Addressed to Parents Involved in the Child Welfare System
Hello, dear friends, I am very glad to see you here today. I am especially happy because I think that we can be regarded as colleagues, which makes such gatherings particularly important. We can share our perspectives and experiences and help each other to communicate, which should improve the results of our collaboration. These results, as you must know, involve better care for children, their improved health, their empowerment, and, eventually, their happiness. I am here today to present you the perspective of a Child and Youth Worker, and I would like to provide you with a brief overview of our beliefs, values, and principles, which make up our professional identity.
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The very first principle that every CYC worker is expected to bear in mind is the fact that our care is client-centered. We always search for the means of taking into account the personality of a child, which means that our care must be personalized. We need to consider the strengths, vulnerabilities, wishes, fears, hopes, and inspirations of every particular child or youth when planning and implementing the care and searching for the means to empower them. Each child is unique, which may be a cliché for anyone else, but not for a CYC worker; for us, it is a key principle of our work. Similarly, the environment of the children and their response to it contributes to children’s unique needs, and they also should be considered. In this respect, I think that our collaboration with the parent is particularly important. Few people can know a child better than their parents or guardians, and few people can contribute as much to the personalization of care as, well, you.
At the same time, CYC workers often operate the term “normalization,” which corresponds to the idea of ensuring the healthy development of children. If you think about it, there is no real contradiction between the two principles: surely, children develop in unique ways, but these ways can be regarded as variants of the norm as long as they are healthy and the child is happy. If there is a problem, we seek the means of resolving it, typically, by mobilizing assets that are available to children. One of these assets is, unsurprisingly, children’s relationships with others. With you and with us.
To be able to create and maintain a meaningful relationship with children, CYC workers respect and protect children’s rights. In our practice, the right to privacy is typically mentioned, but we also seek the means of advocating other legal and moral rights. We also work to uphold quality, continuous care, and we hold ourselves accountable for it. This accountability implies the need for continuous improvement of our professional qualities and the development of the field of CYC work. To sum up, a CYC worker is a person who strives to help children and youths to develop healthily by employing multiple tools. We are very willing to share these tools with you so that we can successfully achieve this goal together. Thank you.
Addressed to Grade 12 High School Students Contemplating a Career in Child and Youth Work
Hello, everyone! I am very happy to see all of you here, to see that so many students consider becoming Child and Youth workers – I suppose there are a hundred of you or so. I am glad that we have gathered here because I think that it may be interesting for you to examine the professional identity of CYC workers. First of all, I would like to consider the term “professional identity.” In my view, it is a rather complex term, which comprises your understanding of what your profession means. It probably includes your motivation and inspiration as well as values, beliefs, attitudes, and key working principles, which guide your professional activities.
What do we, CYC workers, do? Predominantly, we do what is required to satisfy the developmental needs of children and youths, which are affected by their characteristics and environment. We work to promote healthy development in a variety of fields, including physical, mental, social, and emotional ones. We are also child and youth advocates, and we promote children’s rights, which also implies that we do not infringe said rights and make sure to respect, for example, the right of our clients to privacy.
A key principle of or work is to think about the clients. In daily routine, you might let yourself forget about it, but every child and every youth in our program is a person with their vulnerabilities and insecurities, as well as strengths or assets, which they may or may not know how to use. It is true that their lives, which are typically not very stable, may have made them somewhat more vulnerable, but what a CYC worker focuses on, is empowerment. It means bringing out the strengths of a person and helping them to use these strengths to improve their own lives. See, you will not always be there for the children, but if you show them that they are stronger than they think and that they can use these strengths, you just might consider this case a successful one. I think that it is an important part of care continuity, which is another requirement of our work.
A CYC worker needs to be very resourceful to achieve such an outcome. Fortunately, some factors can help us, including the special skills and knowledge of our profession, continuous professional development, and, naturally, our ideals and principles. They will also help you with other things, including the quality of intervention, which is, of course, very important. A professional must always be accountable for the outcome of every case, and, in my opinion, positive outcomes are one of the best rewards you can ever have for achieving something. CYC work is not always easy it may never be easy, but in my view, the challenge is worth it because of these outcomes. They are my motivation and inspiration. As for your inspiration, you will need to discover it yourself. Thank you for your time; good luck in your investigation of CYC work!