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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


I was talking with someone the other day about the contribution of women to the field of Child and Youth Care. And as we were identifying those women who we would either consider as pioneers, or as people making (or having made) significant contributions, I thought that it would be interesting to create a list of women who have contributed significantly to our field.

So, here is my question to our group ...

Who would you identify as women who have made significant contributions to Child and Youth Care Practice, and what, in your mind, is their contribution?

I think this could be a useful exercise for our field.

Thom Garfat

Definitely Lorraine Fox, I had the wonderful opportunity to experience her teaching at our Provincial Conference this year and learned so much from her.

Sam O'Keefe

For anyone new to Lorraine Fox, some articles on the CYC-NET web. – Eds /cycol-0205-fox.html /cycol-0801-fox.html /cycol-0503-fox.html /cycol-1002-fox.html

When I read Thom's email, one name sprang immediately to my mind – Barbara Kahan. She made an immense contribution to child welfare, and the development of residential child care, in the UK and abroad. Here is a link to a page which commemorates her life:


Andrew Kendrick
Professor of Residential Child Care
Glasgow School of Social Work
Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow

Also ... /cycol-1201-kahan.html

This is an interesting question. As a woman in the field I have often thought about who my role models are. As a Child and Youth Care educator who am I exposing my learners to? As a woman are there models for me to follow as an academic? Immediately I think of Martha Mattingly, Karen VanderVen, Carol Stewart, Francis Ricks and Leanne Rose-Sladde: all female leaders in the academic arena (at least in my history).

As I support learners to prepare for Child and Youth Care Practical experiences who are the practice based leaders?

Thanks for asking, Thom.

Kelly Shaw
Child and Youth Care Faculty

What about Jeanette Hay Connelly?

Sterling Murray

Hi Thom

Great question. When I read this I immediately thought of the women I had worked with when doing youth care...women who were working the front line.

When I think of women that have inspired me I think of Donna Banks Jones. She is a woman of great integrity and someone who is there for youth she works with.

Donna is someone who is real, trustworthy and simply cares for the children/youth and families she works with. Donna Banks Jones is one of the best youth care workers I have ever had the opportunity to work with. She brings an honesty and a realness that is all her own. Donna is continuous with being "in the moment" with the youth she works with ... she is present. With Donna there is no pretentiousness about her, just a real love for what she does and that shows on the floor. Anyone who has had a chance to work with Donna here in Canada or in Ireland is lucky and will have surely learned from her.

Let us hear about the great women who work the front line everyday.


Tina Fuller

What inspiring affirmations.. It is especially poignant that women working in the field today can be identified.

Theresa and Kevin Fraser

One of the women pioneers in the UK whom I should like to see recorded in this list of women pioneers we are compiling for Thom is Mia Kellmer Pringle who was a great writer, researcher and practitioner in our field. Her book The Needs of Children was one of the few "must read" texts for child care workers in the 70s and 80s, followed by A Fairer Future for Children (with the NCB). But in the 1960s she had contributed extremely useful writing (often in association with Rosemary Dinnage and others) in books and journals on development, deprivation, education, residential child care.

And (gasp!) how incomplete is our list! We haven't mentioned Gisela Konopka!

See /cycol-0904-konopka.html

And also: /cycol-0402-konopka.html ... and /cycol-0502-konopka.html

and while you're there, on the subject of pioneers in our field: /cycol-0499-pioneers.html



For obvious reasons, I would include Dr. Maria Montessori. She was the first to insist upon child-sized furniture, among other things.
Go here HERE for more information about this amazing woman.

Cynthia Dyer

What a wonderful and thought-provoking topic!

There are so many women in this field that deserve recognition through their contributions as front line workers, educators and leadersin the field who are well known byso many. I would like to give kudos to an "unsung hero"who brings so much to the profession inourareathat can be found in South WesternOntario.

Michelle Duffield is recognized in ourcommunity as, not only adynamic front line worker of high integrity,but alsoas a person of qualitywho putsheart and soul beyond expectationsinto everything she does inall ofherworking environments. Michelle's love for the CYW/CYC professiongoes beyond the bounds of front line workerand into the arena of leadership where her dedication to detail and profound effort to bring out the best in allunder her tutelage and mentorship is insurpassable.

Michelle's burning desire to bring a clearer understanding of the role of CYW/CYC's to this community is commendable and appreciated by all who have come to rely soheavily onher abilities to multitask.I am sure that her name will one day be known by many others as her dedication to working in "excellence" no matter the arena,becomes more and more recognized. I feel it aprivilege to be among those who can utilize hermanyskills and abilitiesas a member of staff, and as anexceptionalcolleague. CYW/CYC's like Michelle are among many "unsung heroes" in our field, but worthy of mention whenever possible.

Thank you for the opportunity to sing her praises.

Carolynn McCully
S.E.E.K. Services

I am currently doing an internship with Sue McIntosh, an Equine Facilitated Therapist, whose practice is called Healing Hooves. She runs her practice from her home just North of Cremona, Alberta. I would consider Sue to be a pioneer in the field of Equine Facilitated Counelling
(EFC) as well as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).

Sue offers workshops that include the history of EFC and AAT, research studies that measure the effects of EFC and AAT, safety and risk management as well as specific techniques and experiential learning. The experiential exercises explore self awareness, trust, self care, boundaries, empowerment, relaxation as well as fear and anxiety. These exerices are powerful tools in assisting children and youth as well as their families.

Sue's clients include victims of sexual abuse, those who have witnessed sexaul abuse, clients who are non responsive to regular "talk" therapy and those who suffer from anxiety or depression.

Sue McIntosh is a Certified Canadian Counsellor with a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology and has additional training and experience in AAT and Therapeutic Riding. Her use of horses in her counselling practice provide the three conditions of Person Centered Counselling, genuineness, positive regard and empathy due to the fact that this is part of their innate nature.

In my experiences this past summer, while working with Sue and her horses, I was constantly amazed at how quickly children understood how their behaviour affected their relationships with others. They quickly transfered their experiences with their equine friends to all of their relationships. For example, an 8-year-old who was constantly in everyone's face and was not aware of her boundaries tried yelling at her donkey to move, in the same manner that she used with her peers, after several attempts the animal responded by braying (yelling) right in her face. I was quickly able to transfer the feelings she was experiencing directly to how others might feel when she was yelling at them.

Children learn the value of having boundaries very quickly when they have 1,200 pounds of horse flesh in their space. This can be rather intimindating and creates a perfect opportunity to teach children how to establish boundaries and empower themselves by asking their horses to back up. Adolescent girls who can handle a horse assertively gain the necessary confidence to thwart potential abusers.

This is a developing field in the mental health profession and Sue McIntosh, along with with equine partners, are truly Canadian pioneers.

Sue Miller
Calgary, Alberta

Recently I was at the International Conference in Montreal and was, as always, struck by the number of women present and offering leadership in presentations. And it reminded me that this discussion on cyc-net on pioneering and contributing women had slowed, so I wanted to re-introduce it.

I think of, for example, Eva Burmeister who was the Director of the Milwaukee Children’s home and who wrote Roofs for the family building a centre for the care of children (1950),The Professional Houseparent (1960), Tough Times and Tender Moments (1965), and Forty-five in the Family (1970).

Or I think of Edna Guttman, who wrote what I think is a stunning chapter in Knowledge Utilization in Residential Care and Youth Care Practice and co-authored the Psychologically Battered Child (1986).

And Penny Parry who was the Director of the School of Child and Youth Care in Victoria in its early days and a strong supporter of the BC Child and Youth Care Association in its early days and was the Chair of the first International Child and Youth Care Conference.

And Frances Ricks who led that school (when it was only a ‘program’) to the place where it could become formalized and has made enormous contributions to the literature on self and experience in North America, among other things.

And Gisela Konopka who wrote Adolescent Girls in Conflict (1966) and Young Girls: A portrait of Adolescence (1996). And there are others who might be more familiar – but it is not my place to go on and on here (as I have a tendency to do)


Hello all

Women in the field

I am not sure if Martha Mattingly has been identified. Her work in with the North American code of ethics and the competency document both significant pieces. She also has a great story about how she was involved in the beginning of Child and Youth Care practice in the states, she told this story at the Victoria international conference. I would also say Carol Stuart who has been working hard on the Canadian certification piece among other things.

Thom this subject of people in current history is important to the field. This type of thinking always brings back to me the need for a book or some way to document key people's experiences on their practice. I think however that their story should go beyond the technical aspects and capture the meaning that drives them as leaders. This is also true of people like you, that work to create the future that we inherit, of which we sometimes complain. I have just finished applying for my North American Certification and I am so thankful to all the people that have worked so hard to give me that opportunity. Thanks for the question and for attempting to capture part of the journey and noting those significant to its direction – important work.

Mark Littlefield

I back Shannon Coutts' piece up 100%. As a student of Dr. Marlene Kingsmith, I am constantly infected by her contagious passion and drive towards this profession. She is who I look up to in this field, who I admire and respect for the life she breathes into us students and who reminds me every day the importance of the most basic thing that we have with a child or youth – relationship. Marlene you are my hero and who I want to be like one day.

Charlene Parks

My wife and I (we both worked at the U. of Michigan Fresh Air Camp with Dave Wineman, Nick Long and Fritz Redl) would like to write about Mary Lee Nicholson (Nicki) who I hope we can find some way to honor. Her contribution to the field of child care was not in her scholarship but in her devotion to kids who were hurting and who were hurting others:

I'm glad you reminded us of the distinctive contribution women have made to our field. One of the most effective and humane workers with children (troubled and otherwise) was Professor Mary Lee Nicholson, Professor of social work at Wayne State University , Detroit, Michigan.
Nicki – as she was known to us who worked with her at the University of Michigan Fresh Air Camp – was wonderful to work with and watch as she used music (she had a lovely voice) and other activities to calm down a chaotic situation in the dining hall or cool down an a tense interaction between a counsellor and an angry boy with a bat in his hand.

She was not only gifted in 'hot' situations – she was wonderful to watch just walking with the boys down to the waterfront, engaging them in 'talk' and encouraging them to try to kick their feet to swim better or to dive head first instead of feet first to increase their skill and sense of accomplishment. I remember how she helped me organize a wooden car building and racing three-day event at camp which stopped all the fights, the food throwing and I might add, the life space interview sessions.

Hy Resnick ...

Hy, the thing I remember the most clearly was Nicki's empathy and understanding of the mind of these kids. She arrived on a scene and looked at the kids involved, at the situation, and seemed to know what they were planning... She would say I don't want you to do such and such, instead I want you to do this. They would look at each other, wondering how she knew what was in their heads ... in fact they were a bit spooked by this ability and expressed this awe in obscenities.I also recall their affection for her because even though she was intuitive enough to head them off at the pass, she was also very real and kind to them. I too recall the lovely voice she had and how she used music to reach kids.


I've been following this discussion, and enjoying it a lot. I've known a couple of women who've impacted my career, but not sure that that should be considered a major contribution to the field, and my guess is that they'd only be known locally. There are 2 other names that came to mind we reminescing on my training and earlier days in the field. I only ever met them throught the printed word, but Virginia Axline's work on play therapy, and inparticular her book, Dibbs; In Search of Self, was a great read and I beleive inspirational in terms of the challenges and rewards of working with kids. The second woman that came to mind, was another Virginia; Virginia Satir. Her work and writing in the area of Family Therapy were also inspirational, Especially the book Peoplemaking. The takeaway from it, for me, was the significant role of family in the development of the individual, and the collective.

Thanks for the Question Thom!
Michael Wattie, CYC, cert.

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