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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.

ListenListen to this

Thinking macro and long-term

Hi all,

Just wanted to gather some ideas around macro-level support and long-term outcomes in CYC. I see many patterns of good short-term outcomes in our relational work with young people. I see less written about long-term outcomes and if we have really fostered self-determination skills in the young people we care for.

Also, so many barriers still face young people when they become adults and our support often just drops off at age 18.

What can we do to prevent future barriers? Does anyone know of some good longitudinal studies around this?

Nancy Marshall

Here are a few:

Head Start
Perry Pre-school
Hawaii Project
Better Beginnings, Better Futures. A 25 year longitudinal study. Check the Highfield site in Rexdale school as Hub model. 1990 to 2015. This also contains cost benefit analysis using the SDOH!
Best Start, Ontario
Healthy Babies
School within a School

Also look at the Casey program in the States which focuses on youth moving out of care and their need for life skills. They developed many great tools and assessment tools.
Also Lisbeth Schorr in her two books: Within our Reach, Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage and Common Purpose: Strengthening Families and Neighborhoods to Rebuild America. She chronicles a number of comprehensive community based initiatives.

Not all of these by any stretch are “youth work” as many might think, but they have good research parameters and can suggest to practitioners the challenge of longitudinal studies.


Hi Nancy,

In my own research on , Social + Emotional Intelligence and Social and Emotional Learning I have found diverse evidence based research on various topics, school, transfer into foster care, etc.

Charlene Pickrem

Thanks Rick,

Ah yes, The Perry Pre-school Project! When I learned about that one in undergrad, I considered changing careers to Early Childhood Education – no jokes! The key elements of that incredible study, for me, are the early interventions and the collaboration with parents at home – ingredients for success!

I have heard of some varying opinions/results as to whether Head Start programs actually have concrete long-term evidence of positive change.

The Hawaii project is for literacy – yes? If there is behavioural, social, emotional benefits, can you send a link to where I can read up on it?

Better Beginnings, Better Futures looks great! Again, a key factor here is the early intervention. And the cost/benefit analysis is so important!

Best Start and Healthy Babies are likely very good early intervention models too. I wonder if they have the same varying evidence as Head Start programs?

School within a School has varying success as well.

The Casey Family Programs look interesting – particularly the research that provides evidence into how indigenous youth thrive in homes that reflect their own culture when placed into out-of-home care. I would be interested in seeing something like this in Canada – does anything similar exist here? I wonder if this is a program that Child and Youth Care in Canada can look at emulating?

I purchased the Within Our Reach book on Kindle and look forward to the reading it. Thank you!!

In CYC, we often enter the lives of young people when they are school-aged, too late for early intervention strategies. I believe it takes some pretty creative problem-solving and collaboration at this stage in a young person's and/or young adult's life to effect lasting change. I believe if any profession has what it takes, Child and Youth Care does! We need more studies about the successful elements of our work that have lasting impacts...longitudinal studies into the lasting impacts of Child and Youth Care characteristics, for instance. Also, what is missing in our efforts? If there are gaps in our Child and Youth Care interventions (i.e., cultural differences, family collaboration, etc), how can we fill those gaps? As a school-based CYCP, there are so many gaps and barriers to the support I am allowed to offer, it is frustrating indeed!

Any other thoughts or studies people can offer?


The Hawaii project....home visiting!

Some of the Head start and variants had mixed results. That is why Ontario undertook a more comprehensive approach which was built upon the strengths and capacities of communities and their members.

It is true that CYC’s typically enter into the lives of children from school age.....but I would say that, as I knew working with BBBF, that the work begins before that time frame and extends across the life span. I think we need to expand our lens to think beyond what age, Ministry and bureaucratic definitions allow. That is the ideal work to be yet realized! But we have time!

Then as I think of it look at the work of Roca....and their most recent report. Long term...evidence based!


Core Child Welfare Services including Placement and Reunification
Casework Practice
Child Welfare Workforce Development and Support Programs
Family Stabilization Programs
Higher Level of Placement
Kinship Caregiver Support Programs
Permanency Enhancement Interventions for Adolescents
Placement Stabilization
Post-Permanency Services
Reducing Racial Disparity and Disproportionality in Child Welfare: Programs
Resource Parent Recruitment and Training Programs
Reunification Programs
Supervised Visitation Programs
Working with Parents with Cognitive Disabilities: Programs

Have a look – I hope this is useful.

Please allow me to add my thanks to CYC-Net which has provided such crucial insights to me.

Marjorie Israel

Thank you Charlene, Rick and Marjorie!

It will be neat to dive into this stuff and I have them all bookmarked for reading- I am grateful! I am familiar with the The California Evidence Based Clearinghouse. I was introduced to it in my theory class last year and we had discussions about the difference between Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) and Practice-Based Evidence (PBE). A few writers in our field are writing about this: ie., /nov2016.pdf (Doug Magnuson).

I find the problem with EBP is that, like Doug says in the issue I pasted above, practitioners simply say 'such and such' intervention is the gold standard and therefore should be used, without thoroughly reflecting on individual experiences. So, I think there needs to be a balance between EBP and PBE. PBE is a great fit for Child and Youth Care as it means we are constantly reflecting on our practice and checking in with our Self and the young people/families in our care. However, I do not want to discount the value of EBP either, especially evidence of long-term life outcomes.

Without looking at long-term outcomes, we risk patting ourselves on the back for a 'job well done' when, in fact, we may not have not done the young person any good in the long term. I took a peak at the Roca study Rick suggested and I like the fact that they acknowledge that their original methods were not working so they changed things up. I feel we need more of this. One personal example I have is the practice of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) that I have been mandated to use in my workplace with students in my autism program. There are no studies (that I have seen) on the long-term well-being and mental health outcomes of young people receiving ABA. What is troubling is that recent self-reports from autistic adults have revealed evidence of trauma, which has been caused by ABA. Also, long-term outcomes for this population remain to be poor.
I also recently posted a controversial study on social media that is dated (1960s) but shows long-term outcomes that, I feel, are still repeated in areas of social service today (including CYC). The participants receiving mentor-ship help in this study actually had higher rates of poor outcomes compared to a control group who did not receive the support. Hypotheses included that the young people became too dependent on the help and that the mentors did not share the same cultural values as the young people (thereby imposing, unconsciously, white middle-class values that did not resonate with the youth). It is a fascinating study that is actually still being evaluated today. You can listen to it here:

So, I have decided to embark on a bit of a hobby looking into longitudinal studies. I would love to start one myself too (one day!). I am pretty confident that, if done right, Child and Youth Care produces some significantly positive long-term outcomes. I really want to see concrete evidence of this, published and recognized by governments globally.
Thank you for all the input so far! More thoughts on this are still very much appreciated :)


Have you looked at the current trimentoring model more recently employed? It is actually based on the cultural and lived experience of racialized groups using senior elder, junior elders and mentees. It avoids the imposition of a white and middle class narrative. It is summarized below by YouthRex. It is found in various practice efforts as “boys to men” and I think there are similar emulations for young women. It may fit into the PBE category.

Rick Kelly

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