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Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

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Applied behavioural analysis within CYC


Hello everyone,

I am undergoing some research on how Applied Behavioural Analysis, Behaviour Modification and Special Education programs fit into a CYCP approach – or do they at all? I am finding a few resources but am always looking for more.

If anyone can suggest some literature in the Child and Youth Care field that would be great :)



Immerse yourself in the work of Dr. Karen VanderVen.

Lorraine Fox

I think you can look to just about anyone who is currently writing about Relational Child and Youth Care Practice...Jack Phelan, Dr. Thom Garfat, Dr. Kiaras Gharabaghi‎, James Freeman...CYC-Net is also a treasure trove of writings and publications...

Andy Leggett

A strong activity program is another aspect of the relational approach in that what youth and staff are doing together shapes the nature of the relationship. And indeed CYC-Net is a wonderful resource.

So are the writings of Dr. Lorraine Fox who also replied to this discussion. Read her article on "The Catastrophe of Compliance".

Karen VanderVen

Thank you Karen,

"The Catastrophe of Compliance" is one of my favorite articles and I refer to it often. I will also immerse myself in more of your writings as Dr. Fox suggested.

Thank you again,


Hi Nancy,

A suggestion when doing research: one aspect that I have found to be useful, is to explore the defining points of terms and its application as additional resources. This could include certified training courses that would reveal instruction and expectations in these areas.

I have been working in the school system for many years and note a variability on the promotion of ABA, B-Mod and/or Special Education. Further, if, how, and when it is carried out and by whom also varies. Thus, makes researching this issue even more interesting. Just because it is on paper/policy doesn't mean it occurs, or that it is followed it to a "T".

As a CYCP, I personally agree with Karen. I have also worked in residential, custody, and community services and have witnessed the failure of point, level systems etc. I believe, promote, and embrace the authentic relational context of our profession. It is the foundational basis in which we walk alongside children and youth in their life-space, as well as their families and communities, with care and reflective-reactive attentiveness. There is so much more that can be said... As mentioned in other posts, there are many resources that could tie well into your research as you explore this topic.

Regarding defining ABA in the Ontario school system, you may want to check out PPM-140 (Ontario Ministry of Education Policy), in which I have attached one link :

Note that ABA promotes itself as a working model in other realms, besides with young people diagnosed with ASD, and covering an umbrella of interventions used by professionals under alternative names (which one would discover in its training course).

Wishing you all the best with your research!

Mary Anne

Unless I've missed it, no one has directly answered Nancy Marshall's question.

I'm also interested in whether there are practitioners, evaluators, and researchers with expertise who would provide some context current practices, especially about behavior modification and applied behavior analysis. A lot of Child and Youth Care practitioners are working with and against these ideas in schools, family support, disability services, mental health, etc.

There's a lot of literature outside of Child and Youth Care : For example, typing "applied behavioral analysis" and "criticism" into my search engine returns loads of interesting material.

Doug Magnuson

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