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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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Should Child and Youth Care workers study social psychology?

Hi all,

First and foremost I would like to thank each and everyone of you who participates in these discussions, they are so educational especially to people like me who are pursuing a career in Child and Youth Development. With that said, I have a project coming up and I just want to hear your general views on why is it 'important for us as Child and Youth Care workers to study Social Psychology?' Is it really relevant to the field?
Looking forward to hear your views on this.

Zama Phirie-Mbele
CYC Student

Dear Zama,

If by social psychology you mean "the scientific study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others," (Wikipedia) then I can't imagine a child youth care worker practicing without this framework. Is not our job helping people who happen to be young become more better themselves in relationship with others? Awareness of self, of boundaries of self and other, and how to communicate, emote, and be ourselves is how each of us is human in the world. I find the process of understanding my self and others personally and professional fascinating as well as what offers me glimpse of spirit. All science and ideas or relevant to the field of youth development, we are learner/educators of the self in context in the world. The science of social relations is helpful to me as a professional for sure.

I also appreciate ambiguity named in the above definition concerning the potential of "imaginary presence of others." My imaginary friends feel included in the science of the day.

Peter D.

Hi Zama,

Since it is always good to look at the counter argument too, there is a case to be made that writings on Child and Youth Care offer their own explanations on human behaviour and although all helping professions overlap, each should be unique enough to stand on its own as well (and therefore describe human behaviour in the framework unique to their own profession).
The same question can be extended to should Child and Youth Care work not include a study on criminology. In South Africa Child and Youth Care workers can be involved in diversion programmes and they can act as Intermediaries in criminal courts, so in this case they would need an understanding of criminal behaviour and court procedures for instance.

So off course our knowledge is expanded by a number of other theoretical frameworks, but I would like to believe that students have some choice in what other subjects they take with Child and Youth Care units – based on what specialty they want to follow in the field.

Rika Swanzen

Hi Zama,

In Victoria Australia our base training for therapeutic residential youth and child care includes understanding and integrating into practice – child development, trauma and attachment theories. When these are integrated into the essence of workers they can respond in a relational way to the identified developmental needs and abilities of individual children and young people.

Our therapeutic models include a therapeutic specialist (psychologist) as part of the team who utilise the Bruce Perry model of assisting residential workers to provide an informed 24 hour therapeutic response.

Also the state Government funds to approx $500,000 a year training fund which is managed by a statewide group of representatives from the 21 agencies providing care through our peak body. Training needs are identified and relevant providers identified and training delivered and evaluated.

There are also numerous scholarships available for university study and workers are now undertaking higher education in psychology, teaching, outdoor adventure etc.

The residential specific national qualification (mandatory in some places) for workers is still only at a certificate 4 and Diploma level, though some of us are trying to increase to masters or higher.

Of course our underpinning passion like all over the world in this field in the best possible service provision we can for our children, young people and their families. Hope this helps.

Glenys Bristow

Dear Zama,

In my view, there are different levels of knowledge required for social work: about brain development and stimulation, about attachment and caregiver-client relations work, about group development, about organizational development in social work, about culture. Students should have some knowledge in each of these fields. The free online education is designed to give a broad approach including each of these areas, embedded in a staff and leader development process. You can find the training sessions at, click Trainingprogrammes Europe, and click English. Then select either the foster care or the institutions version.

Best from Niels Peter Rygaard

Hi all,

I just want to give a big thank you to all of you who joined in this discussion. It was so educational and interesting. I have certainly gained a lot of information that will assist me going forward from here. Rika has surely sent me on an educational exploring adventure by touching on diverse specialities in this field.

Again thank you for taking your precious time in assisting me with this.


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