October 2020 Newsletter
“The only time you fail is when you fall down and stay down.”- Stephen Richards
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!
October Special Days
World Mental Health Day- October 10th
This year’s World Mental Health Day, on 10 October, comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The past months have brought many challenges: for health-care workers, providing care in difficult circumstances, going to work fearful of bringing COVID-19 home with them; for students, adapting to taking classes from home, with little contact with teachers and friends, and anxious about their futures; for workers whose livelihoods are threatened; for the vast number of people caught in poverty or in fragile humanitarian settings with extremely limited protection from COVID-19; and for people with mental health conditions, many experiencing even greater social isolation than before. And this is to say nothing of managing the grief of losing a loved one, sometimes without being able to say goodbye.
The economic consequences of the pandemic are already being felt, as companies let staff go in an effort to save their businesses, or indeed shut down completely.
Given past experience of emergencies, it is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years. Investment in mental health programmes at the national and international levels, which have already suffered from years of chronic underfunding, is now more important than it has ever been.
This is why the goal of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is increased investment in mental health.
Thanksgiving- Monday October 12th
Thanksgiving Day in Canada has been a holiday on the second Monday of October since 1957. It is a chance for people to give thanks for a good harvest and other fortunes in the past year. Thanksgiving Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed
On Monday the 12th of October, Canada is privileged to celebrate Thanksgiving. This festivities of fall truly come alive during this time – baked pumpkin pie, turkey, falling leaves, apples and cinnamon, and the pleasant aroma of fire wood burning tracing through the air. Although this is a gorgeous time of year, it can also be very sensitive as it is often a time shared with family and very close friends. For many of our residents, they do not have families of their own to go home to.
Every year HYS ensures all foster homes and group homes have a warm and satisfying thanksgiving dinner with their residents. Many of our foster parents go above and beyond to ensure their kids feel a sense of belonging. Please ensure you are planning and preparing a Thanksgiving celebration with your residents, even if they do go home. Monday will be a public holiday, and many schools in Peel have a PD day on Friday so there is plenty of time and space to make available.
Don’t wait until last minute to buy a turkey! Get your orders in now, and plan something lovely for your kids to be part of. If you have your own family functions, bring your kids along with you! This is a great way to build stability in their lives and to make sure they feel accepted and loved.
Ontario Dress Purple Day- October 27th 2020
Every October Children’s Aid Societies across the province raise awareness about the rights of children and youth to safety and well-being, and the responsibility of adults and community services to help children, youth, and families who need support. On Ontario Dress Purple Day we join together with our key partners, Boards of Education, schools, and child care centres and homes, to share this positive message that help is available and to celebrate the community that cares for kids and families.
This year Ontario Dress Purple Day will take place on Wednesday, October 27, 2020.
To support Ontario Dress Purple Day and its focus on getting and giving help, we are providing online classroom resources to help teachers and education professionals make the day a meaningful and engaging learning opportunity for students from JK to Grade 12. The classroom resources are intended to support teachers and education professionals to engage with their students in conversations about safety and well-being in all aspects of their lives, helping adults in the community, and how to ask for help.
Every October, Children’s Aid Societies across Ontario raise awareness about the important role that individuals and communities play in supporting vulnerable children, youth, and families through the provincial Dress Purple Day campaign. The campaign is more important than ever, since the COVID-19 pandemic has created additional stressors for families, and in some cases has increased risk for the well-being and safety of vulnerable children, youth.
This year, Dress Purple Day will take place on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
We are calling on all Ontarians to wear something purple to show children, youth, and families that they are here to help!
Halloween- October 31st!
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
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!
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
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. October 1st is International Coffee Day
2. I’m tall when I’m young, and I’m short when I’m old. What am I?.
DID YOU KNOW?...
Dear Teenagers, Here’s How to Protect Your Emotional Well-Being
Guidance for teenagers on staying steady in the turmoil of the pandemic.
Following my most recent column offering adults a 2020 back-to-school list for teens’ emotional well-being, several teenage commenters asked that I address them in the same way that I address their parents: “as intelligent people who have the tools to support themselves and their loved ones through this trying time.”
Dear teenagers, you are right. And I’m so glad you asked. Here’s my guidance on what you can do to keep yourself steady in the turmoil of the pandemic.
Make the Most of Your Emotional Superpowers
Teenagers experience feelings more intensely than adults do, both negative and positive ones. While this amplifies the psychological discomfort you’re certainly experiencing right now, it also means that you get more out of pleasures and delights. These days the only bright spots many of us are finding are small ones, and for a lot of adults, these don’t feel very satisfying. But for you, small comforts and joys are more comforting and joyful than they are for adults. So, when your mood needs a lift, make the most of this emotional superpower.
What makes this power work for you will be highly personal. You might enjoy video games, pumpkin spice treats, cuddling your pet, being in nature, listening to music, going for a run or doing something else altogether. The adults in your life might not quite grasp how happy it makes you to watch your favorite movie for the umpteenth time. That’s OK. Just know what gives you a boost right now and enjoy it fully.
Trust Your Feelings
When you are worried, sad, stressed, frustrated or anything else, trust that you are almost certainly having the “right” feeling. I say this because you have been raised in a culture that is unnecessarily fearful of unpleasant emotions and which may have given you the impression that emotional distress invariably signals fragile mental health. This is not true. In upsetting times, feeling upset proves, if anything, that your emotions are working exactly as they should. You are in touch with reality — a painful one though it is — and attuned to your circumstances.
When your mood is good, trust that too. With the world off its axis, you might wonder if it’s all right to let yourself feel at ease. It is. Should you notice that calm emotional waters follow stormy waves of distress, don’t assume that you have somehow lost touch. In all likelihood, you have processed and moved past a painful mood, largely by allowing yourself to have it.
Count on Your Psychological Circuit Breakers
Sometimes we helpfully make room for unpleasant feelings. Other times psychological defenses kick in on their own like circuit breakers to protect us from emotional overload. Though psychological defenses can be problematic, such as when people use denial to ignore a painful truth, they are often healthy and can help us regulate how much of an upsetting situation we take on all at once.For instance, you might notice that the anger you feel about your disrupted school days gives way to an appreciation for your growing self-sufficiency. Shifting from exasperation to rationalization maintains your connection to what’s happening while reducing the emotional charge. Using humor — say, when you are inspired to find inventive ways to crack up your classmates to manage the sheer frustration of sitting through online classes — works the same way. Here’s the point: Your mind is built to help you through this hard time. Put stock in its ability to keep your emotional current at manageable levels.
Have a Basic Plan for Mental Health Maintenance
Plenty of sleep and physical activity will improve your mood, reduce your stress, and increase how much you like yourself and other people. Enjoy the company of people who soothe and energize you. Steer clear of those who leave you feeling stirred up or spent. Distribute your mental energy with care. So much will go sideways this year, and you have every right to resent the challenges and frustrations of Covid-19. Allow yourself time to be upset. Then try to direct the bulk of your energy toward that which you can control. What kind of friend do you want to be this year? What do you want to learn and get better at? What can you do to support others? Focus on what remains within your power, because exercising that power will help you feel better.
Understand When to Worry
If distress is to be expected, when is it time to worry? A first reason would be if your unwanted emotions start to feel like bad roommates: constantly around and taking the fun out of everything. It’s one thing if sadness, anxiety, irritation, outrage or grief stop by for a visit. But it’s another if they move in or linger for more than a day or two.
A second reason for concern would be if you find yourself routinely using unhealthy strategies to numb or contain painful feelings. Avoiding everyone, being cranky all the time, misusing substances, or sacrificing sleep to binge on social media may bring relief in the short term but create bigger problems down the line.Finally, you should be worried if you feel you might harm yourself or do not feel safe in some other way. Should you be concerned about your own well-being, or that of a friend, reach out to a trusted adult. Tell a parent, a counselor at your school, or any other grown-up you can count on to take the situation seriously and mobilize the proper supports.
These are incredibly difficult times that are emotionally taxing for everyone. But teenagers should not underestimate the value of their own special strengths. Understanding, harnessing and protecting your mental health resources will serve you well now, and for the rest of your life.
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.
2. A Candle