“Spring is a time of new beginnings, new possibilities… What quality would you like to grow this spring?”
– Tara Killen
Employee of the Month
Hanrahan Youth Services would like to recognize Hakeem Badmus as February’s Employee/Foster Parent of the Month.
Hakeem began fostering with Hanrahan Youth Services in October of 2015 and he has demonstrated great patience, and perseverance in working with our ISA clients. He is responsive to requests made by the management team and has proven to be very dependable and willing to help out in any way that he can with the group homes and other foster parents. Hakeem never hesitates to provide planned or last minute support/relief when possible, or to chip in when extra hands are needed for things like moving homes, etc. He is definitely an asset to the Hanrahan team.
Congratulations Hakeem! Keep up the good work.
Hanrahan Youth Services would like to acknowledge that Resource Worker, Gamin Teague, has transitioned into the Program Manager role for our Toronto based children’s residences. We believe that Gamin will provide the staff and residents there with a great level of support and expertise, along with a positive energy. The foster parents and head office staff team will miss seeing him around on a daily basis, but wish him all the best in his new role.
Daylight Saving Time – March 12
“Spring forward, fall back”. Time to enjoy some of that longer evening daylight!! Daylight Saving falls on Sunday, March 12th this year. Be sure to set your clocks and watches forward by one hour.
March Break - March 13 – 17
It is a time that all students look forward to, however, although it is a “break”, if they are going to be remaining at the home we ask staff and foster parents to ensure that our youth are kept busy during their time off. Ask them what they would like to do or where they’d like to go and plan some outings. There are many events and camps going on around the GTA that can be found online along with coupons to different venues.
This is also a good time to replenish stock in terms of school supplies, clothing or any miscellaneous items the residents may need for when they start back to school on the 20th.
An example of a March Break camp that will be taking place in the GTA is one that is hosted by St. Stephen’s Community House. They are now accepting registrations. It is a week long program consisting of leadership and nutritional workshops, a Toronto Amazing Race, and many other extracurricular activities such as field trips. The objective of this camp is to promote positive relationships, resiliency, leadership, and healthy eating choices among the youth. This camp is free of charge and will be held at the Youth Arcade located at 91 Bellevue Avenue in Kensington Market.
We have received the registration application and forms that outline transportation, medical or allergy concerns. Please contact Erin Hurley at the head office if you would like to receive a copy.
All excursions and trips will be staffed by three full-time Arcade staff and will adhere to the City of Toronto staff-to-youth ratio.
If you have additional questions or concerns please feel free to contact Michaela Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-925-2103 ext 2251.
March Break - Visitations
If any of the residents plan on having visitations throughout the week of March Break, it is imperative that they be planned out properly. Obtain permission from their workers, clearly communicate the details with the family and your resource worker/manager, make daily check-ins a priority and for group homes, ensure that visitation logs are being completed.
St. Patrick’s Day – March 17
“May you live as long as you want, and never want and long as you live!”
Celebrate the day by wearing green, enjoying the company of family and friends and feasting!
“Hanrahan” or “O'Hanrahan” is an Irish surname shared by many Irish people and descendants of Irish emigrants. The name is most common in the area of the Shannon Estuary (counties Kerry, Limerick and Clare) in Ireland. Through emigration the name has become fairly common in the USA, the UK and other countries to which the Irish emigrated. Many famous people share this name as well. The name was originally spelled "Ó hAnnracháin" and initially used in the Irish province of Leinster, where local nobles and kings with the name ruled. Variations include Hanradhan and Hanraghan. Many families within Ireland and those of emigrants from Ireland, of the Ó hAnnracháin family, Anglicised their names to "O'Hanrahan" or "Hanrahan". Eochaidh, King of Leinster, an early monarch who fled to Scotland in exile in 540, was the first ruler to bear the surname. The name originates from Anradhán, diminutive of the Old Irish word "ánradh", which translates as "warrior". The family motto is "An Uachtar" which means "The Champion".
Now you know why the agency colour is green! ("Hanrahan")
Spring is Here!
March 20th marks the first day of Spring!
It’s the perfect time to do some spring cleaning both inside the home (including the garage) and out! Get the whole group involved and de-clutter. Having everyone join in will make a big difference in the workload. To motivate them, try turning up some music or establishing a “reward” for when the work is done.
There are some special chores that need to be done seasonally like cleaning patios and windows. We ignore them for most of the fall and winter, but now it is time to do them. Even though these chores only need to be completed once or twice a year, they will help to make the home look better.
Temperatures are slowly creeping upwards which means that the snow has melted. We ask that staff and foster parents take a walk around the properties to see if there is any garbage laying around that needs to be picked up or any items that may require fixing.
If you need to use the HYS pick-up truck to do garbage-runs, please contact Erin Hurley at head office to book it. We strongly advise that this gets done over the next month or two to prepare for the warmer months.
Tragedy in Group Home
There was a devastating tragedy that occurred in a group home in Kawartha Lakes on February 24th that resulted in injury and the death of two individuals. Hanrahan Youth Services would like to express its sincerest condolences to the families, loved ones, and friends of those involved.
With the warmer weather slowing approaching, it is time for our foster parents and group home staff to find ways to motivate our youth to use their summer holidays as constructively as possible. If appropriate, and if outlined in our youths’ plans of care, then employment should be an obvious option. Although the summer may seem a long way off, opportunities for summer employment are already in play. One excellent source of information is the www.ontario.ca/summerjobs website. Another local agency is Job Skills in Brampton which can be accessed at www.jobskills.org. Services available include resume and interview success workshops. Summer job placements begin earlier than you make think, so now is the time to begin researching what’s out there.
Just for fun, try to solve the following brain teasers. The answers will be at the bottom of the newsletter. Good luck!
1. April showers bring mayflowers, but what do mayflowers bring?
2. Can February March?
3. What spring flowers can be found on people’s faces?
4. What is a spring chick after it is five months old?
(“Riddles for Spring”)
DID YOU KNOW?...
Scientists used to think only infants have an overabundance of neuronal connections, which are “pruned” into a more efficient arrangement over the first three years to life.
But brain imaging studies, such as one published in 1999 in Nature Neuroscience, have discovered that a second burst of neuronal sprouting happends right before puberty, peaking at about age 11 for girls and 12 for boys.
The adolescent’s experiences – from reading vampire novels to navigating online social relationships to learning to drive – shape this new grey matter, mostly following a “use it or lose it” strategy. The structural reorganization is thought to continue until the age of 25, and smaller changes continue throughout life. (Nixon & Britt, 2016)
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.
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
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
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
Landfair – March 23
Foster care - March 27 – 29
Geneva - April 20 and 21
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 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 Jeff McGregor.
Brain Teaser Answers
Pilgrims! The Mayflower was the ship that brought the first pilgrim settlers to Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. After a journey of over two months, the settlers finally made it to their destination in the New World in November.
No but April May!
Six months old. (What did you think the answer was?)