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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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Effects of location

Hi! My name is Kristine Hood and I am a junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Applied Developmental Psychology. My discussion is about working with children from different areas and how someone thinks this will think affect their development? I am curious to see how location affects children?



Kristine asked about the impact of location on children ...

You could consider the work of Urie Bronfenbrenner looking at the Ecological Systems Perspective.

Danielle Jimeno

Hi Kristine,

Do you mean different areas in Pittsburgh, the United States, ... or the world?

Further to Kristine's question about the impact of location on children ...

The question made me think of a movie called "The Boys of Baraka". It's a documentary about a group of boys that are taken into a program for young black youth from (a certain American city, I can't remember, with considerable race segregation). They're taken to Africa, for basically a tutoring program. Founded on the idea of location, and supportive behavioral interventions. There are some moments in the film when I thought, oh we aren't allowed to treat kids like that, like prisoners.

In fact, the kids were concerned that they might get tricked into a prison camp scenario, and were comforted at length that it was not such; though when they were finally out of the US in a compound with 'security', 'for their protection' and punitive physical consequences, seemed to feel a bit disempowering to the boys, and less like Child and Youth Care to me.

Anyways, I'd recommend the documentary. To see the reality of the black community of an American city, segregation, lack of resources, learning disabilities, speech delays, fasd, criminalized youth, racism, prison, and zero alternative in sight for parents, the desperation for them to get their kids into this program; it's educational.

On the simple question of location, I would say that if you want, it's a loaded question. I mean we could simply ask what difference it would make for a white middle class family to be in a well funded urban school district with good dental coverage; as compared to a more rural location. Or we could go deeper and ask what are the landscapes of the privileged political class as compared to the people who are not. What aspects of physical location are arbitrary, political will to concentrate 'well-being' amongst certain groups.

An example; have you ever visited an indigenous nation's 'reservation' in canada, let's say? There's just not enough money to repair the physical infrastructure on reserves across the province or country. Though, for the olympics in vancouver 2010, there was any amount necessary to complete any construction project deemed necessary – into the 100's of millions.

The fact is that growing up in certain physical locations would be beneficial to others. Having the money to be in said locations would be exponentially beneficial. Looking at urban neighborhoods whether from an urban planning aspect dating 60 or more years (i.e traffic calming measures of the richest neighborhoods, as an original infrastructure rather than an eventual modification that had to be requested by un/under-funded neighborhood councils) or more rural, like a recreation center recently built out of town, with no transit service for the urban residents who pay increased property taxes so that the 'middle class' who will soon fill the new subdivisions at the outskirts of town, creating a new neighborhood have access to a rec center.

The subject can go on, it depends how deep in what directions you wish to go. Location is huge in the developmental potential of children. The research is done. Everyone of us has the potential to have a career, to help turn the wheels of the economy which provides all the 'well-being' to the rich and some to the rest of us. And we have the potential to be happy and enjoy life as such. All that remains is for society to become honest about the class based, stratified world we live in.

Maybe I'm biased, and lack awareness of the other "research" that says we all have an equal starting point. I believe in our profession as Child and Youth Care workers. People's ability to process is fairly universal I'd think.
When will we realize as individuals that the world is political?

Is our work as Child and Youth Care professionals political? We are social workers, let's not forget that, even if the term has been grabbed by some other 'profession'. Let's not forget the recent history of society. The history of social struggle to have basic 'well-being', respect and security. The poor are poor because it's the policy. Only some people deserve to have everything in this society.

Please, let's discuss our role...


Hi MK,
An excellent post. Location and access to resources is so often overlooked as we pin the blame on kids, parents and communities dealing daily with harsh realities that at times threaten their very existence. Case in point would be the limitations on movement created through gang districts. A senior police officer spoke at a SIRCC conference regarding the challenge of getting his officers to call areas by their geographical names rather than the gang names as the culture of acceptance had become ingrained over generations. Middle class kids seldom deal with this issue and we only hear about the gang violence when they kill someone who was out with the gang culture and had potential that was needlessly taken away by the random act of violence. As far as the political leaders are concerned the poor and dispossessed can continue to destroy their lives with substance abuse and violence as long as they don't stray into the mainstream.

Jeremy Millar

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