“I am enough of a realist to understand that I can't reach every child, but I am more of an optimist to get up every morning and try.”
- Preston Morgan
Employee of the Month
Hanrahan Youth Services would like to recognize Sage Yogendrarajah as April’s Employee/Foster Parent of the Month.
Sage started out with HYS as a Child and Youth Worker in our Landfair and Budworth residences way back in April of 2007. He then entered the role of foster parent at our Lamay Crescent program in March of 2012. Since then, Sage has worked with numerous young men who, for the most part, were transitioning out of our Scarborough children’s residences to foster care.
Sage’s resource worker has acknowledged his efforts in staying on top of the necessary components of his program. His level of commitment and willingness to go above and beyond to support the residents has proven to be effective in maintaining a collaborative environment within the home. This is made evident through the way that the youth comply with program expectations and in the level of respect they show towards Sage. We have also recently received a number of glowing reports from his residents’ workers. They wanted to recognize the huge part that he has played in the successes of his youth.
Congratulations Sage! Keep up the good work.
HYS would like to extend a hearty CONGRATULATIONS to foster parent, Nathan Thompson, and his new bride, Danielle, on their April wedding!
We wish you both all the best as you settle in as husband and wife, and we welcome Danielle to the Hanrahan family.
2017 International Child and Youth Care Workers’ Week - May 1 - 7
Each year, this week recognizes the unique work, contributions and dedication of those in the child and youth care field. HYS encourages our staff and foster parents to celebrate each other and share information about the profession with other professionals in your communities.
We want to thank each and every one of you for all of your hard work and efforts. The social services field most certainly comes with its challenges. Few people go into it for its glory as the rewards are often subtle. Although we strive to make a positive change in the life of every youth who comes our way and we would love to see them all thrive and achieve their goals, the reality is that it doesn’t happen in every case for various reasons that are beyond our control. This is why you need to take the time to relish in that sense of accomplishment when your youth do achieve good outcomes or reach goals that you assisted them in reaching, no matter how insignificant some of those items may seem. The skills you have learned and developed, your patience, the effort you put forth, the way you listen and advise, and the overall way you care for your residents, is all for those moments. Be sure to celebrate them!
Children and Youth in Care Day – May 14
Children and Youth in Care Day in Ontario is an annual day that recognizes the strength, bravery and resilience shown by young people who have faced adversity throughout their lives.
The declaration of this important day is one of a number of actions that have taken place within the Province designed to support these young people in reaching their full potential. Many youth, both currently and formerly in care, have become ambassadors for youth advocacy within the child welfare system. As active citizens, they have influenced policy and legislation, and played a key role in improving post-secondary options and financial supports.
This day is a reminder of our responsibility to the well-being of children and youth in care but also as a way to showcase their many accomplishments and successes.
Hanrahan Youth Services asks that our staff and foster parents celebrate this day with your youth by going out to dinner or planning a special outing. It is important to take time to recognize their strengths and the progress we’ve seen, as well as the hardships they’ve faced.
(“Celebrating Children and Youth in Care Day”)
Expectations of Lawn Maintenance
With May comes even warmer temperatures and signs of life returning to flower beds, trees and grass. With the days getting longer, summer is just around the corner so let’s get to work on sprucing up the outside areas of the home!
Lawn maintenance, weeding, and planting flowers are imperative and an expectation of all foster parents and staff. Each year we receive complaints from neighbours about the condition of certain properties. There is no need for this, and as such, it will not be tolerated.
This is also a great life skill for our youth. Make it fun, or worth their while to help out by making it a paid chore. It is also a good way to instil a sense of pride in the aesthetics and condition of their home.
Should you have any questions on ‘how to’s’ or funding for your outdoor projects, please contact your manager or resource worker.
Victoria Day Long Weekend – May 19 – 22
Victoria Day long weekend is the perfect time to enjoy what nature has to offer by participating in some outdoor activities to kick start the summer season!
Weather permitting, have your youth join you on a bike ride or for a hike along the many local trails/conservation areas, dust off your rollerblades and head to the boardwalk, go camping, get them out to shoot some hoops, have a game of catch or kick a soccer ball around, have a barbecue, go for an ice cream, or even enjoy some of the fireworks that will be taking place to celebrate the holiday.
Just a reminder that if any of the residents plan on having visitations over the long weekend, they need to 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.
Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass
Parks Canada is inviting Canadians to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary at its national treasures from coast to coast to coast.
To mark this special year, they are offering free admission to all Parks Canada locations. With the 2017 Discovery Pass, you will have unlimited opportunities to enjoy national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites across the country that are managed by Parks Canada.
To obtain your free pass, visit a participating CIBC branch or go to:
Tick and Lyme Disease Awareness
Warmer weather means that, in many parts of the country, ticks are waking up hungry and looking for a host to feed on. Over the past few years, cases of Lyme Disease have been increasing at an alarming rate.
We encourage our staff/foster parents and youth to take advantage of all that nature has to offer this season, but we also ask that you take the time to visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/lyme-disease for information before the summer begins.
The website highlights:
1. Areas of risk in Ontario
2. Ways to avoid tick bites, such as:
covering using insect repellent
washing and drying thoroughly
checking your pet
3. The Do’s and Don’ts of removing a tick
4. Symptoms of Lyme Disease and what to watch for
May brings the opening of WONDERLAND for another season!
As in previous years, HYS will be providing each youth with a day pass and staff/foster parents can attend to supervise under our revolving staff passes.
Things to remember:
The youth are NOT to attend unsupervised. It is in our contract that they be accompanied.
Should any youth wish to attend the park more than once, they can take their ticket to one of the ticket windows at the front gate and upgrade it to a Season Pass by paying the difference.
We only have so many staff passes. Once they are booked up for a particular day, staff/foster parents will need to choose another day for their outing.
Staff/foster parents must attend Guest Services with photo ID and be on the staff list in order to use a staff pass.
To get tickets for your youth and schedule yourself in for the staff pass on a particular date, please contact Erin Hurley at our head office.
Foster Parent Meetings
Regular mandatory foster parent meetings will continue as we hope to embrace growth and learning across the agency. Meetings will be held quarterly to review different policies and procedures along with other topics that arise and may be relevant at that time. From time to time, we will also invite guest speakers to attend.
The meetings will provide our foster parents with an opportunity to meet with others, exchange ideas, gain support and build useful networks. We encourage you to keep an open mind and participate in these meetings.
If you have youth who are not attending school during the scheduled meeting times, we ask that you make appropriate arrangements for them.
Should you have an idea for a guest speaker or any topics that you would like to have addressed during a meeting, please don’t hesitate to speak to your resource worker.
The next meeting is scheduled for May 8th at Central Public School in Brampton.
Prom / End of the Year Dances
With the year end fast approaching, prom and end of year dances may be on the priority list of your residents. It is important that you support them in all ways necessary to ensure that this is a positive experience for them.
Find out well enough in advance exactly what they are going to need so that you have time to shop around and make the purchases that are required. If they need to purchase tickets, order corsages/boutonnieres, etc., it is best to do it ahead of time. Talk to your manager/resource worker about funding for such items.
Also, please be sure to make arrangements for your youth to be transported to and from their events safely.
Please note that summer school registration in Toronto begins on May 1st. Peel has not yet specified their date. This is the time to start talking to your youth about what courses they may want to take if necessary.
Use of Bikes
Children will be out on their bicycles and looking to take them to school. Please remind your youth that cyclists are governed by the same rules as drivers, and review safe cycling procedures at home. Be certain that the bicycle is “road worthy” and that they are able to ride it in a safe manner. They should the serial number of their bicycles and make sure they LOCK them in the racks at school to prevent loss. Don’t forget that helmets are a must!
Academic/School Reward Program
Hanrahan Youth Services is pleased to announce the implementation of its School Reward Program!
We are always looking for ways to keep our youth motivated to attend school and to succeed to their fullest potential. As an incentive, we have decided to award those youth in our care who make a real effort to attend their classes and to try their best at achieving their academic goals.
Please be sure to tell all of your youth about this opportunity and should you know of a youth who deserves to be awarded, don’t hesitate to notify your resource worker/manager.
Summertime Plans - Youth Employment/Camps
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. 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. Tropicana Community Services also provide advice and guidance to youth seeking summer employment. The main office is located in Scarborough, but they do have a variety of job opportunities within the GTA and Peel region. Their website is http://tropicanacommunity.org/ .
YouthRap is a resource that would be worth checking out. Services available include resume and interview success workshops. Summer job placements begin earlier than you may think, so now is the time to begin researching what’s out there. Information on YouthRap is mentioned below.
Summer camps are also an option. Should this be what your youth plan on doing, please start looking into what camps they would be interested in attending. Some registration processes have already begun and spots can quickly become unavailable. Once they have decided on one, please speak to your resource worker/manager about registration/funding.
YouthRAP (Reach Achieve Progress) is an interactive website intended to provide youth in care, and former youth in care who are living independently, with an easily accessible, comprehensive source of information and resourceful services.
YouthRAP provides youth with access to useful information such as:
Tips for independent living
Jobs, job postings, and tips on getting a job
Housing, and important information about housing and rights
Health care, and issues that youth face
Education and transitions from care
HYS asks that you please take the time with your youth to visit and explore www.youthRap.ca.
Kids Up Front and Rec Night
Foster parents and staff have probably seen numerous emails sent from the head office regarding tickets being offered through an organization called Kids Up Front. The Kids Up Front Foundation is a charitable organization that provides access to arts, culture, sport and recreation for children and youth who don’t normally get the opportunity to experience them. They receive donations of tickets to various events and offer them to agencies such as HYS. We have been very fortunate to have come in contact with this wonderful organization and have received a substantial amount of tickets from them for our youth over the past few years. Through these generous donations, we regularly send our youth to see sports games (Leafs/Raptors/Marlies/Toronto Rock, etc.), concerts, plays, the ROM, etc. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to take advantage of some of these opportunities for your youth. We always hear wonderful feedback from the youth and staff/foster parents who attend. Please keep in mind that when you commit to tickets, it is imperative that you use them. If there is an emergency situation that prevents you from attending the event, you need to contact the head office ASAP so that we are able to make alternate arrangements for the tickets. As the tickets are donated, it is important to Kids Up Front that the tickets get used. Should it become a reoccurring issue where you request tickets and don’t use them, you may lose the privilege of receiving tickets.
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.
Just for fun, try to solve the following brain teasers. The answers will be at the bottom of the newsletter. Good luck!
1. You can see me in water, but I never get wet. What am I?
2. What is easy to get into, but hard to get out of?
3. What is big and yellow and comes along in the morning to brighten a
4. What is harder to catch the faster you run?
(“Riddles and Answers to Bend Your Brain”)
DID YOU KNOW?...
Parents are still important
A survery of teenagers revealed that 84 percent think highly of their mothers and 89 percent think highly of their fathers. More than three-quaters of teenagers enjoy spending time with their parents; 79 percent enjoy hanging out with Mom and 76 percent like chilling with Dad.
One of the tasks of adolescence is separating from the family and establishing some autonomy, but that does not mean a teen no longer needs parents – even if they say otherwise. They still need some structure and are looking to their parents to provide that structure. The parent that decides to treat a 16 or 17 year old as an adult is behaving unfairly ad setting them up for failure.
One of the most influential ways to parent a teen, in addition to being a good listener, is to be a good role model, especially when dealing with stress and other life difficulties, as teens are actively trying to figure out their own coping strategies.
(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 are well underway 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:
People are recognized as having potential, unique strengths and abilities, and have the capacity to continue to learn, grow, and change.
The focus of intervention is on the strengths and aspirations of the people we work with.
The language we use creates our reality – for the care providers, as well as children, youth, and families.
Communities and social environments are seen as being full of resources.
Service providers collaborate with the people they work with, and the client’s perspective of reality is primary.
Interventions are based on self-determination.
Change is inevitable.
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.
Professional Development - Training
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.
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.
Brain Teaser Answers
Please note that any changes in dates or time need to first be approved by your resource worker.
1. A reflection
3. A school bus
4. Your breath
The Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa Site, ‘Celebrating Children and Youth in Care Day’, online:
Doriddles Site, ‘Riddles and Answers to Bend Your Brain’, online:
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
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