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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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Feedback from clients?

Hi All,

Just wondering what tools/strategies that others have used with success to receive formal feedback from clients.

I look forward to your responses with gratitude.

Matt Jacobsen

Great question Matt.

We use a two-tiered approach in collecting feedback to improve the services we offer families and teens. The first is a weekly evaluation that the teens fill out in order to give the staff ongoing feedback about what’s working and what’s not. I believe this tool empowers the teens to voice their opinions without fear of reprimand. The staff review these on a weekly basis and address any issues that are brought to their attention. The teens also have the opportunity to reflect on what interventions worked for them and which ones went over their heads, what was helpful and what wasn’t. It is a tool we have been using for over 8 yrs now and it has really improved the relationship the staff have with the teens in the program.

The second step is at the end of the program both the parents, the teens and the staff (both the family worker and the teens primary worker) fill out a satisfaction survey. At the end of the day the data is qualitative as the agency can’t determine the level of “success” for each family. This is a deeply personal opinion. If the family feels successful, then they evaluate the program as one that “successfully” helped their family. This evaluation was put together as a thesis project and has been serving the agency for over 5 yrs.

Hope this helps.

Delia Noel


We use a Caring Survey for our residential youth. It simply asks the youth “Who do you believe Cares for you and why” then we ask “Who do you believe does not care for you and why”. The feedback is then shared with staff. As you might expect the things that youth believe show carrying are generally around the amount of positive attention given the youth by staff. The feedback allows staff to easily make adjustments in their approach to youth. For instance if Joan(youth) says I feel cared for when John(staff) helps me clean my room, or helps me with homework, listens to me when my day “sucks” we simply tell John to do more of that. If Joan says I don’t think Carol(staff) cares for me because she is always on my ass, always makes me wait when I need something(over the years this has come up multiple times) or she puts me down, we can simply coach Carol to do less of that.

When your approach is grounded in a Caring Relationship you really don’t need a lot to work with youth.
I would be more than happy to share the Survey tool and materials behind it.

Steve Bewsey

The works of Dr. Scott D. Miller has dedicated his work into getting feedback from his clients while in therapy. I have had a chance to attend some of his workshops and his tools can be applied not only with clients but between worker and supervisor.

Throughout his research, he has found that the greatest predictor for change is the alliance one has with his client, not the models and techniques, neither the therapist’s or the worker’s skills. He then developed the FIT approach – Feedback Informed Treatment. Check out his book The Heroic Client.

He came up with 2 measuring tools to be used at every session to increase this alliance – ORS (Outcome Rating Scale) and SRS (Session Rating Scale). The ORS is meant to get a snapshot of how the person feels about his life in general (family, relationships, work and overall) and the SRS rates how the worker is doing. As workers, we have to adjust to the person’s needs and the feedback we receive from the clients should inform our practice and treatment. If we don’t see any changes in the clients outcome, it means we are not doing the right thing and we are not helping that person. This approach forces the therapist to be aware of the clients preferences.

At my work, we have integrated this approach to all workers such as child protection workers, child and youth workers and their supervisors and it gives clear indications the progress or lack of progress in different case files. I use it as well with team meetings to make sure needs are met by managers to all caregivers.

Giving or receiving feedback can be quite intimidating, embarrassing and makes us question our abilities to truly help clients. However once you commit to the well being of the client as well as improving your skills, being open to feedback increases your alliance and collaboration with that client.

Eric Douville

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