“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
HYS would like to thank all of our employees who are working during this difficult time making sure all youth and staff are safe and making sure that Hanrahan Youth Services runs smoothly and safely. Your work is recognized and truly appreciated. This pandemic is a world changing event, we are all going to remember where we were during this difficult time including the youth you are working with. Please recognize the important roles that you have and for that we want to send a sincere thank you.
As you are most likely aware, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an international public health emergency, and all Publicly Funded Ontario Schools are to be closed until May.
Foster parents, staff, and residents are encouraged to follow regular respiratory illness protocols and prevention strategies which include:
Wash/sanitize hands frequently as possible
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
Cough or sneeze into a tissues or sleeve rather than hands
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Stay home if you are ill
Consult Telehealth or your physician if you have any concerns
If you believe, or have been advised, that any caregiver, staff or child has been in contact or exposed to the COVID-19, please contact Bob or Brian right away, along with the resident’s worker/supervisor immediately to discuss the appropriate next steps.
In light of recent events with COVID-19 and the restrictions in place by businesses to limit interaction, Hanrahan Youth Services’ head office will be locked during business hours until further notice. Only administrative staff will be permitted on site during this time. Should you require any documents/cheques, etc. or to drop anything off, please contact Erin with enough time to prepare whatever it is that you require. The mailbox attached to the home will be utilized for dropping off and picking up items.
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.
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.
Things To Do While In Self-Isolation
Attached is a comprehensive list of some resources families could use to teach their children educational material during school closures. At the top there is one category that accounts for sites, apps, programs, etc.. that apply to all age groups. After that it is broken down by school grades from Preschool to High school, so parents, children and youth could navigate to find something that interests them most. The idea here is that if you are recommending resources to a family, you could copy and paste the all ages resources, as well as the resources that fall under the grade their children are currently in.
Many of the resources are online based educational learning websites, some of which require a free sign-up (consisting of an email and creating a password). There are some options available for individuals without much internet access/device access but not many on this list. If you would like me to continue to search for those options, please let me know. From what I saw, most options that were "offline" consisted of print-outs and I recognize many families these days do not have a printer so I figured online was the best option.
Now is 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 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.
Just for fun, try to solve the following brain teasers. The answers will be at the bottom of the newsletter. Good luck!
1. It likes food, but water kills it. What is it?
2. You can find it in Mercury, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, but not in Venus or Neptune. What is it?
DID YOU KNOW?...
Top Tips for Helping Teens Stay Healthy, in Routine and School Involved
1. Make the timetable doable: This is the first problem with timetables. A student should not be studying after 7pm. They should be going for a walk and unwinding at that time. Cramming is not a proxy of your seriousness, it just illuminates your inability to organise yourself effectively. Never cram.
2. Take breaks: Breaks are vital for a healthy and engaged brain.
3. Get rid of all distractions while they are studying: There should be no phones or devices in the room. They will resist this, but be resolute on this issue.
4. Try to follow the school day: This means they should be getting up at 8am with a view to start studying at 8:30am. This will keep them focused and also allow them to be free by 4:30pm. And they will also be tired and fall into a healthy sleep pattern.
5. Exercise is more important than ever: They must get out of the house for a walk or a jog. This will get the endorphins going and keep them motivated.
6. Keep a good sleep routine: They should be going to bed at a reasonable hour. If they are getting up at 8am they should be in bed for 10:30pm. The brain requires an incredible amount of energy if your teenager is sleep deprived it will be almost impossible for them to study.
7. Maintain diet: It is so easy for our diet to fall apart while we are in lockdown. But we need it more than ever to be healthy and to provide us with the energy we need for studying.
Please remember that we all have a duty to report abuse or suspected abuse of a child.
The Child and Youth 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 manager/resource worker by submitting a VACATION/TIME OFF REQUEST FORM to them or the head office. They will seek approval from the directors of the agency, 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 staff/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 manager/resource worker as designated by the directors.