To intervene therapeutically in the field of child and youth care, we rely entirely on the relationships we form with the youth and their families. To establish and maintain these relationships, as well as to ensure their quality. We need good communication skills because our work is therapeutic or “healing.”
When we first meet the people with whom we work, we use the terms engaging or engagement. How we first interact with people will set the tone for our future relationship with them. This is also known as “connecting.” Every time we meet a young person, we engage or connect with them, so this will happen the first time we meet them and every time after that. As a result, we must be mindful of how we come across and communicate both verbally and nonverbally, keeping in mind that we use ourselves all the time in our work with young people and their families.
Young people at risk have typically had more than one difficult relationship in their lives, and have frequently been disappointed by adults and other significant people in their lives. They may have struggled with attachment and belonging in their early years. Forming relationships with them is one of the most difficult challenges for professional child and youth care workers.
They could have been hurt numerous times, so they are wary of adults and suspicious of their motives for wishing to establish relationships with them It is critical to understand that this may not be the case. It may not be something personal about you as a worker, but it could be because of a child’s negative experiences in previous relationships. However, this does not mean that we should not also examine how we relate to the child because we might be doing something that makes it difficult for the young person to relate to us.
HOKASA is a family-oriented organization that provides care and protection to children who are found to be in need. We thrive at HOKISA on developing meaningful and therapeutic relationships with the children and youth in our care. Children and young people have formed a special child relationship with the Child and Youth Care workers. These relationships must be built on trust and transparency, which must occur naturally.
When we meet a young person, we try to find a topic that they are interested in when we first meet them, such as how their day was, how school was, what they thought of the soccer game we just watched on TV, and so on. Avoid getting them involved by correcting them for tasks they did not finish, berating them for things they should have done, and so on, as this will make them resistant and defensive, setting the tone for the rest of your time with them. Try to relax and connect with the child in their world by getting a sense of where they “are at.” You must pay close attention to the young person’s mood.
Our model of empowering families to become strong, healthy, and productive members of their communities has proven to be extremely effective in breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect and empowering children in crisis. As a result, we are leading the charge in redefining how we care for and equip children in crisis, positioning HOKISA to have an exponentially greater impact.