“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
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.
June Special Days
June is PRIDE Month
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month) is celebrated annually in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots, and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) Americans. In June of 1969, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City staged an uprising to resist the police harassment and persecution to which LGBT Americans were commonly subjected. This uprising marks the beginning of a movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against LGBT Americans.
Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBT Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that LGBTQ individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.
Federal and local policies and practices are increasingly acknowledging and focusing on LGBTQ youth and numerous national advocacy and other organizations are also giving greater attention to LGBTQ youth in their work. Encouraging greater acceptance and support for all youth, including those who are or are perceived to be LGBTQ, will make communities, schools, and other settings safer, better places for all youth.
June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Month
For millions of people around the world, the most traumatic events of their lives have never ended. PTSD is a lingering reminder that turns everyday into a potential minefield, with flashbacks and triggers potentially hidden around every corner. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month is dedicated to raiding awareness about this life-long struggle and the people it affects, how each of us can help make their lives just a little easier.
VIRTUAL PRIDE PARADE JUNE 28, 2020 – 2PM – Online! Celebrating Pride has always been a protest of resilience and that shouldn’t change. The queer and trans community will continue to trail-blaze and connect the community with innovative and exciting ideas.
Go Online and Check out everything PRIDE going on this month!
"Toronto’s very own A-List DJ’s Soulsis & Razaqeltoro.Onkoya will be spinning Afro beats, Soca, Dancehall & more for you to enjoy in your coolest summer of quarantine inspired outfit. Link up your wireless speakers, head out to your balcony, and turn up the bass! Dance Collective “C- Flava” will be in the virtual building performing and keeping the energy FLAVAFUL! "
June 20, 2020 is the First Day of Summer
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.
Perfect time to do some 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. 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. Did you know, Space smells like seared steak
2. What can you hold in your left hand but not your right?
DID YOU KNOW?...
How teenagers can protect their mental health during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Being a teenager is difficult no matter what, and the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is making it even harder. With school closures and cancelled events, many teens are missing out on some of the biggest moments of their young lives — as well as everyday moments like chatting with friends and participating in class. For teenagers facing life changes due to the outbreak who are feeling anxious, isolated and disappointed, know this: you are not alone. We spoke with expert adolescent psychologist, best-selling author and monthly New York Times columnist Dr. Lisa Damour about what you can do to practice self-care and look after your mental health.
1. Recognize that your anxiety is completely normal
If school closures and alarming headlines are making you feel anxious, you are not the only one. In fact, that’s how you’re supposed to feel. “Psychologists have long recognized that anxiety is a normal and healthy function that alerts us to threats and helps us take measures to protect ourselves,” says Dr. Damour. “Your anxiety is going to help you make the decisions that you need to be making right now — not spending time with other people or in large groups, washing your hands and not touching your face.” Those feelings are helping to keep not only you safe, but others too. This is “also how we take care of members of our community. We think about the people around us, too.” While anxiety around COVID-19 is completely understandable, make sure that you are using “reliable sources [such as the UNICEF and the World Health Organization’s sites] to get information, or to check any information you might be getting through less reliable channels,” recommends Dr. Damour. If you are worried that you are experiencing symptoms, it is important to speak to your parents about it. “Keep in mind that illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults,” says Dr. Damour. It’s also important to remember, that many of the symptoms of COVID-19 can be treated. She recommends letting your parents or a trusted adult know if you’re not feeling well, or if you’re feeling worried about the virus, so they can help. And remember: “There are many effective things we can do to keep ourselves and others safe and to feel in better control of our circumstances: frequently wash our hands, don't touch our faces and engage in social distancing.”
2. Create distractions
“What psychologists know is that when we are under chronically difficult conditions, it’s very helpful to divide the problem into two categories: things I can do something about, and then things I can do nothing about,” says Dr. Damour. There is a lot that falls under that second category right now, and that’s okay, but one thing that helps us to deal with that is creating distractions for ourselves. Dr. Damour suggests doing homework, watching a favourite movie or getting in bed with a novel as ways to seek relief and find balance in the day-to-day.
3. Find new ways to connect with your friends
If you want to spend time with friends while you’re practicing social distancing, social media is a great way to connect. Get creative: Join in a Tik-Tok challenge like #safehands. “I would never underestimate the creativity of teenagers,” says Dr. Damour, “My hunch is that they will find ways to [connect] with one another online that are different from how they’ve been doing it before.” “[But] it’s not going to be a good idea to have unfettered access to screens and or social media. That’s not healthy, that’s not smart, it may amplify your anxiety,” says Dr. Damour, recommending you work out a screen-time schedule with your parents.
4. Focus on you
Have you been wanting to learn how to do something new, start a new book or spend time practicing a musical instrument? Now is the time to do that. Focusing on yourself and finding ways to use your new-found time is a productive way to look after your mental health. “I have been making a list of all of the books I want to read and the things that I’ve been meaning to do,” says Dr. Damour. “When it comes to having a painful feeling, the only way out is through.”
5. Feel your feelings
Missing out on events with friends, hobbies, or sports matches is incredibly disappointing. “These are large-scale losses. They’re really upsetting and rightly so to teenagers,” says Dr. Damour. The best way to deal with this disappointment? Let yourself feel it. “When it comes to having a painful feeling, the only way out is through. Go ahead and be sad, and if you can let yourself be sad, you’ll start to feel better faster.” Processing your feelings looks different for everyone. “Some kids are going to make art, some kids are going to want to talk to their friends and use their shared sadness as a way to feel connected in a time when they can’t be together in person, and some kids are going to want to find ways to get food to food banks,” says Dr. Damour. What’s important is that you do what feels right to you.
6. Be kind to yourself and others
Some teens are facing bullying and abuse at school due to coronavirus. “Activating bystanders is the best way to address any kind of bullying,” says Dr. Damour. “Kids and teenagers who are targeted should not be expected to confront bullies; rather we should encourage them to turn to friends or adults for help and support.” If you witness a friend being bullied, reach out to them and try to offer support. Doing nothing can leave the person feeling that everyone is against them or that nobody cares. Your words can make a difference. And remember: now more than ever we need to be thoughtful about what we share or say that may hurt others.
Duty to Report
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.