Core Attitudes in Child and Youth Care Practice

Contemporary CYC practice has an underlying orientation towards growth and development and a focus on abilities and strengths.  This is a marked shift from the traditional psycho-pathological perspective that viewed children and families in terms of their deficits.  This transition is based in part on research that informs us about how change may best be achieved and in part on new conceptualizations of the family as a system embedded in complex relationships with other systems.

New knowledge leads to different understanding of our world –view; with a fundamental shift in attitudes, beliefs, and values. The importance placed on attitudes in the certification manual reflects the position that there must be congruence between a person’s beliefs/values and their actions/behaviours.   The following list indicates some of the core attitudes present in the CYC world view.  These core attitudes are expressed more specifically in relation to each competency area.  Some examples of the relationship between core attitudes and specific attitudes within each competency area are given in the second column.

Core Attitude Specific Statement
Respect for the child and family That ethical practice includes respect for confidentiality; respect for privacy; respect for the right of children and their families to self-determination or autonomy. (Professional Issues)

That the cultural values and beliefs held by children and their families must be respected. (Systemic Frameworks)

Empowerment of individuals, families and communities That optimal development occurs within the child’s family and community. (Systemic Frameworks)

That enhancing the community’s capacity to provide support and services benefits individual children and their families and in addition the quality of life for the whole community. (Community Development)

Collaboration with children, families and allied professionals and community members That co-operation, collaboration and co-ordination lead to enhanced service delivery to children and their families. (Community Development)

That the child and appropriate advocate (e.g. Social Worker, Guardian) must participate in developing and agree to the terms of their CSP. (Client Service Planning)

Child-centred practice That each child must have a unique CSP that reflects the most current assessment of the child’s needs. (Client Service Plans)

That there is no dominant single, clear-cut, research or theoretically based treatment approach to chemical dependencies. (Individual Interventions)

Positive regard for children and their families That positive regard for the child enhances the child’s self-image. (Relationship Development)

That all families have strengths that can be built upon. (CYC Work With Families)

Focus on social competence– recognising what the child/family can do That day-to-day life experiences are opportunities for social learning and competence development. (Therapeutic Environments)

That each child has areas of competence that are the foundations upon which development must be based. (Individual Interventions)

Respect for difference That the cultural values and beliefs held by children and their families must be respected. (Systemic Frameworks)

That development may occur at different rates in different developmental domains, for example the physical, spiritual, emotional, and cognitive domains. (Lifespan Development)

Deinstitutionalisation and community-based service That co-operation, collaboration and co-ordination lead to enhanced service delivery to children and their families. (Community Development)

That a family environment is the ideal for promoting the healthy growth and development of a child. (CYC Work with Families)

Relationship is the key to intervention That therapeutic relationships are built in environments where structures and routines provide safety and security. (Basic Care)

That the core of the therapeutic milieu is the relationship with the child. (Therapeutic Milieu)

Growth and development is life-long That children’s problem behaviours can be understood as reflective of developmental lags in specific domains. (Lifespan Development)

That the goal of the helping relationship is to foster children’s development. (Relationship Development)

The lifespace offers concrete opportunities for teaching/learning during day to day experience That the therapeutic environment provides teachable moments which enable the child to develop positive self-regard and social competence. (Therapeutic Milieu)

That interventions may be formal (client service plans) or informal (life space interventions) and their basic principles are the same. (Individual Interventions)