April 2019 Newsletter
“If we are to reach real peace in this world… we shall have to begin with children.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
Employee of the Month
Hanrahan Youth Services would like to recognize Kodi-An as Foster Parent of the month for March.
Kodi-An joined the HYS family in the fall of 2018, bringing with her experience as a foster parent from Cornerstone Group Homes Inc. and a Child and Youth Work Diploma from Humber College. She moved into our 43 Malcolm residence and quickly turned the house into a home! Along with her partner and son she was ready to take on the challenge of one of our more difficult youth with complex needs. She always seems to find a way to overcome obstacles or is willing to try a new approach to solve a problem. Kodi-An is very organized, keeping track of the endless appointments the youth in her care has and submitting all reports in a timely fashion. She has gone out of her way to make sure every peice of documentation is done correctly and goes above and beyond. Kodi-An always carries herself in a professional and friendly manner.
Congratulations to Kodi-An from everyone at HYS!
TRAINING APRIL 25TH
It will be at Central Public School in Brampton from 9:00am – 4:30pm. It is imperative that you are not late, and it is mandatory agency wide, except for those who are actually scheduled to be working.
Please ensure that every youths birthday is acknowledged, including birthday cake, dinner with foster family or group home, gift/gift card.
Please make sure that all homes are to be clean, licensable and up to standards on a daily basis. Note that ALL property standards are the responsibility of the foster parents- the yard and the home are both important.
HYS would like to involve you in ‘Webinar Wednesday’s’ Paul will be sending out a Webinar each week for staff and Foster Parents to take part in. A $25.00 gift card will be given out weekly as incentive for the most detailed feedback/observations/commentary to the Webinar series.
Please Remind your youth Marijuana Legalization use is 19.
Marijuana is still not permitted on premises! Please stress this to the youth.
Go over the safety importance with not getting into vehicles with people they know who are under the influence.
Go over with them the safety and no vehicle driving if they are under the influence. Don’t forget to double check that the youth are not bringing this into the homes.
New Canada Food Guide:
Please take a look at the new Canada food guide and ensure that each home is up to standards and each meal is following the guide. Print outs are available at head office.
Please make sure to remember the Ministry Terminology Changes:
Crown Ward -> Extended Society Care
Society Ward -> Interim Society Care
Apprehension -> Brought into a Place of Safety
Indian & Native Children -> First Nation, Inuit and Metis Children and Youth
Extended family -> Expanded Definition
Dealing with Matters -> Dealing with children
He /She -> They / Person / Child/ Youth
Runaway/ Abandoned -> No Longer Used
Easter Long Weekend Visitations
Just a reminder that if any of the residents plan on having visitations over the Easter 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.
For the residents who will be staying back for the long weekend, please ensure that they have a nice dinner with the other residents and the foster parent/staff at some point to celebrate the holiday. Plan some activities/outings with them and be sure to purchase some chocolate/Easter treats to give to them on Sunday.
April Special Days
April is Garden Month
Spring is coming on strong, and by the calendar is technically already here. If you haven’t already begun looking at planting this year’s garden it’s time to get a move on. The changing weather promises good growing seasons to come, and Garden Month encourages you to get out and start preparing your ground! If you can’t find the motivation, then let the smell and taste of freshly grown tomatoes tempt you, or the sweet taste you can’t get from anything from home grown cucumbers, and strawberries. Garden Month is your chance to get out and start preparing the ground!
World Autism Awareness Day – April 2
Autism affects approximately 1 out of every 150 children around the world. It is a neural development disorder that affects their ability to socialize normally by impacting their abilities to utilize verbal and non-verbal communication. Since 2012, there has been a 30% increase in the amount of children being affected with autism, and World Autism Awareness Day helps to bring awareness to this growing health concern.
Rather than having one distinguishing characteristic, Autism is indicated by the coming together of three separate symptoms. The triad includes difficulty socializing, problems in communication, and a limited number of interests combined with repetitive behavior. It is no longer classified as a single disorder, but rather an entire spectrum ranging in severity. Autism is the core of all of these syndromes, with its features being prevalent to varying degrees throughout, and includes a number of disorders, with one of the most common being Asperger’s.
Asperger Syndrome is signified by the presence of Autism symptoms with no impairment of language development. Asperger Syndrome often leads to problems with social interaction with their peers. Common body language queues are often lost on those who suffer from AS. It is not uncommon to hear them speak of their frustrations with non-Asperger people, as huge chunks of the conversation just seem utterly lost on them. Things such as tone, context, and sarcasm have to be considered very carefully, and their frustration with communication often stems from this and other social queues. However, much like anyone on the Autistic spectrum, they will present with areas of intelligence that are much stronger than that of others. These areas tend to be in the reading, language, music, or spatial skills, occasionally manifesting to such a degree that they may fall into the “gifted” range in those areas. This seems to be counterbalanced by significant delays in other areas of development.
Hanrahan Youth Services receives numerous referrals for youth who fall on the Autism spectrum, and quite often for youth who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s. We would like to encourage our staff and foster parents to read up more on Autism as it could prove beneficial in perhaps gaining a further understanding of the difficulties, challenges, and joys of the youth who come to us with this diagnosis. Even better, attending a training session could most certainly help to better serve those particular youth.
Pride Movie Night @ Davis & TRC
April 1, 2019
Join us for a movie night during Pride week! We're looking to spread awareness and increase the visibility of LGBTQ+ minorities within the film industry.
Spring Parks Clean Up
April 1-30, 2019
Brampton’s annual Spring Cleanup takes place April 1 -30. Families, friends, community organizations, businesses and school groups participate by donating their time. The purpose of the Spring Cleanup is to help remove litter that has accumulated throughout the winter, community building and create healthy vibrant spaces. It’s also about helping us achieve our Brampton Grow Green goals.
Easter at Mini Moo Farm
April 20, 2019
Visit Mini Moo Farm at Chinguacousy Park and enjoy this free event! Activities include: •Easter Egg Hunt •Face Painting •Clowns •Free Giveaways •And more!
Inspirational Women's Conference
April 27, 2019
9:00AM- 3:30 PM
Celebrating its 19th year, the Inspirational Women's Conference is a day for women. Featuring contemporary worship, great Bible teaching, amazing food, and fellowship, this is an opportunity for women to pull away from the busyness of life and spend a day meeting Jesus and growing together. All women are welcome!
April 21, 2019
Easter Sunday in Canada celebrates Jesus Christ's resurrection after his death, which is described in the Christian Bible. Some people observe Easter Sunday by attending church while others spend time with their families and friends or engage in Easter egg activities.
Kensington Market Food & Culture Tour
Jimmy's Coffee191 Baldwin St
Taste your way through Toronto’s most unique and eclectic neighbourhood on a culinary excursion in Kensington Market. Learn about the history and cultural aspects that have shaped the neighbourhood. Meet local chefs and artisan food makers. Indulge in variety of delicious foods and drinks that represent local and international flavours.
WWF's CN Tower Climb for Nature
Climbing the CN Tower is a rare and exhilarating opportunity to take 1,776 meaningful steps towards a future where nature and wildlife thrive. Register today to climb, enjoy the breathtaking view of Toronto from the tower's newly renovated observation deck and get your picture taken with WWF's panda mascot.
April 28, 2019
11:00 am - 4:00 pm
For more than 15 years, Earth Day at Downsview Park has been a go-to event for families looking to get involved in the world’s largest environmental movement. This year, the Park is excited to celebrate another Earth Day with a day-long event that promises to be bigger and better than ever!
Spring is here!
March 20th marked the first day of Spring!
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 get these things clean. Even though these chores only need to be done once or twice a year, they will help 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
Just for fun, try to solve the following brain teasers. The answers will be at the bottom of the newsletter. Good luck!
1. A man was born in 1955, how is it today is his 18th birthday?
2. How many three cent stamps are in a dozen?
DID YOU KNOW?...
How to help a youth with depression
Depression is very damaging when left untreated, so don’t wait and hope that worrisome symptoms will go away. If you suspect that your teen is depressed, bring up your concerns in a loving, non-judgmental way. Even if you’re unsure that depression is the issue, the troublesome behaviors and emotions you’re seeing are signs of a problem that should be addressed.
Open up a dialogue by letting your teen know what specific depression symptoms you’ve noticed and why they worry you. Then ask your child to share what they’re going through—and be ready and willing to truly listen. Hold back from asking a lot of questions (most teenagers don’t like to feel patronized or crowded), but make it clear that you’re ready and willing to provide whatever support they need.
How to Communicate
Focus on listening, not lecturing. Resist any urge to criticize or pass judgment once your teenager begins to talk. The important thing is that your child is communicating. You’ll do the most good by simply letting your teen know that you’re there for them, fully and unconditionally.
Be gentle but persistent. Don’t give up if they shut you out at first. Talking about depression can be very tough for teens. Even if they want to, they may have a hard time expressing what they’re feeling. Be respectful of your child’s comfort level while still emphasizing your concern and willingness to listen.
Acknowledge their feelings. Don’t try to talk your teen out of depression, even if their feelings or concerns appear silly or irrational to you. Well-meaning attempts to explain why “things aren’t that bad” will just come across as if you don’t take their emotions seriously. Simply acknowledging the pain and sadness they are experiencing can go a long way in making them feel understood and supported.
Trust your gut. If your teen claims nothing is wrong but has no explanation for what is causing the depressed behavior, you should trust your instincts. If your teen won’t open up to you, consider turning to a trusted third party: a school counselor, favorite teacher, or a mental health professional. The important thing is to get them talking to someone.
Helping tip 1: Encourage social connection
Depressed teens tend to withdraw from their friends and the activities they used to enjoy. But isolation only makes depression worse, so do what you can to help your teen reconnect.
Make face time a priority. Set aside time each day to talk—time when you’re focused totally on your teen, without distractions or trying to multi-task. The simple act of connecting face to face can play a big role in reducing your teen’s depression. And remember: talking about depression or your teen’s feelings will not make the situation worse, but your support can make all the difference in their recovery.
Combat social isolation. Do what you can to keep your teen connected to others. Encourage them to go out with friends or invite friends over. Participate in activities that involve other families and give your child an opportunity to meet and connect with other kids.
Get your teen involved. Suggest activities—such as sports, after-school clubs, or an art, dance, or music class—that take advantage of your teen’s interests and talents. While your teen may lack motivation and interest at first, as they reengage with the world, they should start to feel better and regain their enthusiasm.
Promote volunteerism. Doing things for others is a powerful antidepressant and self-esteem booster. Help your teen find a cause they’re interested in and that gives them a sense of purpose. If you volunteer with them, it can also be a good bonding experience.
Tip 2: Make physical health a priority
Physical and mental health are inextricably connected. Depression is exacerbated by inactivity, inadequate sleep, and poor nutrition. Unfortunately, teens are known for their unhealthy habits: staying up late, eating junk food, and spending hours on their phones and devices. But as a parent, you can combat these behaviors by establishing a healthy, supportive home environment.
Get your teen moving! Exercise is absolutely essential to mental health, so get your teen active—whatever it takes. Ideally, teens should be getting at least an hour of physical activity a day, but it needn’t be boring or miserable. Think outside the box: walking the dog, dancing, shooting hoops, going for a hike, riding bikes, skateboarding—as long as they’re moving, it’s beneficial.
Set limits on screen time. Teens often go online to escape their problems, but when screen time goes up, physical activity and face time with friends goes down. Both are a recipe for worsening symptoms.
Provide nutritious, balanced meals. Make sure your teen is getting the nutrition they need for optimum brain health and mood support: things like healthy fats, quality protein, and fresh produce. Eating a lot of sugary, starchy foods—the quick “pick me up” of many depressed teens—will only have a negative effect on their mood and energy.
Encourage plenty of sleep. Teens need more sleep than adults to function optimally—up to 9-10 hours per night. Make sure your teen isn’t staying up until all hours at the expense of much-needed, mood-supporting rest.
Tip 3: Know when to seek professional help
Support and healthy lifestyle changes can make a world of difference for depressed teens, but it’s not always enough. When depression is severe, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a mental health professional with advanced training and a strong background treating teens.
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 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.
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 Teasers answers:
1. He was born IN Hosptial room 1955
2. A dozen, although you probably said four