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May 2019 Newsletter

“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 recognize Matt Travers as Employee of the month for April.

Matt Travers has worked for Hanrahan Youth Services since 2010 working in the homes and running the section 23 classroom when HYS had one throughout the years. Matt specifically this month has taken on great responsibility and has been very helpful to lean on, especially during our transition period in our two youth residences in Brampton with helping the youth transition into their new programs. Matt he has stepped up and continued to show his leadership, he is reliable, and has taken initiative. HYS is happy to have Matt as employee of the month, as it is greatly deserved!

Congratulations to Matt from everyone at HYS!



Thank you to all the HYS staff that attended the Understanding the Foundations of Trauma & Attachment Dysregulation.

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.

Marijuana Legalization:

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

May Special Days

May is Foster Care Month

National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity for people nationwide to get involved as foster parents, volunteers, mentors, employers, or other ways. It’s also an opportunity to show our appreciation for the dedicated families who care for these children and youth, and the social workers who support them. It's a time to recognize that we each can play a part in enhancing the lives of children and youth in foster care. Find resources and information to help ensure that their future is bright.

2019 International Child and Youth Care Workers’ Week is being recognized from May 6th – May 12th!

Join us this CYC Week May 6-12. As we countdown to CYC Week, join the conversation happening on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We will be posting some fun questions to spark conversations and foster support amongst CYCP’s during this countdown.

Child and Youth in Care Day

May 14th is the Children and Youth in Care Day in Ontario, an annual day that recognises the strength, bravery and resilience shown by young people who have faced adversity throughout their lives. This important day is one of a number of actions that have taken place within the Province to support and encourage these young people.

The Child and Youth in Care Day brings attention to the countless contributions that children and youth in and leaving care make to the Province.

Many youth, both currently and formerly in care, have become ambassadors for youth advocacy within the child welfare system, influencing policy and legislation, inspiring change, creating awareness and reducing stigmas related to being in care.

The Children and Youth in Care day, is our opportunity provincially to raise awareness about children and youth in care and to recommit to supporting them and helping them reach their full potential.

May Events

Youth Week Toronto

April 30, 2019 - May 7, 2019

5:00 pm - 12:00 am

5:00 PM-2:00AM

Each May, Youth Week Toronto celebrates youth engagement and showcases the abilities and talents of youth in the areas of civic engagement, recreation, arts and sports in diverse communities across Toronto. Check out the event schedule to find an event near you.

Girls Night In Youth Program

Wed, 15 May 2019

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Nexus Youth Services

301 Burnhamthorpe Road West

2nd Floor

Mississauga, ON L5B 3Y3

A group of teens & college students came up w/ Girls Night In with 3 goals in mind: Talk, Eat and Have Fun! It's a chance to have a real conversations about the topics that are important our everyday lives, and meet new people. Activities include movie nights, Laser tag, special guest speakers, workshops, paint nights and more. This group was created by us and for us and to empower - us.

Join The Girls Night In Program weekly on Wednesdays from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm*. If you are 14 to 19 years old, be sure to RSVP and bring a friend for a chance to win a Square One gift card and other giveaways!

**6- week program on Wednesday evenings. Volunteer hours, bus tickets & free food provided. Candid discussion about topics such as self-esteem, body image, relationships, etc. See you there!

Info session will be held on May 8th at 5pm!!

Child and Youth in Care Day Picnic

May 15, 2019

Simeon Park

Please join the Youth Events Committee for a BBQ dinner, outdoor games and social time to celebrate all our Youth and Children in Care. This event is open to all York CAS Children and Youth Infants to Twenty One years of age and their foster parents or caregivers.

Each attending guest (youth, caregivers, foster parents, etc.) must complete registration individually and have a ticket for food items. Please select a meal choice from the menu at registration for each attending participant.

In addition to the meal choices there will be salads, drinks and cake available. Some picnic table seating is available, however you are encouraged to bring your lawn chairs.

Caregivers and Foster Parents must remain with all youth and children during the evening. Transportation is not available for Youth in Foster Homes or Residential Programs, Caregivers are responsible for transportation arrangements.

CCSY and Independent Living Youth who require transportation please speak with your workers.

Youth Empowerment Conference 2019

May 25, 2019

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM


Holiday Inn Express & Suites Vaughan-Southwest

6100 Highway 7

Vaughan, ON L4H 0R2

Poinciana Evangelistic Ministries Church invites you to attend our Youth Empowerment Conference 2019!

Black Youth Symposium

Sat, May 25, 2019

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Community Door Services Network

50 Burnhamthorpe Road West

Mississauga, ON L5B 3C2

Empower. Educate. Engage.

Black youth deserve to be heard, empowered and understood. The Black Youth Symposium invites all African, Caribbean and Black youth aged 13-17 in Peel Region to discuss relevant topics with community leaders, meet peers and mentors, learn about the resources available in their communities, and explore the way they interact with the world.

The Symposium will feature an expert panel of exciting guest speakers exploring topics such as self-esteem, educational avenues, mental health, sexual health, and identity. Participants are encouraged to take notes, reflect, and journal throughout the day.

For more information or to get involved as an individual, sponsor, donor, or non-profit organization, please contact

Youth Job Connection

Mon, 13 May 2019, 9:00 AM –

Wed, 22 May 2019, 8:30 PM

555 Richmond Street West

Toronto, ON M5V 3B1

Are you 15-29 years old? Out of school and work? Considering what step to take next?

Register for our next Youth Job Connection Group!

  • You Will Receive:

  • 3 weeks of paid ($14 per hour) pre-employment training:(resume writing, job search techniques, interview skills etc.)

  • 10 weeks of paid work experience upon completing pre-employment training

  • Transportation, clothing, certifications and many additional work-related supports

Program Start Date: Monday May 13th & 27th, 2019

Questions? We're here to help!

Feel free to contact us at or 416.504.5516

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

Brain Teaser

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

1. What has to be broken before it can be used?

2. What begins with T, ends with T, and has T in it?


How Do You Motivate a Teen? Yes, It Is Possible!

Encouragement is the key to motivation. Every parenting tool we are sharing in this Positive Discipline for Teenagers book is designed to encourage and motivate teens. In this article we’ll cover Six surefire Teen Motivators: compliments, humor, let’s make a deal/collateral, motivation through involvement, joint problem-solving and follow-through.


People do better when they feel better. There’s nothing like getting a compliment for something you feel good about or being affirmed for who you are to improve motivation. This is true for everyone, but especially for teens, who often hear endless criticism, nagging, and complaining about their poor performance. If you’re used to using praise as a motivator, you may have a tough time finding something praiseworthy with your teen. That’s why we suggest encouragement because it works even when your kids are in the dumps and making mistakes.

One place to make sure everyone gets a compliment or appreciation is the family meeting. If you have weekly meetings and start each meeting with something positive, your teens might want to be at the meeting for that alone. A fifteen-year-old boy said his favorite time of the week was the appreciation/compliments he got at the family meeting.

During the week, look for ways to let your kids know how unique they are, what you appreciate about them, how adorable they were as little kids. Tell them stories about what they used to do when they were younger. Ask them if there’s something they wish people would say about them or like about them or notice about them, and then make sure you tell them exactly what they want to hear. They will like hearing it, even if they told you what they wanted.


Teenagers enjoy a sense of humor and respond to it much better than to lectures and nagging. The following situations illustrate how parents use humor to invite cooperation and to lighten things up.

When a teenage girl forgot to set the table, her mother served the dinner directly onto the table. Everyone laughed at the absurdity of the situation. The table was set on time from then on.

Peter was a father of three teens who used betting and guessing games to motivate the children and add humor to a situation. When Peter noticed the chores weren't getting done as agreed, he'd say, "Someone forgot to do something they agreed to. I'll give a dollar to the first person who guesses what it is." The teens ran around the house trying to find out who the culprit was so they could win a dollar.

Another time Peter said, "I'll bet two dollars you can't finish your yard work before the football game starts." He was effective using bets and games because they were infrequent and unexpected. Had Peter tried using bets as rewards and bribes, his children would have felt less respected because he would have inferred the only reason his teens helped the family was for the money.

Let's make a deal and using collateral

“I’ll make you a deal. If you walk the dog for me on weekdays, I’ll do a special favor for you on weekends.”

“I’ll make you a deal. I’ll pick you and your friends up from the movie if you can find another parent to take you there.”

“I’ll make you a deal. I’ll match whatever you save for that new sweater (guitar, game, etc.)"

Collateral works really well with teens. If they want to borrow something of yours, they need to give you collateral which you will return when they return the item. Good collateral might be a favorite piece of clothing, an iPod, an iPad, a cell phone, etc. It needs to be an item that has value to your teen.

Motivation through Involvement

Dana shared the following at a parenting class: “My daughter, Sage, is doing exceptionally well in school. She is getting the highest score on most tests, and she is not feeling challenged. At the last Parent Teacher Conference she asked for more challenging work from her teacher. Other members of the group wanted to know what Dana did to motivate Sage to do so well.”

Dana then shared the following: “I have learned that what works well with Sage is explaining to her the benefit of doing well. I use every opportunity I can to point them out to her. When she learns something new, I take it to the next level with more information and then point out to her that is what is so cool about learning, that you learn one new thing and it opens up a whole new world.”

Joint Problem Solving Works with Teens

Four Steps for Joint Problem Solving
  1. Teen shares his or her issues and goals.

  2. Parent shares his or her issues and goals.

  3. If goals of teen and parent are far apart, brainstorm to find options.

  4. Teen and parent pick an option they can both live with and try it out for a short time.

Follow -Through

The teen motivators we have discussed so far, are fairly quick and easy. Follow-through is more complicated and requires more guidance on your part, but it is worth the effort because it is a surefire method that really helps teens keep their agreements. Follow-through is an excellent alternative to authoritarian methods or permissiveness. With follow-through, you can meet the needs of the situation while maintaining dignity and respect for all concerned. Follow-through is also a way to help teens learn the life skills they need in order to feel good about themselves while learning to be contributing members of society.

Follow-through is a respectful, four-step approach to parenting teens that teaches cooperation, life skills, and responsibility in spite of resistance. It works whether you are trying to move your teen away from the computer, join the family, or keep up responsibilities to themselves and the family. The key is that follow-through involves you, because you are the only one who does the follow-through. The result is that your teen also follows through, but rarely without your participation. Think of this as one of your main co-pilot duties.

The Four Steps for Effective Follow-Through

  1. Have a friendly discussion with your teen to gather information about what is happening regarding the problem. (Listen first and then share your thoughts.)

  2. Brainstorm solutions with your teen. (Use your humor and throw in some exaggerations.) Choose one that both you and your teen can agree to. Finding a solution you both like may take some negotiating, because your favorite solution may be different from your teen's favorite.

  3. Agree on a date and time deadline.

  4. Understand teens well enough to know that the deadline probably won’t be met and simply follow through on the agreement by kindly and firmly holding your teen accountable.

Before we provide examples of effect follow-through, it is important to understand the traps that defeat follow-through. Four Traps that defeat follow-through
  1. Believing that teens think the way you think and have the same priorities you have.

  2. Getting into judgments and criticism instead of sticking to the issue.

  3. Not getting agreements in advance that include a specific time deadline.

  4. Not maintaining dignity and respect for yourself and your teen

In our workshops, to help parents learn the art of follow-through and to show them that it really does work, we often ask for a volunteer to role-play a teen who has not kept an agreement to do a task, such as mowing the lawn. We then point to the Four Steps for Effective Follow-Through and ask the volunteer to pretend we have already gone through them as a parent and a teen. To set up the role-play, we ask the teen to sit in a chair and pretend he or she is playing a video game. The deadline has arrived, but the task is not done. We then role-play the adult who follows-through by using the following Four Hints for Effective Follow-Through.

Four Hints for Effective Follow-Through

  1. Keep comments simple, concise, and friendly. ("I notice you didn't do your task. Would you please do that now?")

  2. In response to objections, ask, "What was our agreement?"

  3. In response to further objections, shut your mouth and use nonverbal communication. (Point to your watch after every argument. Smile knowingly. Give a hug and point to your watch again.) It helps to understand the concept of "less is more." The less you say the more effective you will be. The more you say, the more ammunition you give your kids for an argument—which they will win every time.

  4. When your teen concedes (sometimes with great annoyance), say, "Thank you for keeping our agreement."

One thing we ask of the volunteer role-playing the teen is to be in the present moment. By this we mean the volunteer should respond to what is being done now rather than responding in ways that a teen would react to disrespectful methods. When the volunteer does this, it is amazing how quickly the "teen" comes to agreement (after a little resistance).

Kind and Firm Skills to Remember

  1. You can motivate your teens with encouragement which is very different from trying to get your teens to do what you want.

  2. Humor, collateral, let’s make a deal, and involvement are positive motivation tools.

  3. There is one surefire way to get your kids to keep their agreements, and it's called follow-through. It may be a lot of work for you in the beginning, but it will be worth every minute of the time you spend to train both you and your teen to use better habits.

  4. Read the four steps, the four traps, and the four hints for successful follow- through again and again, because they are very different from how you would normally respond as a parent—and as a human.

  5. You must be there at the first deadline to set up the follow-through. It won't work in the long run without you there in the beginning.

  6. If you whine or complain that using follow-through is too much work, track how much time you spend reminding and nagging your teen instead. Notice the effect that nagging has on you and on your teen. Keep a checklist of how often the task you are nagging about actually gets done. We call this a reality check.

  7. Follow-through will help you use fewer words and your kids will hear you better.

  8. Don't hesitate to prepare in advance and maybe even practice with a friend. You can always listen to the Empowering Teenagers and Yourself in the Process CD for a live demonstration. It helps!

  9. We do not recommend making contracts with your teens. If you need to write information down as a reminder for both of you, that is respectful and effective. Setting up a contract means you are treating your teenager like a client or an adversary. If you do sign a contract, don't be surprised by your teen's attitudes.

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. An Egg!

2. A Teapot!

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