served.

41 /  Jack's Books / Jack Phelan

43 /  Examining the Organizational Impact of Training in Relational Child and Youth Care /
Meredith Hoffmann and James Freeman 

This article provides an in-depth review of training designed to build upon the foundational competencies of child and youth care staff. How to measure the organizational impact of such efforts is explored and the tangible outcomes of a training initiative are identified. Together with two previous articles, the authors provide CYC practitioners, program supervisors, managers, and administrators with insights into how to implement training which builds on staff competencies, supports transfer to the milieu, and measures how such training can affect the individual, the youth, and the organization.

49 /  False Memory Syndrome – the Good Kind /  Donna Jamieson

53 /  Canadian WrapAround: A Case Study of A Volunteer-Driven, Community-Based Approach for Families, Children, and Youth with Complex Needs in Hamilton, Ontario /  Lauren Wallace, Andrew Debicki, Mark Vander Vennen and Elske de Visch Eybergen

Although the WrapAround process has been used in social services in Canada for some time, the literature remains focused on initiatives in the United States. Canadian WrapAround initiatives are particularly unique in that they focus on connecting children, youth, and their families to a supportive community. Service integration is crucial but only as a means to the end of connecting people to a supportive community. This article reviews the literature on WrapAround and its conceptual models in Canada and evaluates the successes and challenges encountered in developing effective community- based, volunteer-driven WrapAround initiatives through an examination of the implementation of WrapAround in Hamilton, Ontario. The results of a pilot evaluation suggest that a high fidelity WrapAround process can be achieved when implemented through a volunteer-driven approach. An understanding of and support for policy and funding that not only addresses staff-driven WrapAround, but also volunteer-driven, community owned initiatives should be further promoted and developed by governments and organizations.

67 /  The Book Review Disability: A Diversity Model Approach 2nd Ed. by Romel W. Mackelprang and Richard O. Salsgiver / Leif Rasmussen

69 /  Endnotes /  Garth Goodwin

72 /  Moving On (Again) /  Thom Garfat

74 /  Mark Krueger /  Gerry Fewster


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