“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk,
then crawl, but whatever you do, keep moving forward.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
Employee of the Month
Hanrahan Youth Services would like to acknowledge Rachel Brons as January’s Employee of the Month.
Rachel started out with Hanrahan Youth Services as a placement student in September of 2011 and then later returned in February of 2016 as a relief staff. She moved into a CYW position at our Geneva children’s residence that April and has proven to be a great asset to the program over the past year. Rachel is well-organized, eager to learn and truly cares for our clients. She has also been extremely helpful to her residential coordinator when it comes to administrative tasks.
Congratulations Rachel! Keep up the good work.
Congratulations are in order for a youth at our Lamay foster residence in Scarborough. He will be receiving the Horatio Alger award which is a $10,000 scholarship. The Horatio Alger Association of Canada provides $650,000 annually in need-based scholarship support for deserving students in all Canadian provinces and territories. Scholarships of up to $10,000 are awarded to full-time students who have demonstrated integrity and perseverance in overcoming adversity, a commitment to pursue a post-secondary education, a desire to contribute to society, and a good academic record. The winners include five recipients of the $10,000 Horatio Alger National Entrepreneurial Scholarships, awarded to students who demonstrate a desire and ability to be entrepreneurial in a chosen field, and 80 Horatio Alger Canadian Scholarships valued at $5,000 each. Hanrahan Youth Services is very proud of his accomplishments and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
Congratulations to Supervisor, Jeff McGregor, and his wife, Michelle, on the arrival of their new little bundle of joy! And so the adventure begins, may Khloe’s presence bring your home much love and laughter.
HYS would also like to send a shout out to Foster Parent, Paul Santori, on his engagement to fiancé, Tracy. Best wishes to you both on your upcoming wedding and for a lifetime of happiness. Congratulations!
February is Black History Month
Every February, Canadians are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present. We celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians who, throughout history, have done so much to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate and prosperous nation it is today. (“Black History Month”)
Black History in Canada
People of African descent have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity since the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, a navigator and interpreter, whose presence in Canada dates back to the early 1600s. The role of Blacks in Canada has not always been viewed as a key feature in Canada’s historic landscape. There is little mention that some of the Loyalists who came here after the American Revolution and settled in the Maritimes were Blacks, or of the many sacrifices made in wartime by Black Canadian soldiers as far back as the War of 1812. Few Canadians are aware of the fact that African people were once enslaved in the territory that is now Canada, or of how those who fought enslavement helped to lay the foundation of Canada’s diverse and inclusive society.
Black History Month is a time to learn more about these Canadian stories and the many other important contributions of Black Canadians to the settlement, growth and development of Canada, and about the diversity of Black communities in Canada and their importance to the history of this country. (“About Black History Month”)
Hanrahan Youth Services encourages all of our staff and foster parents to make arrangements for any of our youth who would be interested in attending some of the many festivities taking place throughout the GTA.
The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto hosts Black History Month celebrations each year. This year’s topic is “Black, Safe and Successful” and it will be held on February 28th from 6:30pm – 9pm at Daniels Spectrum on Dundas Street East in Toronto.
Keynote speaker is Desmond Cole who is a Toronto based journalist and activist. He writes for the Toronto Star and other publications. He recently won the gold for ”the Best New Magazine Writer”, at the National Magazine Awards. He also hosts a radio program on “Newstalk 1010” every Sunday at 4 pm and is working on his first book, which is about the experiences of Black Canadians.
Performances include: Children's Caribbean Dance Theatre | African drumming | Singer: Terence Penny
Catering provided by: The Real Jerk
If anyone wishes to attend, please contact Erin Hurley at our head office for tickets.
Below are a few links which provide details on some other examples of upcoming events:
One Vision One Voice
Nicole Perryman, one of our foster parents, has asked that we pass along information on One Vision One Voice as our agency supports many African descent youth.
ONE VISION ONE VOICE: Changing the Child Welfare System for African Canadians is a project by the African Canadian community, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services through the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, to develop a Practice Framework that will improve outcomes for African Canadian children and families who come into contact with the child welfare system.
The One Vision One Voice practice framework, comprised of Part I, the Research Report, and Part II, the Race Equity Practices can be found at:
Family Day – Monday, February 20
Family Day is holiday that celebrates the importance of families and family life to people and their communities.
This is the perfect opportunity to help make our youth feel that they are more than just “clients” to the agency. We want each and every one of them to feel at home and to know that we care for them. We suggest that our staff and foster parents take this day to spend some quality time with the youth together as a group that is fun and interactive. Go to dinner, go skating, go to a movie together, etc. There are also many venues that will often offer specials for families, like a planned event, excursions or reduced admission prices. Some inns and spas offer weekend getaways at discounted prices as well.
Well, it looks like Wiarton Willie predicted an early spring! Officials declared that he did not see his shadow on Groundhog Day. Lucky us!!
As many of you know, our Budworth children’s residence has been closed since mid-December for home improvements and restructuring. Renovations will be commencing soon and we are hoping to have the program up and running again at maximum efficiency in the very near future.
The agency places a strong emphasis on maintaining each and every one of our homes to a high standard. We can’t reiterate enough how important it is for our youth to feel as much at home as possible, rather than just having been placed at somebody else’s house. We ask that our foster parents and staff ensure that our homes are as “homey” as they can be...warm, relaxed and comfortable. Should you notice any necessary repairs that need to be made or think of any items that would help in achieving this goal, please do not hesitate to put in a request with your resource worker or manager.
Duty to Report
Please remember that we all have a duty to report abuse or suspected abuse of a child. The Child and Family Services Act is clear on the civic responsibilities of ordinary citizens and their duty to report any concerns of abuse and neglect to Children’s Aid Societies, but there is a special responsibility on the part of professionals who work with children. It's important for all of us to increase our awareness about child abuse and neglect, to learn the signs and some of the underlying causes. Too many children lack the nurturing family and community supports essential for them to thrive and succeed. This has resulted in too many families coping with stressors and challenges affecting their ability to provide a safe, secure home for their children. (“Help Stop Abuse & Neglect”)
Please be sure to revisit the Duty to Report section of the Policy and Procedure Manual should you have questions regarding reporting procedures.
Mandatory Foster Parent Meeting
Just a reminder that the foster parent meeting is being held at Central Public School in Brampton on Tuesday, February 7 at 12:00pm. It is imperative that all foster parents attend. Relief and support staff are also invited to join in.
Strength Based Perspective
The Basics of Strength-Based Approach
Working from a strength-based perspective is a collaborative approach, whereby the person being supported by services is an active participant in the process of problem-solving issues they are experiencing. This allows the opportunity for the individual’s voice to be heard, and for the individual to be engaged in the decisions that affect their life. This is a chance to empower the client, but to also foster skills of self-advocacy. There is a significant focus on the quality of the relationship between the individual receiving support, and those that are providing the support. The relationship must be one of trust and transparency, in order for there to be real success.
A strength-based approach focuses on the inherent strengths of individuals, what their skills and abilities are, rather than on their deficits or problems. This also means investigating what resources are available, and how they can be used to accomplish what is needed. Although the goal is to promote the positive, this does not mean denying that issues or problems are affecting the client. Instead, it means combating situations based on the abilities and resources that exist, and utilizing these things in the most effective ways possible. The problems and concerns are not the main focus of intervention – the individual is.
Family and community work models often focus on the problems identified with the individual – thus, the individual is the problem that must be fixed. However, strength-based perspective focuses on the problem often existing because of interactions between people, organizations and structures. Although issues exist, the individual only experiences the issue – the individual is not the issue.
The following are important principles of the strength-based perspective:
1. People are recognized as having potential, unique strengths and abilities, and have the capacity to continue to learn, grow, and change.
2. The focus of intervention is on the strengths and aspirations of the people we work with.
3. The language we use creates our reality – for the care providers, as well as children, youth, and families.
4. Communities and social environments are seen as being full of resources.
5. Service providers collaborate with the people they work with, and the client’s perspective of reality is primary.
6. Interventions are based on self-determination.
7. Change is inevitable.
8. There is a commitment to empowerment.
Problems are seen as the result of interactions between individuals, organizations or structures, rather than deficits within individuals, organizations or structures.
We would like to continue 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.
We have just recently registered a number of our staff and foster parents for workshops on:
- Motivating Change – Strategies for Approaching Resistance
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder – Strategies for Supporting
- Sexual Assault and Abuse Training
- Addictions and Mental Illness – Working with Co-Occurring Disorders
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:
- 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
For a complete list and descriptions of their upcoming workshops, you can visit:
* Be sure to select the Toronto or Mississauga local listings.
Please note that approved training is not limited to CTRI, these are just some examples of ones that we regularly take advantage of. We are always open to anything new that comes up. If you come across something different that you think would be worth exploring for our staff and foster parents, please send the information to the management team.
Our mandatory annual trainings, including UMAB and First Aid & CPR, will continue as per the usual schedules throughout the year. For upcoming sessions, please contact the head office.
As previously noted, Central Region licensing has been scheduled for the following dates:
- Fernbank - February 16 and 17
- Foster care - March 27 – 29
- Geneva - April 20 and 21
Toronto Region licensing will take place early April.
Again, 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.
We cannot wait until spring arrives, especially now that we know it is going to be an early one! 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.
We have continued to notice 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.
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.
Just for fun, try to solve the following brain teasers. The answers will be at the bottom of the newsletter. Good luck!
1. Some months have 31 days, others have 30 days. How many have 28 days?
2. What has roots that nobody sees, is taller than a tree, up, up it goes and yet never grows?
3. A boy is 2 years old, his brother is half as old as him. When the first boy is 100, how old will his brother be?
DID YOU KNOW?...
Adolescents are in the midst of acquiring incredible new skills sets, especially when it comes to social behaviour and abstract thought. But they are not good at using them yet, so they must experiment – and sometimes they use their parents as guinea pigs. Many kids this age view conflict as a type of self-expression and may have trouble focusing on an abstract idea or understanding another’s point of view.
Just as when dealing with the tantrums of toddlerhood, parents need to remember their teen’s behavior is “not a personal affront”. They are dealing with huge amount of social, emotional and cognitive flux and have underdeveloped abilities to cope. They need their parents – those people with the more stable adult brain – to help them stay calm, listening and being good role models. (Nixon & Britt, 2016)
Brain Teaser Answers
1. All months have 28 days
2. A mountain
Government of Canada, “Black History Month” (2017), online: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/black-history-month.html
Government of Canada, Black History Month, “About Black History Month” (2017), online: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/black-history-month/about.html
Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, ‘Help Stop Abuse & Neglect’, online: http://www.torontoccas.org/index.php/en-ccast/page/help-stop-abuse-neglect
Nixon, R., & Britt, RR. (2016). 10 Facts Every Parent Should Know About Their Teen’s Brain. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/13850-10-facts-parent-teen-brain.html