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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


What is the one most important value held by Child and Youth Workers in the field?

Danielle McLeod

Interesting question; if you don't mind me asking: why are you asking it? A good place to start seeking an answer is to answer it yourself; what is your most important value as a CYCW?

Peter Rosenblatt

Deep caring and empowerment of the young person

Cath Moss

My experience and research would suggest that it is to strive to always act in the child's/children's best interests.


People can change.


Pati Chrusch-Page

When one thinks of the values that we as Child and Youth Care Workers find important, the values that come to mind are trust, empathy, genuiness, respect, integrity etc., but what does value mean?.. a fair return for something exchanged...something intrinsically valuable or desirable (human rather than material)...usefulness, of importance... to consider or rate highly... when I first read your question the first thing that came to my mind was RELATIONSHIP... for it is invaluable in the work that we do.

Good luck!
Alice A.

The most important value in the field? "patience"

I don't think that our values as CYC's should be any different than our values towards others in our lives. What is easily forgotten is how to demonstrate respect... especially towards the youth that we work with. I
like the term respect because it encompasses empathy, a degree of understanding, tolerance, interest, trust, and the belief in working together with the kids we deal with. They are the ones who have the experience of their life (they are the experts on themselves)!!

I believe that this holds true for all people – young and old.
I hope that makes sense...


It is hard to pin down one value that I use in my work with youth. I find it easier to lump two together. Accountability and forgiveness. It goes with my religious beliefs and what I feel is most successful in practice with youth.


The skuttlebut from a few months ago addressed that topic. I submit that the most important value is love. Of the myriad of meanings packed into that little word, I propose "Love your neighbor as yourself", or the wordier Christian version: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." I don't assume that it's as simple as it sounds.

With love as a starting point, it would be hard to harm kids:

By treating your job as a stepping stone regardless of the hurt kids feel when you "reject" them for a better position.
By treating them like a "disorder".
By letting them act like hooligans [after all, your shift is nearly over, and who wants the paperwork?]
By feeding them junk.
By letting the TV keep them out of your hair.
By not working hard at solid treatment goals.
By not stomping out bullying, entitlement mentality, or perpetual victimhood.
By distancing from them because their values aren't like yours.

A proactive form of love intelligently seeks out positive directions to go instead [hopefully, everything you learned in school].


Relentless optimism for finding the strengths in those youth who choose to allow us to be part of their transition to adulthood!!!!

Steve Bewsey

My most important value after 20 years has always been and still is " To Do No Further Harm". I have always given respect to the kids in my care and have found it returned more often than not.


Respect for self, respect for children, youth and families, respect for community partners and other professionals.


In thinking this through, and giving many trainings to Residential Staff, simply said is the value of working on ones own issues so that not only is counter transference is minimalized, but awareness and familiarization of ones own process assists in preventing making mistakes in interfacing and helping today's youth to have an enriched life.

Jeff Raven

Value Number 7,412...or maybe all of em'.


The idea of value in and of itself is the one most important value held by CYWs in the field


Very good question. i believe it is respect. we must have it for the kids we are helping to empower. respect for ourselves and others. hope that helps..


I value effort into self-learning and self-teaching, therefore....

To change others I must first understand they don't need changing. (except infants, they regularly need changing or it is a bad day) By changing myself I will change others. Being a control freak, I like this way of thinking because I can have 100% control over me. Nobody can take away my birthday but me.


Personal and Professional Values. Like Dave Forney, who by the way is a great youth care worker, I practice youth care in a value based program. Safety, Respect, Responsibility/Accountability, Helpfulness and Skill Development are the 5 primary values. We establish rules, consequences and the 20 core virtues (behavioral expectations) on these values. My self on the other hand have the value of Compassion as my highest value. The program values and virtues are filtered through my value system and is given life in my actions.

The program values are that which all staff must accept and promote even if their personal value system may not embrace them. As an adult I do this all the time with other aspects of my life. For example, many in my family have very different values than I do, either based on a religious or political value system. When we are together, which may be only a couple of times a year, I suspend my need to promote my belief and values, even though I strongly hold to them. Instead I respond with compassion and acceptance of difference. There is no arguing, though a strategically place question is always fun. On the other hand, my brother very strongly promotes a set of values and virtues which I care not to embrace. With my approach he often times softens his admit assertions and will consider a different point of view. I do this in other environments as well. Sure I may feel very strongly about an issue but does it do either side any good to vilify one another?

I believe it is very important to at least know what your value system is and how your values inform your work. We do values clarification with the staff every year to help them gain a better understanding of how they can incorporate their values with in the program value structure. An example of this: we have a staff who has Honesty and Truthfulness as one of her core values. She has in the past had conflicts with youth because they we anything but truthful and honest. Once she was able to accept that she had to accept the program value of Respect as primary in working with the kids she established a qualitatively different relationship with them and has come to the point that she is able to be honest with them without expecting they exhibit the same value with her. She is enjoying her work much more.

Well just some thoughts at 5:30 am.


The Value I believe is the most important in our work was taught to my by the youth and the writing of Mark Krueger, Gerry Fewster, and Thom Garfat. That value is "being there, being present and being in the moment". In my mind that value encompasses many of other singular responses you have received....


As I reflect on this question, I find it difficult to pinpoint a particular value over another as I see that success in this field relies heavily on "virtuous" caregiving/serving that models important values. Since "guiding/teaching" and modeling values play a significant part in "treatment" and can bring with it a great deal of satisfaction from those that we see responding well to our efforts, there is a chance of "needy"
reversal of roles.

I think if I am honest with myself, the good feelings, stimulated by that satisfaction, holds the possibility of a certain "neediness" for continuation. By that statement I mean wanting to keep the client "close" or needy because you don't want to give up the feedback and good feelings that you get from their positive response to service.

As I continue to reflect, I come to a conclusion that the most important value that becomes evident to me, is the need to exemplify "caring" enough to bring "empowerment" to the clients in our care. From my perspective, not to be "needy" as a service provider and being able to move clients from needing to not needing our service is the best measurement of success and brings "value" to personal satisfaction.


I think I look at it this way as I have trouble selecting one value so I am going to cheat. the most important value for me is a kind of self reflection, to understand my values and beliefs as well as I can. It seems to help me understand my feelings, thoughts, and actions. I think I like honesty too.


I believe we are able to learn so much from one another, I know, as a student not yet in the Child and Youth Care field, I have been learning a great deal just by reading everyone’s responses. I am now in the process of writing a response paper regarding this on-going conversation. It has provoked my thinking as to what my own values and beliefs are. I believe all the responses once put into a melting pot creates the rainbow. These values encompass, not just work, but life!

I truly liked what Jeff Raven had to say “…value of working on ones own issues so that not only is counter transference is minimized, but awareness and familiarization of ones own process assists in preventing making mistakes in interfacing and helping today's youth to have an enriched life.” I believe life is a process of getting to know my self and that once I look in the mirror with honesty and acknowledge my own masks, I am better able to share the rainbow with those around me! So much of what I am learning in school is giving me the professional terminology about work in the field; yet, one of the most valuable tools for me in the environment has been "to better examine my own values and beliefs".


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