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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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Restorative practice

Is anyone or organization doing any work or practice on Restorative Practice, Restorative Justice and/or Restorative Approaches?

Please tell me more.

Richardo H.


Hi Richardo,

I suspect you'll get a variety of responses to this inquiry. We have been introduced to a new practise for discipline in schools in Ontario. The Progressive Discipline policy includes the use of more inclusive discipline rather than exclusive practices, such as suspension or expulsion. Restorative Practices, such as a conferencing circle has the student facing their offences first hand. The intention is to have students, staff and parents versus just administrators involved in discipline issues. We have recently been introduced to what I believe a very innovative approach to the use of restorative practices in schools by Lynn Zammitt, a teacher for the Waterloo District School Board. You can check out their program through this link:

Good luck,

Sherry Migliaccio

Hello – this seems a popular topic since I sent along news of this resource about a month ago to the listserv...

Below are 2 links (1st to a Brussels-based website and 2nd to U of Minnesota Human Rights Center) for downloading a Rights-Based Restorative Justice ToolKit (Moore, 2008) developed by a colleague here at Brock University for community-based RJ practitioners.

kind regards,

Richard C. Mitchell, Ph.D. (Stirling)
Assistant Professor Child and Youth Studies Brock University

Hi Richardo H.,

The John Howard Society, especially Calgary John Howard Society – Windsor Park House practices Restorative Practice, Restorative Justice and/or Restorative Approaches. Our organization is a Youth Residence of Independent Transitioning. At Windsor Park we eat, sleep, and breathe these practices. Look us up online!

Carling H
Calgary, AB, Canada

There is an excellent program in Ireland that is facilitated by the police here. Its called the Garda Diversion Program. If you google it you will get loads of information on it.

Hope that helps.

Hello there,

I was involved as a student as part of my placement requirements in Youth Justice and Restorative Justice at the Eastview Boys and Girls Club in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Even though I have finished my placement there I continue to be a part of their program on a monthly basis. It is an extremely successful program. I enjoyed the process immensely and continue to do so. The people you can connect with for more information would be Andrea Dafoe or Jill Daillaire. Their number is 905-728-5121 x 234(Andrea) & x 237(Jill).

Susan Scherbak
Whitby, Ontario

Hi Richardo,

You might want to take a look at the flyer reproduced below and contact Rick Kelly if you are interested in becoming a Certified Restorative Justice Facilitator.


* * *

Become a Certified Restorative Justice Facilitator

Add this invaluable skill set to your resume
Use as a Professional Development credit
Be part of a cutting edge alternative
Become a member of an international network

Certification offered through the International Institute of Restorative Practices. Check out their website at

This is a two-day program which offers the skills that qualify you to implement effective Restorative Justice Conferences.

How: Through hands on training utilizing simulations, videos, and discussion
When: April 28/29 2008 and/or May 1/2, 2008. To be confirmed depending on numbers of registrants
Where: George Brown College, St James College, 200 King St. E. Room 560 D
Cost: Student Rate: $120-130 (fee covers a facilitator’s manual and book from the IIRP)
Outside participants: $200.00

The Trainers:
Bruce Schenk; Certified Restorative Justice Trainer/IIRP, Currently seconded to the Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB to support their efforts developing a system wide approach to the use of Restorative Practices, Previously Coordinator of Restorative Justice Initiatives and Chaplain, Brookside Youth Centre

Rick Kelly; Certified Restorative Justice Facilitator and Trainer, Professor, Child and Youth Worker Program, George Brown.

To Register:
Call Rick Kelly at 416-415-5000 X 3703 or
email: here


I like the idea of restorative justice. I may be wrong but I believe that it was intrinsic to the aboriginal culture of New Zealand and North America. We still have so much to learn from those cultures. Restorative justice is being introduced in the UK, (particularly in Scotland I am led to believe) in youth work and in some schools. As ever I am interested that we in the UK introduce such an altruistic notion to our work with children and young people who have crossed boundaries of acceptable behaviour and yet as a society have no intention of introducing it to our overall justice system which of course is adversarial. An adversarial system benefits the wealthy and powerful. Restorative justice applied only to naughty children, who often come from an impoverished background will remain an insincere token if it is not exercised universally.

Polemically yours,
Charles Sharpe.

Restorative Practice has been used in many places from education to mental health and to social service sector. It originates from of course the Aboriginal culture and, yeah, New Zealand.

There have been some great points and thoughts about Restorative Practice in action and each on their own Restorative Journey.

Richardo H.

Is there anywhere in South Africa where accredited Restorative Practice training can be obtained?

I am based in the Western Cape. Are there institutions even internationally with whom one can do a correspondence course in restorative justice practices? Are there any success stories in South Africa ?

Please advise soonest.

Harold Isaacs
Youthcare worker

Hi Charles,

Restorative justice is probably a useful tool in some circumstances but it does eventually lead to complacency in a system (judicial) that does not have the ability to adjust to its needs. In cases of repeat offenders, restorative justice is a crutch for individuals who do not face the reality that unacceptable behavior is exactly what it is. Unfortunately today, we have many so called professionals (psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, etc) labeling these segments of society that leads nowhere. I really hate reading psych reports on high risk youth that have had somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 assessments, and each professional has a different diagnoses. Even given the fact that we understand as Child and Youth Care professionals that human development happens in stages, the end must not justify the means. Any lay person doesn't need a degree to understand unacceptable behavior. I don't think people really want to or should want to rely on a system that is constantly flawed. A child who is constantly told he is a burden on society will eventually believe that, maybe he is, and that will ultimately be his reality. Just imagine...

Darren Maillot

For your information. Apparently one of the first places restorative practice was initiated by Edward Gordon Green, addictions worker, counsellor and Hereditary Chief of the Gitxan First Nations. The model became the core of the Gitxsan nation's Unlocking Aborginal Justice program which is still in existence today. UAJ also trained aboriginal workers from other countries. If anyone would like to know more about this and about the model you can contact him at 1-250-842-6327 (work) or at home in the evenings at 1-250-842-6835. He does have an email address which you can ask him for when you call.

Viv Smith

Dear Richardo,

It sounds as if you have some telling thoughts about restorative practice. It would be great for me to hear more of them. I admire it as an ideal. It is just that I'm uncertain our culture, that is in England, would be able to carry it out with the universal sincerity it deserves.

Best wishes,
Charles Sharpe

Try the International Institute of Restorative Practice

Patricia Mugridge


I personally don't know of a direct contact for Restorative Practice in South Africa. Feel free to contact/visit,, or google Restorative Practice for information.

Charles, there is Restorative work in action going on in England and of course New Zealand. Pete Blood, I believe is in England and is one of the leaders in Restorative Practice along with the 'Idealistic – Visionist" Terry O'Connell.

Hope this helps,
Richardo H.

Hi Guys,

I believe that the powerful message of the restorative justice approach is two-fold. The fact that we in the west can now acknowledge that other groups may have approaches to justice and social cohesion that offer greater sensitivity to cultural factors is excellent. This has been a long journey and it troubles me that we have only arrived at this point following years of subjugating indigenous peoples to our notions of civil society and in so doing creating many of the tragic outcomes which belatedly restorative justice hopes to address. There is also an issue of believing that this approach will affect change on it's own, the point that Charles makes about society's receptiveness in the face of competing justice agendas based on the punishment principle.

The second point is that restorative justice is an empowering model of justice that accepts that families and communities have the wisdom and commitment to find their own solutions. There are comparisons to be made with Sharia law in the Muslim world, which in its pure form is about finding forgiveness and working out reparation directly between the affected parties. I believe that it is this point that creates the major stumbling block for the western world in that our laws are designed and applied to preserve and protect the power and property of the ruling elites and it would not be in their interests to devolve decision making to the people.

Jeremy Millar
The Robert Gordon University, Scotland

Pete Blood is in Australia. Belinda Hopkins in the UK. Hopkins has a training program for residential workers. Hertsfordshire County in the UK does it in the group homes. It is their mandate.

Patrica Mugridge

Just some more info:

Another restorative justice project is the Nerina One-STOP Youth Justice Centre (previously Stepping Stones) in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Initially a pilot project of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Young People at Risk, and now a joint venture by the Departments of Justice, Social Development, and Police Services. It houses a police holding facility, criminal youth court, and probation officers. All criminal cases are assessed for potentially qualifying for diversion programmes, usually managed by Nicro (a non-profit organisation). Diversions such as victim-offender mediation and family group conferences are available when applicable. The idea with the Centre was to centralise all youth criminal processing in one facility, with inter-sectoral cooperation between government departments, in order to fast-track court processes and processing time, and to divert children away from the criminal justice system to the child care system when appropriate.

Many lessons have been learned from piloting this project, and a lot of wisdom gained around this topic, and I am sure they will be able to provide a lot of information for anyone interested.

Werner Van der Westhuizen
SOS Children's Villages
Port Elizabeth

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