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ISSN 0840-982X



Reading (not this) may change your life  3
Thom Garfat

Young carers in Canada: An invisible population    5
Grant Charles, Tim Stainton and Sheila Marshall

There is a near invisible population of children and adolescents in Canada who have responsibilities beyond their years. These young people are forced by circumstances to fulfill a care giving role in their families far greater than what would be expected of a person their age even taking into account cultural differences on family responsibilities and expectations. The demands placed upon these young people have often negative and sometimes positive impacts upon their growth and development. These young people can go unnoticed because there are often appear mature for their age and are highly responsible. As such they tend to go �under the radar� with teachers, child and youth care workers and social workers because of their lack of �acting out� behavior. Although frequently unnoticed in Canada, over the past decade �young carers� have become the focus of considerable attention in the United Kingdom, Australia and parts of Europe. This paper will provide an overview on what is known about young carers in general and identify in and services in Canada.

A matter of worth    13
Garth Goodwin

The spatial environments of street-involved youth:
Can the streets be a therapeutic milieu
Stephanie Griffin

The cement was cold, dampness beginning to soak through my jeans. Light drizzle is almost worse than rain � not bad enough to keep you indoors but miserable enough to turn peoples� attention away from helping; heads down, focused on their destination. Sitting on the sidewalk, I watched people walk by. �Spare change?� �Money for food?� Mostly I watched legs walk by � the world and the people within it look different from down here. I�d lost track of how many days, months, years, I had spent looking up at the world, passing by me. Do I really exist in such a parallel universe from everyone else? Do they not see me, or are they just so good at ignoring my attempts at connection, at conversation? Maybe I have actually become a part of the street upon which I sit?

Vintage baby boomer    28
Donna Jamieson

Contemplations about the imagination and complacency
in child and youth care practice
Kiaras Gharabaghi

Given the often traumatic scenarios in child and youth care practice, professional practice requires skills, an understanding of developmental psychology, behaviour management strategies, and core child and youth worker concepts, such as caring, relationships, and engagement. In addition the professional practitioner needs to have an excellent under- standing of �Self,� a commitment to professional ethics, a rigorous self-care regime, and the support of supervisors and colleagues from within Child and Youth Care as well as colleagues from other disciplines. Scholars in the field have suggested that certain personal characteristics such as courage, commitment, passion, and other virtuous personality traits are mandatory (Krueger, 1991; Nightingale, 2000; Stuart, 2007; for a critical perspective, see Gharabaghi, 2008). In this paper, I argue that there ought to be another central component of our profession to assist us in dealing with complex scenarios facing children and youth � the Imagination.

Two against one    42
Michelle Koroll

What did I say?    44
Susan Krouskop

Looking through the eyes of the child: The phenomenon
of child verbal abuse in the Philippines
Reggy Capacio Figer

This article chronicles the phenomenon of child verbal abuse in the Philippines. It was carried out in response to the dearth of studies on verbal abuse on children. Primarily, it looks at how children viewed and experienced verbal abuse. It is hoped that this article will provide a venue for parents to rethink on their own strategies for child care and rearing.

Averting relational death by monitoring
relational viruses
Ernie Hilton

A parent's worst nightmare: Grief, families,
and the death of a child
Nancy Moules

Jon was four years old: beautifully and impossibly precocious, engaging, taxing and loving. He was diagnosed with a serious form of leukemia which required very aggressive treatment. Jon was hospitalized and his parents of Chinese Vietnamese background struggled through the English that did nothing to bring clarity to their understanding of how their only son could have this disease that infiltrated his bone marrow. It was quickly decided that Jon needed a bone marrow transplant and Jon underwent the rigorous and demanding process of treatment and isolation. As the Family Support Nurse, I had the privilege of being with Jon every day. He told his mother that he wanted his hair to grow back �yellow� this time like �Auntie Nancy.�
Jon, cured of leukemia � as a result of the transplant � developed a cerebral bleed � as a result of the transplant � and died on my birthday. After we all held him and let him go, his mother in a conversation that required neither English nor Vietnamese � a universal language of grief � guided me to the bathroom off of his room and pointed to a bird�s nest that she had been monitoring on the ledge outside the window. The mother bird was gone and inside the nest lay a baby bird that died. Jon�s mother had seen it that morning and knew it was coming. Like the unspeakable nature of a child�s death, she bore this knowledge in her heart.

Child welfare work: A life choice, not a life sentence    70
Carolyn Oliver

As an instructor of new child welfare workers I regularly encounter the belief that entering the field is akin to starting a prison term; for some it represents a life sentence, while the lucky others hang in there for two years of hard labour and then, assuming good behaviour, are free to escape to a job where they actually can be happy. As increasing numbers of child and youth care workers enter the child welfare field it is time to reconsider that perception. How do we reclaim the alternative view of child welfare as a rewarding life-long career choice where new workers can develop professionally and personally over a period of many years? Amongst the challenge, complexity, and sometimes chaos of working in a child welfare system, how can the new worker make a positive difference, not only in the lives of their clients, but also in their own?

When did you first know that you were a child
and youth worker?
Carol Stuart

Book review: Foster carers    81
Jack Phelan

Changing times    82
Liz Laidlaw

My role as a child and youth worker in child welfare
 and why I love it    84
Karen Fitzpatrick

Five seconds to belonging    85
Thom Garfat

Information    89


Reading (not this) may change your life

My friend Grant Charles helped me pull this issue together. He is joining us as a member of the editorial team of this journal and so I say, to myself, (but now he is going to know) that it is all a part of his �initiation into editorship with RCYCP.� But the truth is, it is not that at all. That�s just me talking to myself and trying not to feel too obligated.

I was having a tough time getting this issue together � nothing out of the ordinary � just busier with other things than I normally am. And Grant, friend that he is, stepped up and said �let me help you out.�

Now that, I think, is what friends do � help you out when you need a hand. Well, I know they do lots of other things like; maybe remember a special event in your life, or invite you for dinner, or offer you a listening ear when you need one. The point is, though, that friends are supposed to be nice people who care about you and show it through what they do.

Got me to thinking about kids of course. (What doesn�t?) And how many of them have �friends� who don�t help them out at all; don�t do these kinds of things I am talking about. Rather they have friends who �help themselves� using these kids for their own ends. Yet the kids still think they are their �friends.�

I know what that is like. I have done it myself, called someone �my friend� even though they were either a) using me or b) tolerating me or even c) totally ignoring me as I tagged around with them as invisibly as I could. We�ve probably all done it. Okay, I know, there are supposedly the members of the �super cool� group who never need a friend, who everyone wants to be friends with, but they were never in my world so I don�t count them. (How�s that for left over adolescent anger?)

Generally, though, all of us will have been through a period where we really wanted a particular person to be our friend when they didn�t even seem to know that we existed. It is simply a part of the developmental angst of growing up; wanting to be liked, wanting to belong, wanting to define our worth by association with those who, for whatever reason, we admired. Pretty normal.

But not when that�s all you�ve got � the desperate desire to be accepted.

Belonging and connected- ness are a hunger that exists in all of us. More than just a need, I think. A hunger; an emptiness which yearns to be filled. And until it is filled we wander around looking for any way we can to meet the need, including calling people �friends� who are really just using us.

Most of us find fairly average ways to fill this need. We have family which serves the purpose. We belong to clubs, churches or other groups. We identify with our school or work team. We have lovers, partners, best friends, or neighbours.

But other people are not so fortunate, like a lot of the kids we work with. Failing to find connectedness and belonging in these more average ways (or, once having experienced it, losing it) they do what they can to fill the need.

They take lovers who don�t love them. Hang out with gangs that misuse them. Join �families� which abuse them. They are used like �things,� okay for the immediate purpose and easily discarded in a disposable world. After a while, because that�s all they�ve got, they think that�s all they deserve. And so it becomes a self-perpetuating script. �When I am a �thing� people accept me, I feel like I belong. If I stop being a �thing� I will have no place to belong any more.�

But somewhere deep inside, I believe, none of us want to be a thing. We long to be just a person: simple, accepted, connected, belonging and loved. And so, when we engage in these abusive ways of being connected and belonging, we experience conflict. Between what we think we are and what we long to be. To appease the conflict, we turn to the bottle, the pipe, the abuse of others as we lash out in our misdirected rage.

So why am I writing about this in an editorial for RCYCP? Fair question. I guess it is because as I get older things blend together. I have an experience in life and it leads me to reflect on work. I have an experience in work and it leads me to reflect on life. I think of Child and Youth Care as a way of being in the world; not something we do and then go home to �be� different.

As I read the articles, columns and pieces in this issue of the journal I find myself, even though these are �about work,� reflecting on life. Why is it, for example, as Reggy Figer provokes in this issue, that adults abuse children? �Does the way I limit my imagination, limit my experience of my personal life?� I wonder as I read Kiaras Gharabaghi�s paper on imagination and complacency. Well, I could go through them all, of course, but the point is made. Life and work are, essentially, inseparable. You are who you are, no matter where you are, as the old saying goes. And I know I will never look at a kid on the street the same after reading Stephanie Griffen�s article on Streetscapes. Reading a work article has changed my personal life.

So, as you read your way through this issue, allow yourself to wonder, to imagine, and maybe even to change how you are in the world. And as you change in the world, wonder about how that will impact your work. For it will.

As always, I am grateful to the people who write for the journal. Grateful for not only how they help me be a better, more reflective practitioner but also grateful for how each off them, in their own small way, alters my life.

(altered by reading once again)