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September 2020 Newsletter

“People who wonder whether the glass is half empty or half full miss the point. The glass is refillable.” – Simon Sinek


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.

Congratulations to all our youth who have graduated this year!

Hanrahan Youth Services is proud to have donated to Black Lives Matter

There are many ways to donate in support of Black Lives Matter!

September Special Days

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

One child with cancer is too many. During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September and all throughout the year, we care about every single child living with cancer and their families. We understand the toll that cancer can take. At the Canadian Cancer Society, because of our donors, we continue to invest in Canada’s best childhood cancer research. We are Canada’s largest national charitable funder of childhood cancer research.

GTA attractions and landmarks announcements for re-opening

Labour Day-September 7th, 2020

Labour Day in Canada is celebrated on the first Monday of September. It originally gave workers the chance to campaign for better working conditions or pay. The day is now part of a long weekend for many Canadians. Enjoy your long weekend!

World Suicide Prevention Day- September 10th, 2020

World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), on 10 September, is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). WHO has been co-sponsor of the day. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented.

In past years, over 300 activities in around 70 countries were reported to IASP, including educational and commemorative events, press briefings and conferences, as well as Facebook and Twitter coverage.

See links below for more information:

First Day of Fall- September 22nd, 2020

Fall House Maintenance

As the seasons begin to change from the warmth of summer into the crispness of fall, memories made across the summer shouldn’t be the only thing on our minds. Friendly reminder that furnace filters need to be changed as well as all battery operated smoke alarms/carbon dioxide detectors should be tested changed and if any concerns, brought to the attention of your resource worker/manager.

While the leaves change and fall to leave a lovely scene of colours, please ensure that yards are raked and eavesdrops are free from leaves and tree debris as we prep for the next season on hand. Invite your youth to pump some muscle with you during your yard clean up!

Things To Do While In Self-Isolation

Virtual Museums!

See above for the link


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.

For an Educational List Click here.

Live Fun Classes Online

See the Link below for some fun online classes!

Complete Puzzles

Make Art!



Clean the house

Watch Movies and Rate them!

Have a Group Up & Moving Work Out

Take Turns Making new Foods

Play Board Games

Share Favourite Memories

Spring Clean

Learn a New Hobby


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

1. September 5th is National Cheese Pizza Day

2. If you lift a kangaroo’s tail off the ground it can’t hop.


Teens and young adults need to know the dangers of vaping

As I’ve made presentations to school-age youth in the past few years, I’ve learned that kids think vaping isn’t bad for them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nicotine is highly addictive. And claims by companies that their product is “low nicotine” or “just water vapor” are false.

All e-cigarettes contain dangerous chemicals as well as nicotine. The nicotine in vape and e-cigarette products damages the part of the brain that supports decision making and cognitive skills. In teens, this part of the brain is not yet fully developed, so these products lead to addiction and brain damage.

If that isn’t bad enough, in the midst of the pandemic we’re learning that young people who use vape and e-cigarette products and who smoke cigarettes are far more vulnerable to COVID-19. That’s according to a new study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine that was published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The study found that COVID-19 diagnosis was five times more likely among e-cigarette users and seven times more likely among dual users (those who use e-cigarettes and smoke cigarettes).

Vape and e-cigarette products pose a serious threat to young people, and the fact that young people are misinformed only heightens that threat.

That’s why I’m spearheading an anti-vaping campaign in collaboration with Healthy Communities of the Capital Area to coincide with youth returning to school (physically or virtually).

I want young people and their parents to know the facts about vape and e-cigarette products, such as:

• When e-cigarette users inhale, they’re not taking harmless water vapor into their lungs. The aerosol that users inhale contains highly addictive nicotine, as well as toxic chemicals that damage the lungs.

• There’s growing evidence that use of vape and e-cigarette products leads to significant health risks, including lung damage and greater vulnerability to COVID-19.

To help raise awareness of these facts, the campaign includes anti-vaping social media posts targeted to teens. These posts serve as a counter-measure to the aggressive and often misleading marketing to young people conducted by e-cigarette companies. For example, e-cigarette marketers promote their products as a way to quit smoking. In reality, both smoking cigarettes and vaping cause lung damage.

I also want to limit teen access to vape and e-cigarette products. Even though the federal age to buy tobacco products is 21, minors are still getting their hands on vapes and e-cigarettes.

In Maine, “An Act to Prohibit the Furnishing of Tobacco Products to Minors” went into effect last fall. The law makes furnishing, giving, selling or delivering a tobacco product — including vapes and e-cigarettes — for or to a minor a class D crime with a minimum fine of $500 and up to $2,000. This includes knowingly allowing minors under one’s supervision to possess and/or use tobacco products.

The campaign includes distributing materials about the tobacco law to the hundreds of tobacco retailers in Kennebec and Somerset counties. Somerset Public Health is also involved and supporting the campaign.

Together we can educate minors and young adults about the dangers of vaping and caution all adults to not facilitate the use of these products by minors. The combination of COVID-19 and vaping is deadly. Now is the time, more than ever, to talk to your teen or young adult about the dangers of vaping.

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.


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