Thinking Critically About Youth Work

Podcast 043: Thinking Critically About Youth Work – Part 2

Thinking Critically About Youth Work

In todays episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast, “Thinking Critically About Youth Work: Part Two”, Aaron continues to speak with Dr. Brian Belton about the need for youth workers to be critically reflective about who we are as professionals.

Taking our conversation up to the next level we speak about the need for supervision to help youth workers become more critically reflective. We talk about why we need this for the benefit of the profession and for the young people we support.

Thinking Critically About Youth Work: Part 2

Dr. Brian Belton

Brian Belton (FB: @Dr. Brian Belton LI: @Brian Belton) is an international consultant and academic specialising in youth work, supervision and identity studies. Previously he was the Director of International Education, Research and Training at the YMCA George Williams College, London.

Coming from an East London/Gypsy family, Brian played a leading role in the youth gang life of that area in the late 1960s/early 1970s.  While attending Burke Secondary Modern School, Plaistow, he had his brushes with the law (at times more of a large broom). However, with the guidance of Jesus (and a couple of tough but fair coppers) he entered youth work as a volunteer and part-time practitioner in the docklands of the late 1970s.

While working in youth work related situations around the world, including Israel, the Falkland Islands, Germany, the USA, Thailand, Hong Kong, Zambia, South Africa, China and Canada, Brian’s interest in identity and ethnicity flourished and today he is an internationally recognised authority on Gypsy Ethnicity, and the rights of Roma in Europe, having written widely on that subject, delivering papers most recently in the USA, Austria, Greece, Sweden and Slovenia as well as around the UK.  In has recently concluded a three year research programme focusing on the social exclusion of Roma with partners in Spain, Germany and Turkey.

Gaining his professional qualification from the YMCA College and went on to became a Senior Youth Worker in Bethnal Green, employed by the ILEA before achieving a BSc at City University.  Returning to the ILEA he took charge of a major community project in Islington. Spending some time as an area youth officer, Brian successfully completed Masters studies at the University of Essex.

On joining the staff of the George Williams College he started his doctoral work, and gained a PhD in 2000

Currently Brian is developing a growing, worldwide network of practitioners and academics concerned with the exploration of youth work and is starting a project looking to develop a profile of youth work across European Commonwealth Countries, in association with the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Please enjoy this podcast!

Check out the match: CLICK HERE

What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…

SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE

SHOW NOTES

You’re listening to the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast with your host, Aaron Garth [00:20]

Why youth workers need to think critically [00:30]

Asking questions is so important for critically reflective [02:30]

Two camps of youth worker supervisees [03:00]

Youth workers who look after other peoples children and can’t reflect on their practice  and are perplexed and angry [03:30]

This is distressing and is not really talked about in ethics statements [04:45] 

Supervision is core to ethical youth work practice [05:45]

The Munro Report [06:40]

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child  Sexual Abuses – Final Report Recommendations [08:00]

Where is the accountability in ethics? [08:45]

The price of being a professional [10:00]

The struggle of supervision [12:00]

Yes, you should be checked up on, and supported [13:30]

We aren’t able to do everything and we shouldn’t [15:30]

If you are not taking supervision you are simply not professional [17:00]

Supervision is about being open, honest and kind [19:00]

Youth work doesn’t begin and end at the white cliffs of Dover [20:30]

Youth work is not dying but it is changing [23:00]

Youth works gift is walking benignly with young people [25:10]

We need to be true to ourselves to be the critically reflective profession we need to be [26:50]

Adventure, chances and the mountain top [30:00]

SOME QUOTES FORM THE EPISODE

“Most youth workers I’ve come across seem to act like 3rd rate teachers, clueless social workers, amateur psychiatrists (kiddie curers) or jaded child minders”. – Julian, paediatric nurse

“If we’re not thinking about it who is? It’s going to be those other professions. It’s going to be the paediatricians, and the social workers, and the psychologists, and the police and everyone else. And they will probably look at us with a bit of ire there, that we are trying to do so many things. We’re Jacks and Jills of all trades, but what are we really mastering?” – Aaron Garth

Maybe you’re right. Maybe we should be more critically reflective about asking people to be critically reflective” – Brian Belton

Looking after other peoples children, whatever I am doing with them, they are other peoples children;  And I am not capable of thinking about what I am doing. I am just doing… and I do my best. The moment you question me about that, one, I am perplexed, wondering why you asked me. Two, I’m a little bit angry that you asked me. – Brian Belton

You see thats what I find quite distressing on two levels. On a safeguarding level, what are you doing and what you hiding and why do you feel that way? and on another level it feels unfortunate that that person is in a place where they can’t think about what they are doing for whatever reason” – Brian Belton

“It is core to the reflective activity of youth work, supervision” – Brian Belton

“If there is no accountability and there is no way someone can be de-barred from practicing then there is no ethics. You cant have a code of ethics with no agreed accountability” – Brian Belton

“You Should be checked up on. You should want to be checked up on” – Brian Belton

“[Supervision] is the sharing of  practice so we can do what we do better” – Brian Belton

“If you are not taking supervision you are simply not being professional” – Brian Belton

” If you’re not prepared to come and think about what you are doing with other peoples children and look at what you are doing openly and be enthusiastic to do it. I know it’s difficult. I know it’s hard. But, its part and parcel of what you do. and if you cant do it, or you refuse to do it, for whatever reason then you shouldn’t be doing this work” – Brian Belton

“Unless we are not talking about supervision, we are remiss” – Brian Belton

“Actually, there are more youth workers on the planet than any other time in history” – Brian Belton

“We are pretty good at having a whinge as youth workers. It’s easy for us to do. Perhaps the harder but more productive thing is to be critically reflective and ask a few questions of ourselves” – Aaron Garth

“You can demand applause and demand appreciation, but it ain’t going to come” – Brian Belton

“Joy will get us through. Fear will destroy us” – Brian Belton

PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE PODCAST

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Critical Youth Work

Podcast 042: Thinking Critically About Youth Work

Critical Youth Work

In todays episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast, “Thinking Critically About Youth Work: Part One”, Aaron speaks with Dr. Brian Belton about the need for youth workers to be critically reflective about who we are as professionals.

Over the years we have had some really great deep web chats with Brian, but this is the first face-to-face!! I mean he lives in the UK and Aaron is here in Australia! Critically thinking about youth work is something that both Brian and Aaron are very passionate about and we hope these two podcast sessions help you to re-think what you thought you knew about youth work.

Thinking Critically About Youth Work: Part 1

Podcast 042 Brian Belton

Brian Belton (FB: @Dr. Brian Belton LI: @Brian Belton) is an international consultant and academic specialising in youth work, supervision and identity studies. Previously he was the Director of International Education, Research and Training at the YMCA George Williams College, London.

Coming from an East London/Gypsy family, Brian played a leading role in the youth gang life of that area in the late 1960s/early 1970s.  While attending Burke Secondary Modern School, Plaistow, he had his brushes with the law (at times more of a large broom). However, with the guidance of Jesus (and a couple of tough but fair coppers) he entered youth work as a volunteer and part-time practitioner in the docklands of the late 1970s.

While working in youth work related situations around the world, including Israel, the Falkland Islands, Germany, the USA, Thailand, Hong Kong, Zambia, South Africa, China and Canada, Brian’s interest in identity and ethnicity flourished and today he is an internationally recognised authority on Gypsy Ethnicity, and the rights of Roma in Europe, having written widely on that subject, delivering papers most recently in the USA, Austria, Greece, Sweden and Slovenia as well as around the UK.  In has recently concluded a three year research programme focusing on the social exclusion of Roma with partners in Spain, Germany and Turkey.

Gaining his professional qualification from the YMCA College and went on to became a Senior Youth Worker in Bethnal Green, employed by the ILEA before achieving a BSc at City University.  Returning to the ILEA he took charge of a major community project in Islington. Spending some time as an area youth officer, Brian successfully completed Masters studies at the University of Essex.

On joining the staff of the George Williams College he started his doctoral work, and gained a PhD in 2000

Currently Brian is developing a growing, worldwide network of practitioners and academics concerned with the exploration of youth work and is starting a project looking to develop a profile of youth work across European Commonwealth Countries, in association with the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Please enjoy this podcast!

Dr. Brian Belton

What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…

SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE

SHOW NOTES

You’re listening to the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast with your host, Aaron Garth [00:20]

Dr. Brian Belton Biography [01:30]

Paediatric Nurse Julian frames how he has seen youth workers [06:30]

A good number of people were defensive about youth work [09:30]

Lets think about this… [09:40]

First comment from Sarah [10:30]

Chris Comment [10:47]

Asking the right questions about doing youth work [12:30]

Is doing our best at thing that we aren’t good at a good idea? [14:00]

School/youth work project [15:00]

Jacks and Jills of all trades [17:30]

Policy and law missing from youth work education [17:45]

Youth work as a colonial experience [19:00]

Youth work should not be clandestine [23:00]

Youth work and empowerment [24:00]

Authority, Responsibility and Power [26:20]

Youth work is a journey [30:45]

SOME QUOTES FORM THE EPISODE

“Most youth workers I’ve come across seem to act like 3rd rate teachers, clueless social workers, amateur psychiatrists (kiddie curers) or jaded child minders”. – Julian, paediatric nurse

“I think what he [Julian] was talking about is how we have been corralled” – Brian Belton

“We need probably to think a little bit harder about what we want to be, what we can be and what we should be” – Brian Belton

“If anything worries me a little if i am serious, it worries me that if we can’t look at our practice in this way, in this reflective critical manner” – Brian Belton

“Too much agreement kills a chat” Elderidge Cleaver

“Why do we want to do what you might call our best? Isn’t there a case for actually asking the whole question about doing stuff?” – Brian Belton

“The idea that we can be all things to all people and that we should be congratulated for just doing our best, seems to me to be very misguided”- Brian Belton

“i’ve often talked about youth workers as being, we’re sherpas. We walk alongside you. We carry a bit of the load. So that you can take YOUR journey. Whatever journey that is. Whichever mountain YOU are going to climb” – Aaron Garth

PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE PODCAST

Thanks for Listening!

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Work with the Young Person as the Focus

Work with the Young Person as the Focus

I was recently looking at the Certificate IV in Youth Work training package and wondering the age old question of what makes how youth workers engage with young people different. Different from social workers, teachers, student welfare professionals, mental health workers and all the other professions and para-professions that work with young people. It is an age old question in youth work. What do we do? How is this different from everyone else. In fact it is probably the foremost question of our professionalisation debate. The sad fact of the matter is that most youth workers cannot agree on the core tenets of youth work as a profession. It was with all this rattling around in my head when I came across one performance element in the very first youth work unit and my mind was changed, work with the young person as the focus. If youth work students could just fully get this then all the other debates become minutia.

The third performance criteria states that one of the areas of knowledge and skills that a youth worker must hold is to “work with the young person as the focus“. Now, this may seem like a foundational piece of knowledge and it is, after all it is in the first youth work unit of the Certificate IV (CHCYTH001 Engage Respectfully with Young People). It is also a fundamental skillset that many youth workers forget, or worse are required to dismiss. 

You see there are many people in the world who want to guide our young people. For the most part these people have good intentions. Teachers want students to learn so they can get a job and live as part of society. Parents want their children to be safe. Student welfare staff want young people to have the language, literacy and numeracy skills to graduate. However, do they put the young person first? do they work for the young person as the focus? do they have other motives?

This is the key to great youth work ethos as well as exceptional youth work praxis. I will go into more depth below, but in the mean time lets get back to what the training package informs us about this. There are six performance criteria that youth work students must demonstrate here to be deemed to have the knowledge and skills to be a youth work graduate. They are:

  1. Apply youth-centred practices when working with young people 
  2. Respect the rights, needs and responsibilities of the young person 
  3. Explain worker rights and responsibilities to the young person as necessary 
  4. Establish a professional relationship and boundary expectations with the client 
  5. Identify and manage power inequities in the professional relationship 
  6. Apply principles of ethical decision-making in working with young people 
 
Engage Respectfully with Young People

How do we work with young people as the focus?

Apply youth-centred practices when working with young people 

The Youth worker needs to demonstrate that they have a solid grasp on youth-centred practices and how to implement these with young people. This begs the question, what are youth-centred practices? A few that spring to mind are ‘youth engagement’, ‘youth participation’ and Carl Rogers ‘person centred therapy’. There are a few more, but the idea here is the young person needs to be at the centre of the activity of youth work. So, if the young person is not at the centre of your work, you probably aren’t doing youth work. 

Respect the rights, needs and responsibilities of the young person 

We must have a rights based approach to youth work. The Victorian Youth Work Code of Ethics is explicit about this approach. We as youth workers are very much informed by the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child in our dealings with young people. We are also needs based. It is about what our young people need, not their mum, dad, teacher or the local constabulary. The space of responsibilities is a contentious issue for youth workers and is linked heavily to the rights side of things. Here in Victoria we have a Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, it states,  “in protecting the rights of a person there is a corresponding duty to other individuals or the wider society to act responsibly towards them“. As youth workers this means we have the responsibility to protect our young peoples rights, it is not our young peoples responsibility.

Explain worker rights and responsibilities to the young person as necessary 

As youth workers we have many rights and responsibilities. One of our rights is to be safe in our workplace. This is enshrined in work health and safety legislation. Another right is to be paid for our work. These rights and more also come with some responsibilities. Responsibilities such as holding a duty of care, being a fit and proper person and looking out for their safety. Our young people must hear and understand these things. We might even give them an information sheet that explains them.

Establish a professional relationship and boundary expectations with the client 

In his most excellent book “Youth Work Ethics” Professor Howard Sercombe states, “the {youth work] relationship is intentionally limited“. He goes on further to state, “It is a partnership in that space… in which youth worker and young person work together to heal hurts, to repair damage, to grow into responsibility an to promote new ways of being“(2010, p.11). This is one of the most useful steps in the youth work relationship as it clearly identifies to the worker and young person what can and can’t be part of the relationship. We identify timelines for support, clearly identify agreed expectations and put up barriers for protection. This has become an even more important step in Australian youth work since the Royal Commission into Institutional Abuse.

Identify and manage power inequities in the professional relationship 

As youth workers we must recognise that we have power over young people. We might try to minimise its effect, but it is there. How we go about identifying this, potentially with our young people and then managing it is central to being able to build and maintain out relationship. One key way to do this well is to have regular supervision where you are challenged about this.

Apply principles of ethical decision-making in working with young people

Having a code of ethics is a really important step for professional youth work. However the document is useless unless it is put into practice. As youth workers we need ethical decision-making frameworks to help us navigate the murky waters of youth work practice. One clear decision imperative is that our young people are our primary consideration, or as the training package puts it we work with the young person as the focus. We are big fans of Virtue Ethics at Ultimate youth Worker and we use this extensively in our work, however there are a number of ethical decision frameworks that can help us to put our young people at the centre of our decision making processes.


If we are to take youth work to the heights of professionalism we must be able to identify what makes us unique. One of the very clear practices that sets us apart is how we view those we work with. Not as helpless clients but as young people free to determine their futures. For us to engage respectfully with them it must not be from a stance of the all knowing adult. We often say to youth workers that our job is that of a sherpa. We are a knowledgable guide who walks alongside young people and we help to carry the load occasionally while they strive to reach the top of the mountain they are climbing at the time.

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Podcast 041: Listen to Engage

In todays episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast, “Listen to Engage”, Aaron speaks to us about the need for youth workers to listen respectfully to their young people. One of the keys to developing respectful engagement with our young people is the skill of listening to gain understanding of how they view their experiences.

Listen to Engage

We have two ears and one mouth, so the proverb goes, so listen twice as much as you speak. As youth workers we engage in a relational profession. We speak, we listen, we engage. Unfortunately, we can sometimes forget this. We listen to inform our young people of our opinions. We refute or rebut their view of their experiences. To answer before listening is our folly and our shame. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent. For us to engage respectfully we need to put our young people at the centre of our engagement. Treat them with dignity, understand their experiences from their point of view and respect their autonomy

Six steps to good engagement

Here are a few tips that will help you to engage respectfully with your young people. When having a conversation it is extremely important to listen well.

Pay attention

It is easy for our minds to wander. If we do not pay attention it is impossible to engage well. We need to be active listeners. Use our minimal encouragers. Look them in the eyes when they make their points. Focus on what they are saying. Actively listen.

Hold your judgements

Hold your tongue, your beliefs and judgements. This is key to relational practices. What we think is not important here. It is all about being focused on the young person.

Reflect on what has been said

Take time to think. You do not have to speak straight away. Let what has been said truly sink in to your brain and heart.

Clarify

Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood. Make sure you understand what has been said. If you are unsure ask questions to clarify.

Summarise

Once you have paid attention, held your judgement, reflected on what had been said and clarified any misunderstanding this is a good time to summarise and paraphrase what has been said to make sure you have fully understood your young person.

Share

If you have done all of these things then you will have earned the right to speak into the lives of the young people.

Today’s resources

Here are links to some articles and training that have bearing on todays podcast:

Thanks for Listening!

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Supervision

Podcast 040: Supervision

Supervision

In todays episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast “Supervision” Aaron speaks to us about the need for youth workers to have good professional supervision. As an industry that claims professional status it is ludicrous that mot of our members do not receive a minimum of monthly professional supervision..

Supervision

In, the AYAC National Youth Work Snapshot 2013, a survey of youth workers showed that 8.4% of surveyed youth workers had never had a supervision session and around 51.7% receive it less than once every three months. As an industry that claims professional status this is appalling. It is no wonder that the sector in Australia turns over staff at 23% every year. Supervision is important to staff retention.

The best supervisors I have had came from both ends of the qualification spectrum. One was a qualified Social Worker with over a decade of experience who regularly attended courses on supervision. The other was a Youth Worker who had no qualifications but was an avid reader of supervision texts and attended every professional development opportunity focused on supervision. The skill set that both of these supervisors had in common was an eager appetite to better their own practice as supervisors and a great ability to listen and reflect. The styles they used were different, the theoretical focus wide and varied and the outcomes specific to the needs of myself and my clients.

Maidment & Beddoe (2012) believe that supervision must be placed at the core of professional development for staff, “We want to place supervision at the heart of professional development, which is career-long and where, via diverse learning activities, practitioners refine and augment their knowledge, develop skills, and undertake supervision to enhance critically reflective practice”.

The largest cause of burnout within our sector is that of psychological distress with around 23% of work cover claims. Using supervision sessions in the format above creates an opportunity for minimising the distress and maximising longevity in the field. Supervision provides a conduit for communication on specific issues relating to the causes of youth worker burnout. It asks us to be open and responsive to the issues while learning and developing our skills.

But why should youth workers have supervision in the first place???

The short answer is supervision gives us time to reflect and develop our skills to become the best we can be!

The longer answer is as people who are professionals we are required to critically reflect on the work we do through a lens of evidence and research. To do this we need to be held accountable by other practitioners in our field with more experience. The process of professionalisation has changed youth work into an industry which abides by this ethos and expects staff to be held accountable for their work.

What should supervision look like?

We use a model based on the work of Alfred Kadushin where there are at least three distinct spheres to supervision that need to be addressed in each session for effectiveness: understanding the field of practice and how it applies to your tasks, personal support and affect regulation, and the administrative elements to your work within your organisation. As an external supervisor we add the element of professional skills development to this as well.

Today’s resources

Here are links to some articles and training that have bearing on todays podcast:

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

  • Share this cast with a friend or colleague.
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Podcast 039 Why research must inform your practice

In todays episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast “Why research must inform your practice” Aaron speaks to us about the need to use evidence based practice in our youth work. We look at the need for professionals to have a theory base in their industry which informs the way they practice.

Why research must inform your practice

All too often youth workers get tarnished with the reputation of the slackers in the wider human services sector. We just drink coffee and play pool with young people right? Well the sad fact is there are a lot of people who call themselves youth workers out there that this reputation is well deserved. They have no or very little qualification. They have the “experience of one”. If you ask them they are amazing youth workers with all the experience they ever need.

Unfortunately, the average youth worker struggles too. Many youth workers we speak to haven’t read a journal article since they did studies, rarely read a book on youth work and are not part of their professional association. Part of it is the way our profession has been framed, more as a vocational rather than an academic’ profession. We don’t have many University courses. Our professional associations are fledgling and state based with little national leadership in the sector. Our professionals focus on building professional skills in further education with it being rare to see a youth worker go on to a higher degree by research to build knowledge of the youth work profession.

In this context the youth work profession finds itself severely under the pump. Many of our programs are government funded and expected to use evidence based practice to ensure the quality of those programs. As a profession we borrow from many other professions knowledge base and co-opt it for our own purpose. We need to address these short comings if we are to strengthen our profession and the support we can bring to bear for our young people.


Today’s resources

Here are links to some articles and training that have bearing on todays podcast:

Thanks for Listening!

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Podcast 038: Planning for your year ahead

Podcast 038 Planning your year ahead

In todays podcast “Planning your year ahead” Aaron helps us to think about the areas we need to plan for our best year in 2021. We look at our personal and professional lives and set about planning eight areas to develop the best possible start to the year.


Planning for your year ahead

Planning for your year ahead

One of the most important steps we can take for our own development and to be able to provide the best possible service to our young people is to have a clear plan for our year ahead. Most people go through life hoping things will happen for them. They wing it and then they wonder why their dreams never come to fruition.

One of the ways I begin each year is by doing a ‘Wheel of Life’ assessment. It helps me to look at where I am at and where i would like to be. It also helps us to look at the areas of our lives that we need to work on.

The wheel of life measures eight segments of our life:

Career

This category looks at all the aspects of your career. Your employment, your education, your job satisfaction. We need to spend some time unpacking all aspects of our career and the areas we might need to develop.

Is your career where you want it to be by now? Are you heading in the right direction? Do you have the level of qualifications you need for your career path?

A good help for this might be Podcast Episode 007: Career Development.

Finance

This category sometimes goes by the terms “financial security” or “money,” but it refers to your success in managing, budgeting, saving and investing your money. This is an area that human services professionals are notoriously bad at (we don’t earn a lot and no one teaches us how to make what we get work for us in the long term).

Are you earning enough income to satisfy your current needs? Are you financially setup for future growth in wealth? Do you have superannuation or retirement savings plans?

One book we recommend is The Barefoot Investor. It’s a great start to getting on top of our finance. We also recommend you find a good accountant!!!

Health

There are many aspects of our health that we need to look at and in our very first podcast episode we talk about four of them that can help you start this process. Some people prefer to split this category into a physical and emotional distinction only.

How physically healthy are you? Are you satisfied with your level of fitness? Are you satisfied with your diet? When was your last GP check up?

Family and Friends

Many people prefer to divide this into two separate categories, but for a start just use the one. When we have struggles in our family and friendships it will inevitably spill over into the rest of our life categories.

Is your family supportive of you? Are you supportive of your family? Are your friends supportive of you? Do you have good friends?

Romantic Relationship

You might call this category “dating” or “life partner” depending on your personal situation and preference. The gist of this one is do you have someone you are intimate with? That you fully share your life with?

Do you feel loved? How often are you expressing love to others? Do you spend quality time with your partner? Do you know your love language?

Personal Growth

Sometimes this category is labeled “self-development” or “learning,” this category represents the time you spend working toward your personal goals. How are you working towards a better version of yourself?

Do you think of your abilities highly? Do you respect and love yourself? Do you appreciate yourself? How would others rate your contribution to society or them as individuals? How focused are you on personal growth? Are you satisfied with your direction? Are you trying new experiences and seeking to learn? How connected are you to the inner and outer world? Are you satisfied with your relationship with your spiritual being?

Fun and Recreation

You can also label this “leisure” or “social.” This category is all about being excited by life. Being full of zest.

Are you enjoying your life and making it fun? Are you satisfied with the level of activity that you do? Are you engaging friends and socializing to your satisfaction levels? Do you have hobbies or interests that keep you going?

Physical Environment

Your physical environment is all of the physical spaces you spend time. Your home, your workspace, your bedroom, your car, basically wherever you find yourself being.

Is your home clean and tidy? is it affordable? Do you have a space for everything and is everything in its space? Is your desk clean at the end of each day? Do you have good air flow and natural light?

Planning for your year ahead

Thanks for Listening!

  • Share this cast with a friend or colleague.
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  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help the podcast and I read each one.
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2021-New-Years-Resolutions

Podcast 037: 2021 Resolutions

In todays podcast “2021 Resolutions” Aaron muses on the future of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast and all the other goodies that the team are putting together over the next year. We are so excited to see what this year has to unfold. After last year and the huge trial that 2020 was for so many people we believe that 2021 is going to be an awesome year in the youth sector and we hope specifically for the Ultimate Youth Worker tribe that this will be a year of strengthening for you.

Ultimate Youth Worker is now a subsidiary of Ultimate Services Australia PTY LTD. This gives us the financial support to further develop the work we have been doing for the last eight years. This gives us the backing we need to take Ultimate Youth Worker to the next level in 2021.


2021 Resolutions

Weekly Podcast through 2021

Through 2021 we are committed to bringing you a new podcast every week. We are batching our podcast recording so that we can bring a new episode every week. It also means that we can do mini-series throughout the year to meet your training needs. We are focussing on the basics this year. We are looking at youth work careers, professionalisation, mental health and self care. We will throw in a few extra topics as we go but this is the basis for 2021.

Training

Training has been the backbone of Ultimate Youth Worker since we began way back in 2012. We have always had a clear mission to provide the best research based training to youth workers so that we can provide the best support to the young people we serve. In 2021 we are bringing that up a notch.

  • Self-Care online training: Over the past eight years we have run training on self care to close on 1000 Australian youth workers in our face-to-face sessions. These sessions have been really well attended and the feedback we receive is always exceptional. What we have come to realise is that we need to get this training out to more youth workers. To that end we have begun to develop an online course that we are hoping to provide in early 2021.
  • Webinars: Throughout 2020 we had been tasked by the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family welfare to provide some webinars for residential youth workers. These webinars gave us the confidence and experience to look at delivering these to the wider youth work sector. We will look to provide a webinar every month. The areas we will focus on in 2021 are:
    • AOD
    • Trauma Informed Care
    • Mental Health
    • Professionalisation

Supervision

We have been providing supervision for eight years throughout Melbourne. 2020 showed us that the use of Zoom was a legitimate way of providing supervision too. Throughout 2020 we provided supervision from Penrith to Perth, from Deniliquin to Darwin.  If you could use some support to be the best youth worker you can be then we can help you no matter where you are based.

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Child Rights

Podcast 036: Child Rights

Child Rights

In this episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast ‘Child Rights’ Aaron and Jessy give us some insight into the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child and how youth workers can use the articles within it to sharpen their practice.


Child Rights

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989 and was entered into force 2 September 1990.

The fifty-four articles contained in the convention form the basis of many of the legislative frameworks relating to young people in Australia such as the Child Youth and Families ACT (2005) in Victoria and the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. As youth workers it is important for us to understand the articles and reflect on how they influence our practice.

Youth work has long fought for the rights of young people. Our very existence is based on the inextricable fact that young people have rights above and beyond the rights we all have as human beings. Our Codes of Ethics point towards child rights throughout the documents. Our practice frameworks look to empowering young people to understand their rights. In short youth work is a rights driven profession.

Today’s resources

Here are links to some articles and training that have bearing on todays podcast:

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National Principles for child safe organisations

Podcast 035: National Principles for Child Safe Organisations

National Principles for Child Safe Organisations
A summary of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations

In this episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast ‘National Principles for Child Safe Organisations’ Aaron gives us an overview of the ten principles and where they came from. As youth workers our sector has always championed the rights of the child however there hasn’t been a standard that we all were required to meet. The National Principles are a guiding document for all of us in how we are to work with children and young people in Australia.


In 2017 the Australian Government asked the National Children’s Commissioner to lead the development of National Principles for Child Safe Organisations as part of  the Child Safe Organisations project. The Australian Government also commissioned the Australian Human Rights Commission to develop practical tools to help organisations implement the National Principles.

The National Principles were developed under the guidance of Community Services Ministers across Commonwealth, state and territory governments under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020. The ten National Principles respond to recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The National Principles aim to provide a consistent approach to developing organisational cultures of child safety and wellbeing throughout Australia. This will help to keep children and young people safe and mitigate future harm in organisational settings.

The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations reflect the ten child safe standards recommended by the Royal Commission, with a broader scope that covers all forms of harm to children and young people.

In June 2018, the Australian Government tabled its response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations. As one element of its response, the Australian Government established the National Office for Child Safety in July 2018. As of February 2019, the National Principles were endorsed by members of the Council of Australian Governments, including the Prime Minister and State Premiers and Territory First Ministers.


The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations

1. Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture.

This principle provides guidance on the role of organisational leadership and governance in promoting inclusive and welcoming environments for children and young people, a culture of accountability and the ways in which a child safe culture is developed and maintained.

Adoption of this principle shows that the organisation has a commitment to child safety and wellbeing through all levels of the organisation. Governance arrangements are transparent and include a child safety and wellbeing policy, practice guidance, a Code of Conduct and a risk management framework. Governance arrangements vary depending on the type, nature and size of an organisation. Organisational leadership provides an authorising environment for the sharing of information about risks to children and young people.

2. Children and young people are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.

This principle describes an organisational culture that supports children and young people to understand what child safety and wellbeing means. They are informed about their rights and responsibilities in an age appropriate way. They contribute and actively participate in building an organisational culture that is safe for them.

Children and young people know about the organisation’s commitment to child safety and wellbeing and access relevant information and programs. They recognise safe environments and understand protective strategies. In such environments, children and young people feel comfortable participating in decisions and communicating their views and concerns. Ultimately, however, the responsibility for child safety and wellbeing in an organisation rests with the organisation and its workers.

Staff and volunteers value and respect children and young people’s identity and culture, are comfortable and skilled in engaging with them, understand their developmental needs and build on children and young people’s strengths and capacities.

3. Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.

This principle outlines the range of ways an organisation can involve families and the community in its approach to child safety and wellbeing, relevant policies and practices and the provision of accessible information. This will help inform parents and carers about safeguarding children and young people and encourage their feedback and input. They will be empowered to speak up and drive conversations regarding child safety and wellbeing and how and when they can raise issues and concerns.

Families have the primary responsibility for the upbringing of their child, and are aware of their children’s primary protective networks. There is wide variety in the structure of families, the role different family members may play in a child’s life, their backgrounds and cultures. Families and carers are best placed to advise about their children’s needs and capabilities and can inform organisations about practices and environments that are safe for their children and young people. In a safe environment, children, young people, family and community members feel that their culture and identity are respected.

4. Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.

This principle examines how recognition of children and young people’s diverse circumstances enables an organisation to work in a more child centred way and empowers children and young people to participate more effectively. This builds an organisational culture that acknowledges the strengths and individual characteristics of children, and embraces all children regardless of their abilities, sex, gender, or social, economic and cultural background. A welcoming organisation is one where all children and young people feel comfortable and where services are provided in culturally safe and inclusive ways. This reduces the risk of discrimination, exclusion, bullying and abuse.

5. People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.

This principle describes recruitment and staff development policies, including appropriate screening, that are a foundation of child safe organisations. This principle also includes induction training, understanding child safety responsibilities and cultural safety concepts, and appropriate supervision of staff and volunteers. Reporting obligations, training in record keeping and information sharing provide staff and volunteers with the relevant practice tools to better safeguard children and young people.

6. Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused.

This principle provides guidance on how human resource management policies and practices and effective complaints management processes should be accessible, responsive to and understood by children and young people, families, staff and volunteers. Complaint management processes will be linked to the Code of Conduct and provide details about where breaches of the Code have occurred. Training will help staff and volunteers to recognise and respond to neglect, grooming and other forms of harm, provide appropriate support to children and young people in these instances and meet legal requirements. This includes training to assist in responding to different types of complaints, privacy considerations, listening skills, disclosures of harm and reporting obligations.

7. Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training.

This principle emphasises the importance of information, ongoing education and training for staff and volunteers. Staff and volunteers build on their knowledge and skills and evidence-based practice tools through professional seminars and memberships, supervised peer discussions, team training days and access to research and publications. This ensures staff and volunteers develop awareness and insights into their attitudes towards children and young people, and have a contemporary understanding of child development, safety and wellbeing. They will be able to identify indicators of child harm, respond effectively to children and young people and their families and support their colleagues.

Staff and volunteers are able to respond in culturally appropriate ways to children and young people who disclose or show signs that they are experiencing harm outside the organisation. Staff and volunteers are trained in the rights of children and young people in relation to record keeping, and the possible uses and audiences for records that may be created.

8. Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.

This principle highlights that reducing the risk of harm in physical and online environments is an important preventative mechanism. Risk management strategies clarify potential risks where adult to child or child to child interactions occur, or where the physical environment is unsafe. Technological platforms within organisations provide valuable tools in education, communication and help seeking. Risks associated with these platforms are minimised through all necessary means, including: education of children and young people, parents, staff and volunteers about expectations of online behaviour; the application of safety filters; and communication protocols.

9. Implementation of the national child safe principles is regularly reviewed and improved.

This principle emphasises that child safe organisations seek to continuously improve their delivery of child safe services and their operations. They also conduct reviews to ensure that organisational policies and procedures, including record keeping practices, are being implemented by staff and volunteers. The participation and involvement of staff, volunteers, children and young people, families and community mentors in these reviews will strengthen the organisation’s child safeguarding capacities. This includes the importance of reporting on the finding of reviews, and sharing good practice and learnings on a regular basis. Regular reviews ensure that organisations address new challenges or concerns that arise.

10. Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.

This principle outlines the importance of organisations having a clearly documented child safety and wellbeing policy. This will ensure all stakeholders, including organisational staff and volunteers, children and young people and their families and carers, are aware of how the organisation is planning to meet its obligations to create an environment that is safe for children. Partner agencies or organisations funded to provide services to children and young people should demonstrate adherence to child safety and wellbeing policies and practices.

Documenting policies and procedures ensures consistent application of child safe practices across the organisation. It also enables organisations to examine, through review processes, adherence to child safety and wellbeing principles and practices.


Today’s resources

Here are links to some articles and training that have bearing on todays podcast.

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

  • Share this cast with a friend or colleague.
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To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help the podcast and I read each one.
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