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December 2020 Newsletter

"We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future" --Franklin D. Roosevelt


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!

Please ensure all youth have all necessities for the cold winter-- winter coat, winter boots, gloves & hat

December Special Days

December 10th- Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Human Rights Day marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being -- regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.

December 25th- Christmas Day

Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.

December 31st- New Years Eve

Celebrate and dance as the New Year of 2021 rings in!

Winter House Maintenance

Not many of us are actually looking forward to the weather getting colder but we have to be well-prepared for the coming winter, we advise you prepare for winter by buying extra non-perishable groceries, appropriate winter clothing, bags of salt, shovels and other important items.

We also want to advise our foster parents and staff to be watching the news regularly for any updates from Environment Canada regarding weather. It is important that we are well prepared for the winter! In addition to this, please ensure your residents have the appropriate winter clothing attire such as snow boots, winter coats, mittens, hats and scarves.

Before the snow starts to really fall, make sure to rake the leaves up as they kill the grass. Also a reminder for foster parents and managers to take a walk around their homes to ensure everything is properly insulated for the winter. Everyone needs to make sure that shovelling and salting is done on a regular basis for safety issues. Please be mindful in the homes about having the heat up with the windows open.

Christmas time is upon us, and it’s time to get holly and jolly! We want to make sure that every home will have a Christmas tree and decorations, as making everyone feel at home and in the Holiday spirit! Alongside with having decorations, a full Holiday dinner with all residents needs to be planned and made. Regardless of religion of the Foster Parent homes decorations and tree should be up. A Christmas dinner should be planned before the any of the youth leave for home visits.

For Holiday Allowance; find out what the youths would like, purchase the gifts, wrap them and if they are going on a home visit, the gifts are to be sent home with them and opened on Christmas.

If planning home visits make sure planned well in advance, to make sure all plans go over smoothly.


EventBrite holds many online virtual classes & events! This is a great way of learning new things, or keeping busy but still staying safe & healthy!

Gentle Yoga For Terrible Times-

Simple and accessible breathing exercises, stretches, and guided meditation for all bodies, minds, and spirits. NO EXPERIENCE necessary

Home for the Holidays with Matthew West and Josh Wilson

December 6- 6:00pm

Join Thrivent and friends for an Exclusive Home For The Holidays Virtual Concert featuring five-time GRAMMY® nominated artist Matthew West and special guest singer/songwriter Josh Wilson! Sing along to your favorite Christmas Classics as we celebrate a years’ worth of generosity!

Gingerbread House Decorating Class/Contest

December 3- 9:00pm

Christmas Craft Make & Take

December 5- 1:00pm


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

1. The more there is, the less you see. What is it?

2. You live in a one story house made entirely of redwood. What color would the stairs be?


How to keep teens active during COVID-19

Physical activity may have fallen by the wayside for you and your family during COVID-19. It makes sense that in the wake of canceled tournaments and park and pool closures, teens have relied more than ever on their electronics as places to socialize and escape.

The upside has been that staying away from others has reduced their exposure to the virus and prevented them from potentially bringing it home. The downside – too much screen time and too little exercise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should participate in 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day.

It’s important for their physical fitness and mental health. Moving around throughout the day can lift your teenager’s mood, improve their sleep and lower their risk of developing diseases, like type 2 diabetes.

Encourage your kids to participate in fun activities that keep them moving

Telling your teen to fit in an hour of exercise a day can seem like a daunting task for any parent. But breaking that hour down throughout the day is easier than you think. Be creative and make it fun. Encourage your teen to consider these activities:

  • They can get moving by dancing to online concerts with their friends.

  • They can create special playlists and have a weekly dance party at home with family.

  • Go for a family bike ride – biking has become very popular again.

  • Many smaller exercise studios are offering classes via online platforms. Get some family members together and take a live class from home.

  • Ask your teen to take their younger sibling for a short walk – it’s good exercise and great for building special moments together.

  • Get your teen to take a jog or long walk with the family dog.

Give specific guidance to help your teens interact safely

With many local businesses now reopening, it can be tempting to meet up with friends in a public place. Talk to your teen about the importance of maintaining proper, health protocols. Even though they feel fine, it doesn’t mean they can’t infect another person.

On the other side of the coin, they need to be aware that everyone is at risk of getting COVID-19. Even young people who get infected have the potential of experiencing serious illness or complications. You don’t want to scare them, but it’s key to educate your children about the possible outcomes of getting this respiratory illness.

So, although it’s important to keep physically and socially active, we need to continue to guide our teenagers on the best way to do that, throughout this pandemic. Talk to you kids and get them to think about the bigger picture. Everyone has someone in their life that they love and want to protect. Let us all work together to keep our community healthy and safe. Give them this critical advice:

  • The more people you meet with and the longer you meet with them it puts you at a greater risk.

  • If you do meet with one or two friends, wear a mask and keep at least 6 feet away from each other.

  • Wash your hands and carry sanitizer for when you need it; this helps fight the novel coronavirus and other viruses and germs.

  • I know you like to hug your friends, but now is not the time. Hug our dog or cat and people in our family but not people or friends outside our household.

  • Keep your faces away from each other because COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets whey your friend coughs, sneezes or talks.

  • Even as a teenager, you can still become severely ill with this respiratory disease – take every precaution to avoid it.

We know how important friends are to our children. It’s up to us to help protect them during this unusual time and be a good role model for how to interact with others as safely as possible.

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.


1. Fog

2. What stairs? You live in a one story.


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