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January 2017



“There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental

difference in someone’s life” – Mary Rose McGeady

Letter from the Directors

Another year has come and gone. We would like to start off by saying Happy New Year to all of our staff and foster parents! We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.

You are all an essential part of Hanrahan’s ongoing success, and we would like to personally thank you for your collaborative efforts and hard work.

The high standards that we continue to set and maintain for ourselves will only continue to be of great benefit for the youth in our care. Let’s welcome 2017 with a strong continued commitment and enthusiasm in helping them meet their goals. May you get to experience the joy of making a positive fundamental difference in their lives.


Bob and Brian

Employee of the Month

Hanrahan Youth Services would like to acknowledge Muhilan Kanagaratnam as December’s Employee of the Month.

Muhilan has been employed with Hanrahan Youth Services since 2008. He has played a significant role in the success of many of our youth from the Budworth children’s residence over the years. Muhilan had a short break from the agency in 2016, but since his return he has worked very hard and diligently to stabilize the Landfair setting and to implement structure, programming, and consistency over all.

Congratulations Muhilan!


Hanrahan Youth Services would like to extend a warm welcome to Vanessa Leblond. Vanessa has taken on the role of the agency’s newest resource worker. She brings with her seven years of solid residential experience and we strongly believe that she will be an asset to the Hanrahan team. Please welcome Vanessa as she begins the process of getting to know the staff and foster parents who she will be working with moving forward.

We would also like to recognize Jerome Silent as our newest foster parent. Jerome has just completed his first 30 days overseeing an ISA program at our Braidwood Lake residence and has done well thus far. Keep up the good work Jerome!


We bid farewell to foster parents, Carlos and Tynesha Richards, who have made a valuable contribution to the lives of the three brothers who they have fostered over the past two years. We have no doubt that the boys will forever be thankful for their dedication. Carlos and Tynesha have made the decision to take a break as they await their new little bundle of joy. Hanrahan Youth Services wishes them all the best as they embark on their newest adventure!

Leanne Jesso, maternity leave replacement for Erin Hurley, has also moved on as Erin resumed her role in November. Leanne continues to work part-time for Hanrahan Youth Services on weekends in an administrative capacity. We would like to thank Leanne for her hard work and commitment to the role and extend our appreciation to her for holding down the fort while Erin was away. We will miss seeing her on a daily basis, but wish her all the best in her new full-time position.


Hanrahan Youth Services would like to acknowledge two youth residing in our foster care system who promptly responded to an emergency situation involving their foster parent. The foster parent had fallen very ill with a severe case of the flu and when they found him, he appeared to be unresponsive. They contacted another foster parent and then 911 to be safe. The foster parent has since recovered and is doing well.

January is Get Organized Month!

When was the last time that you spent an hour looking for something in the closet and had to dig through the mess only to have to put it all back? Some of us even have bedrooms where the floor itself is an obstacle course to navigate around or have cars that are in disarray with a collection of take-out containers and coffee cups haphazardly thrown in the back. We suggest that you take the month of January to consider what you should focus on. This is a good time to teach your youth why it’s important not to keep their room a mess and then help them clean it up. There are also various tools (baskets, bins, label makers, etc.) that you can invest in to help you all stay organized.

January 14, specifically, is ORGANIZE YOUR HOME DAY. Get everyone to chip in and do just that! You’ll be ready to receive company at a moment’s notice and it could be beneficial all year long as being organized can balance your life. It can reduce stress and makes you more productive. Plus, cleaning can help burn calories!

Plan of Attack:

  • Get your cleaning supplies out and get scrubbing and organizing.

  • Get everyone in the home to help, give each person a task and award them for finishing it.

  • Make an organization itinerary. Attack a different room or area each week.

  • Declutter by donating things you don't use anymore.

Ministry Licensing:

Central Region licensing has been scheduled!

  • Fernbank - February 16 and 17

  • Foster care - March 27 – 29

  • Geneva - April 20 and 21

Toronto Region licensing will take place early April.

Please be sure to submit any outstanding documents or reports that are due for your client or personnel files. These are to be submitted based on the due dates that you are personally responsible for knowing. Should you have any questions in regards to these dates, please contact your resource worker or program coordinator as soon as possible.

Interagency Assessment

Over the past month, Durham Children’s Aid Society has been in the process of completing the annual interagency assessment. This assessment, once completed, will be documented and forwarded on to all referring agencies. A number of our foster homes and children’s residences have already been visited. The second portion is set to commence on January 27.

Please keep in mind that the impressions made during these assessments are crucial as many of the referring agencies will reflect on the completed report prior to referring to their youth to our homes.

Strength Based Perspective

The Problem is the Problem – Not the Youth

Using the strengths approach in daily practice

Sometimes it can be challenging to work with a particular child or group of children, with some families, or even certain colleagues. When this happens, it is easy to become focused on what is ‘wrong’ with the other person and their ‘failures’. This makes it difficult to recognize and appreciate that the other person also has strengths and abilities.

A strengths approach offers a new perspective, a different way to look at challenging situations, that says:

  • the problem is the problem; the person is not the problem;

  • people have good intentions; and

  • they are doing the best they can.

This does not mean that the concerns are ignored. It means that the focus is shifted from what is ‘wrong’ and what is ‘not working’ to what ‘has potential’ and what ‘is working’. From this perspective, it is possible to think about solutions to a problem that build upon what is already working well. (McFarlane, 2008)


We would like to remind our staff and foster parents of the importance of ongoing training which can be used to assist you when dealing with the youth in our care. Hanrahan Youth Services is always willing to consider funding the many different sessions/webinars offered throughout the GTA and online that would be considered useful in working with our clients. We actually encourage all of you to make it a priority and take advantage of this opportunity to expand your professional development.

Should you be interested in doing so, please contact your resource worker or program coordinator with the details of the specific session you are looking to attend.

Many of our staff and foster parents have attended different workshops offered through the Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute (CTRI) in the past. They provide a wide range of training opportunities and included in their upcoming events are:

  • Motivating Change – Strategies for Approaching Resistance

  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder – Strategies for Supporting

  • Working in Social Services – The Essential Skills

  • Violence Threat Assessment – Planning and Response

  • Self-Injury Behaviour in Youth – Issues & Strategies

  • Crisis Response Planning

  • De-escalating Potentially Violent Situations

  • Anxiety – Practical Intervention Strategies

  • Challenging Behaviours in Youth – Strategies for Intervention

  • Addictions and Mental Illness – Working with Co-Occurring Disorders

For a complete list and descriptions of their upcoming workshops, you can visit:

* Be sure to select the Toronto or Mississauga local listings.

Our mandatory annual trainings, including UMAB and First Aid & CPR, will continue as per the usual schedules throughout the year.

Winter Maintenance

Now that the holidays are over, we cannot wait until spring arrives! However, until then, we have to continue our efforts in keeping ourselves well prepared for whatever Mother Nature brings our way.

Please be sure to take the extra precautions necessary in the event that we get hit again with a severe storm. It would be a good time to prepare by ensuring that you have on hand some extra non-perishable groceries, appropriate winter clothing for yourself and your youth, bags of salt, shovels, etc. We also advise that you get into the habit of watching the news regularly for any updates regarding weather and school closures.

All foster parents and staff are expected to keep the properties properly cleared of snow/ice and salted in slippery areas (steps, walkways, driveways, etc.) on a regular basis. This is imperative in order to avoid injuries.

Hydro Bills

We have noticed some excessive increases in hydro charges within some of the homes. We ask that you keep the heat at a reasonable setting, remind your youth to keep windows and doors closed as the heat is on, continue to ensure that lights are turned off in rooms once they are exited, etc. We appreciate your cooperation is this matter.

Foster Parent Time-Off and Scheduling Relief

We understand how hard it can be to work around the clock. We also know how important it is to take time off whether it be for running errands, taking a break, visiting family and friends, or just taking care of business...we get it!

Hanrahan has a growing list of relief staff to utilize for the time you need, however, there is a process that needs to be followed in order to do so. It is essential that you communicate your request with your resource worker by submitting a TIME OFF REQUEST FORM. He or she will get this time approved, and then provide you with the relief staff list or book the relief for you. It is imperative that you keep them well informed of the time you take off, as well as ensure that your relief staff are documenting their hours and signing signature sheets when necessary.

Please note that any changes in dates or time need to first be approved by your resource worker.

Rec Night!

Don’t forget about REC NIGHT which takes place every Wednesday at 8:00pm at Century Gardens in Brampton. This is a great opportunity to get out of the house and get your kids to be active and mingling with the Hanrahan family. It is open to all foster parents and staff. Take your youth to play some basketball, volleyball, or whatever indoor sport has been organized for that evening. Don’t miss out!

Should you have any questions regarding rec night, please don’t hesitate to contact Gamin Teague.

Brain Teaser

Just for fun, try to solve the following word puzzles. The answers will be at the bottom of the newsletter. Good luck!

· coORDERurt


· N N N N N N N



· Go it it it it

· Hahandnd

· working



It is a myth that teens need less sleep than young children. They need 9 to 10 hours a night, scientists say, although most fall short.

Research in 2015 found teens get substantially less sleep now compared with two decades ago.

“Part of the problem is a shift in circadian rhythms during adolescence: It makes sense to teen bodies to get up later and stay up later.” But due to early bussing and class schedules, many teens rack up sleep debt and "become increasingly cognitively impaired across the week.” Sleep-deprivation only exacerbates moodiness and cloudy decision-making. And sleep is thought to aid the critical reorganization of the teen brain.

"There is a disconnect between teen bodies and our schedules.” Making matters worse, screen time in general and social media use in particular are cutting into teen sleep hours, putting them at greater risk for anxiety and depression. (Nixon & Britt, 2016)

Brain Teaser Answers

· coORDERurt (Order in the court)

· SGEG (Scrambled eggs)

N N N N N N N (7-Up cans)



· Go it it it it (Go for it)

· hahandnd (hand in hand)

· working (working over-time)


Nixon, R., & Britt, RR. (2016). 10 Facts Every Parent Should Know About Their Teen’s Brain. Retrieved from

McFarlane, J. (2008). Extract from Putting Children First, the Newsletter of the NCAC, Issue 25, March 2008

(Pages 8-11)

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