FIVE NATIONAL OUTCOMES EDITION
scene IRISH YOUTH WORK CENTRE’S
INSIDE Contributors: Áilish O’Neill Anna Gunning John Cahill John Lonergan David Carroll Mairéad Cluskey John Gilmore
Five National Outcomes for Children and Young People Special Edition ISSUE 80, SEPTEMBER, 2014 ISBN: 0791-6302
Scene Magazine Contents: Issue 80, September, 2014 3
A Word from our CEO Dr. Patrick J. Burke, Youth Work Ireland
Introduction Martina O’Brien, Centre for Effective Services
National Outcome 1: Active & Healthy Áilish O’Neill, NYCI
National Outcome 2: Achieving in all Areas of Life Anna Gunning, YAP Ireland
National Outcome 3: Safe & Protected John Cahill, Foróige
National Outcome 4: Economic Security & Opportunity John Lonergan
National Outcome 5: Connected & Respected David Carroll, BeLonG To
The Commitment of Youth Work Ireland’s Integrated Youth Services Model Mairéad Cluskey, Youth Work Ireland
Research Brief John Gilmore
New Library Resources at the IYWC
Production Editors: Matthew Seebach and Gina Halpin Special Editor for this Edition: Martina O’Brien, Graduate Intern with Centre for Effective Services. All the team at the IYWC and Youth Work Ireland would like to extend a very special thank you to Martina for all her hard work and commitment on this edition. Layout: Gina Halpin Cover Image: Participants from Foróige’s Big Brother, Big Sister Programme. Printing: IFP Media
Contributors: Dr. Patrick J. Burke, John Cahill, David Carroll, Mairéad Cluskey, John Gilmore, Anna Gunning, John Lonergan, Michael McLoughlin, Martina O’Brien and Áilish O’Neill Contact: Irish Youth Work Centre, Youth Work Ireland, 20 Lower Dominick Street, Dublin 1, Tel: 01‐8584512 Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.iywc.ie Disclaimer: It is open to all our readers to exchange information or to put forward points of view. Send in news, comments, letters or articles to the editors. Views expressed in this magazine are the contributors own and do not reflect those of the Irish Youth Work Centre or Youth Work Ireland.
The new overarching national policy framework for children and young people, Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures 2014‐2020 has by and largely received a very positive welcome within the youth work sector and beyond. There is general agreement that the Five National Outcomes outlined in the framework have captured the aspirations we have for young people in Ireland. Without doubt, the intervention of youth work in the lives of young people and their wider communities in a general sense, can be constructed as focused on achieving these outcomes. Clearly however, these outcomes are also the focus of other sectors, and hence we welcome the cross‐departmental, all‐of‐government approach which the framework adopts. Youth work seeks to ensure that young people are active and health (Outcome 1), are achieving their full potential in all areas of learning and developing (Outcome 2), are safe and protected from harm (Outcome 3), are economically secure (Outcome 4), and are connected, respected and contributing to their world (Outcome 5). As this edition of Scene Magazine goes to press, work is underway to develop a new National Youth Strategy which is intended to focus specifically on how we as a society can achieve these outcomes for young people, aged 10 to 24. Again, the implementation of this Strategy will be led by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, but elements of it will be shared by all other government departments. Without doubt the youth work sector will have a strong role to play. Over the next few months it is important that as a sector, we create spaces to reflect on how we can and should contribute; explore what the new strategy means for us and our work, and how we can effectively work with others (in other sectors) in creative, effective and respectful ways. The new overarching policy framework is welcome and has received widespread support in the sector. It is imperative that the new National Youth Policy now provides the sector with the support it needs to deliver its supports and services to young people. Dr. Patrick J. Burke CEO, Youth Work Ireland
Introduction to this edition Martina O’Brien, Centre for Effective Services and Youth Work Ireland ‘From looking back and responding – to looking forward and planning” Minister Frances Fitzgerald
all areas of Learning and Development, Safe and Protected from Harm, Economic Security and Opportunity and Connected, Respected and Contributing.
While speaking at the launch of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People: 2014 – 2020, the then Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald emphasised the fact that the national policy framework is a ‘first’ for Ireland, a commitment to improving the outcomes for children and young people, starting with the Government and involving policy makers, practitioners and service providers.
The outcomes are underpinned by six transformational goals: Support parents, Earlier intervention and prevention, Listen to and involve children and young people, Strengthening transitions and Cross government and interagency collaboration and co‐ ordination. These goals outline the enabling contexts that must exist to ensure better outcomes for children and young people.
In recent years, there have been a number of policy milestones for Ireland’s children and young people including, the Children’s Referendum, the establishment of Tusla: the Children and Family Agency and the launch of the Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: Ireland’s first overarching policy framework . This policy framework will be accompanied by three constituent documents currently being developed. These key policy statements: National Early Years Strategy, National Youth Strategy and the Policy on Children and Young People’s Participation of Decision‐making will provide the principles, priorities and implementation plans on which better outcomes for children and young people will be achieved. Previous editions of Scene Magazine have sought to briefly discuss the policy framework and its potential. This edition and its accompanying symposium aim to give the youth work sector the opportunity to critically engage with Better Outcomes, Brighter Future and its five national outcomes: Active and Healthy, Achieving in
Is this framework really what young people want and need? If so, how best can the existing expertise of the youth sector be utilised within the forthcoming National Youth Strategy? Should the youth work sector accept the aims outlined in Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures wholeheartedly and without question? What impact will the upcoming National Youth Strategy have on the youth work sector? This edition aims to inform the youth sector on what it is the policy framework and its three constituent strategies intend to achieve. Equally important, it also allows for discussion on how the framework intends to achieve better outcomes for children and young people. We all know the value of youth work in improving outcomes for young people but as a sector there is a need to explore how this value can be best harnessed to achieve these outcomes and how youth work services can best support the national outcomes and contribute to the development and implementation of the upcoming National Youth Strategy. This exploration will
Issue 80, September, 2014
Intro include the re‐examination of existing issues within the youth work sector alongside the fresh challenges and prospects that the national policy framework has to offer. Each of the national outcomes is individually discussed in this edition by contributors who offer, through their own experiences, practices and knowledge, an insight into how each respective outcome relates to the positive social development of a young person and the challenges and opportunities for the youth sector in helping young people realise the outcomes. Achieving Outcome 1: Active and Healthy relies on maintaining the balance – ‘meeting the needs of young people while identifying and supporting the factors that support wellbeing’, according to Áilish O’Neill, from NYCI. To address health inequalities, services being delivered must address the needs of a young person and enable them to become ‘active agents’ in improving their own health and wellbeing – an approach central to existing youth work practice. The challenge of maintaining the balance is also considered by Anna Gunning from Youth Advocacy Programme in her article. Anna argues that to achieve Outcome 2: Achieving in all areas of learning and development, all young people must be supported in their learning and development, not just those in the most disadvantaged areas. Furthermore, this holistic approach should encompass existing youth work practices to promote and maximise the impact of learning and development in all settings, both formal and non‐formal. The youth work sector is already playing a significant role is in realising Outcome 3: Safe and Protected from Harm. John Cahill from Foróige offers a unique insight into the need to strengthen protective factors for not only young people, families and the community. To build stronger young people, more effective collaboration between services providers is necessary to ensure a consistent approach is being taken in ensuring all young people are safe and protected from harm. Positive, professional relationships, central to the process of youth work, are further discussed by John Lonergan, former Governor of Mountjoy Prison. Placing the young person at the core of any intervention is crucial to support, encourage and nurture the change needed in young people to achieve Outcome 4: Economic Security and Opportunity.
Issue 80, September, 2014
David Carroll from BeLonG To provides a thought‐provoking and challenging perspective from a critical social education lens to achieving Outcome 5: Connected, Respected and Contributing. Youth work, according to David, must ‘affect positive social change beyond traditional youth work settings’ by advocating for the rights of all young people. This will mean forging new collaborative and effective working relationships with all responsible for improving outcomes for young people. Throughout the discussion on outcomes, it is evident that to improve the lives of young people, the outcomes must not be taken in isolation. Maireád Cluskey, President of Youth Work Ireland, acknowledges this in her article on integrated youth service models. John Gilmore, from ECYC furthers this discussion by examining the evidence of youth work to the lives of young people through his analysis of the recently released report by the European Commission, Working with young people: the value of youth work in the European Union. This edition offers the chance to step back, reflect and digest the five national outcomes, outlined in Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures, in the context of youth work. The National Policy Framework is ambitious and will not address all issues for all young people. It is, however, important that the youth sector’s existing expertise is best utilised to support the personal and social development of all young people. Taken together, the articles provide valuable insights into how the youth work sector does and can impact on improving outcomes for young people. Perhaps, the role of youth work in supporting the realisation of the outcome the young people can be succinctly described in the following quote: We cannot always build the future for our youth but we can build our youth for the future’ Franklin D. Roosevelt Martina O’Brien, is a Graduate Intern with the Centre for Effective Services and is currently on secondment to Youth Work Ireland. She has an M.A. in Community Development and her areas of interest include the delivery of effective intervention programmes within communities, strategic planning and evaluation of existing services. Contact Martina at email@example.com
E1 M O C T U althy e O H nd a e v i Act
Active and Healthy What causes wellness: Áilish O’Neill, NYCI
"Health is created and lived by people within the settings of their everyday life; where they learn, work, play, and love" 1. Young people across Ireland are growing up in a wide variety of settings and environments, all of which powerfully influence their health outcomes. Dahlgren and Whitehead’s (1992) social model of health details the layers of influence, (the determinants of health) on an individual’s potential for health. A young person’s individual modifiable lifestyle factors will be heavily influenced by their friendship patterns and the social norms of their community, which in turn, will be supported by the social and community networks
of their locality. The health and wellbeing of young people is further influenced by wider structural determinants, namely housing, education and work, as well as cultural and environmental conditions.
Goal 1 of Healthy Ireland complements Outcome 1, advocating for a life course approach to support lifelong health and wellbeing. The life course approach underpins the value of continued, integrated investment on
Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014‐ 2020, has identified five national outcomes. Outcome 1: Active & Healthy aims for all children and young people in Ireland to enjoy good health. The national policy builds on Ireland’s first public health policy document – Healthy Ireland, A Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013‐2025.
“Have dance classes for P.E. if some people like to dance and not other sports” Voice of Young Person
the determinants of health from early childhood through to adolescence and early adulthood. Goal 2 calls for a reduction in health inequalities – ‘preventable and unjust differences in health status experienced by certain population groups’ 2. Enjoyment of health is not evenly distributed across Ireland’s youth population. There is a social gradient in health, this means the lower a young person’s social position, the worse his or her health. The Government has committed to tackling inequalities in health outcomes in Better Outcomes Brighter Futures. The youth work sector is well placed to address the area of health inequalities, with a strong history of
Issue 80, September, 2014
working to address social inequalities. Indecon’s 3 independent analysis of the youth sector, commissioned by the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), indicates that 53.3% of young people participating in youth organisations in Ireland are socially or economically disadvantaged. A clear profile of the health needs of the young people participating in youth work nationally and locally would further inform on program delivery and level of need. The National Quality Standards Framework (NQSF) through Core Principle 1, ‘Young Person Centred’ provides a basis to the youth sector to map and communicate the health needs of young people. Better Outcomes Brighter Futures has articulated that ‘resource allocation within services will be based on evidence of both need and effectiveness’. Health inequalities are also evident between different genders and ethnic groups. In Ireland, within the youth population there are groups, who are perceived to be at higher risk than other young people, of experiencing ill health. These include young people in poorer families, young travellers, young migrants and young people with disabilities 4. To successfully tackle health inequalities, it is imperative that investment is not focused solely on the most disadvantaged. In order to reduce the steepness of the social gradient in health, investment must be universal but at an intensity that is proportionate to the level of need.
• Closing the gap between the most affluent and the most deprived. • Reduce the steepness in the gradient of health.
“Make people aware that you are going to become obese if you don’t act healthy” Voice of Young Person
The youth sector has, and continues to support universal service delivery along with more targeted intervention for the varying levels of health needs experienced by young people. Through evolving structures such as Children’s Services Committees and Local Area Pathways, the use of the Hardicker model has become prominent. The model outlines 4 levels of intervention. Level 1 refers to mainstream, universal services while levels 2, 3 and 4 provide more focused services to young people at greater levels of risk. Universal services play an active role in prevention, ensuring greater numbers do not move further up the model.
To ensure the successful delivery of Aim 1.2 ‘Good Mental Health’ the youth sector, needs to adopt both a general population approach and a targeted approach to mental health and wellbeing. Examples of universal service delivery in the youth sector include the implementation of the Mindout programme. This evidence based national programme works to demystify the subject of mental health, challenges social stigmas and empowers young people to communicate on mental health, building their mental health literacy and coping strategies. To complement universal delivery, the youth sector needs to consider a more targeted approach to meet the needs of particular population groups. For example research from the Young Men & Suicide Project 6 identified the need for an increased focus on mental health promotion and suicide prevention specifically among boys and young men. Programmes and services need to be planned with young men in mind, developing trust and safety through the creation of non‐threatening and male friendly environments. The sector needs to work with young men to ensure their involvement in programme development, and delivery using avenues that appeal to young men.
This is referred to as ‘proportionate universalism’, the phrase coined by Michael Marmot, chair of Fair Society, Healthier Lives, the Marmot Review (2010) 5. Therefore action to reduce health inequalities across the youth sector needs to take all three of the following approaches: • Improve the health of the most disadvantaged young people through targeted programmes.
Young people from Tipperary Regional Youth Service receiving their award having achieved the Gold Standard Health Quality Mark
Issue 80, September, 2014
Aim 1.3 recognises the importance of a ‘Positive and Respectful Approach to Relationships and Sexual Health’. Concerns regarding the sexual health and relationships of young people are not new however, the development and expansion in the use of technology has changed the nature of the discussion. Young people are disclosing more information about themselves in an online forum and traditional offline activities have moved into an online space, with less adult visibility and involvement.
meeting the needs of people and identifying the protective factors that support the health and wellbeing of people. Youth work is based on dialogue and relationship building and has a strong history of working to identify, build and enhance the assets and strengths of young people. A central component of any health related needs assessment process should incorporate an asset mapping activity, helping to empower young people to identify, articulate and celebrate their strengths as well as their needs.
This coupled with the ease of access to adult or extreme Health focused work and activity is a key component of material can have a damaging impact on young people’s the youth work sector. A consistent evidence based and view and understanding of positive and respectful evidence informed approach, systematic collection and sexual relationships. A digital divide exists analysis of data as well as sharing best practice across between those who have a the sector will ensure a continued and enhanced responsibility to educate and build contribution to Outcome 1, Active & Healthy. “Have a the skill set of young people and The sector champions a holistic approach to healthy eating the behaviours and norms created the promotion of health and wellbeing. The by the digital world. The youth sector recognises mental and emotional policy in every sector needs access to up‐to‐ health, physical health, social health, sexual school” date, relative resources and health and spiritual health as the core Voice of Young training which equips workers to components of a young person’s health and Person explore the trends, attitudes and wellbeing as captured in the NYHP’s health behaviours of young people’s sexual promotion manual – Promoting Health in the health. NYCI’s Child Protection Youth Sector ‐ see www.youthhealth.ie programme has developed an online resource and accompanying training to support the References: youth sector in this regard http://websafety.youth.ie/ Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures recognises that part of achieving Outcome 1 is around ‘recognising the role of children and young people themselves as active agents in shaping and protecting their own health and wellbeing’. Rather than being passive recipients of interventions, it is crucial that young people are empowered and supported to shape and influence their settings. The settings based approach ‘sees health as the dynamic product of interactions between individuals and their environments’ 7. The HSE Health Promotion Strategic Framework identifies the youth sector as a key setting for health promotion. The settings based approach is evident throughout the sector and is further highlighted through the national roll out of the Health Quality Mark, managed by the National Youth Health Programme (NYHP). Health promoting youth organisations are working daily to create positive health promoting spaces, challenging social norms and empowering young people to take action to improve their health and wellbeing. To further complement the settings approach, youth organisations endorse and utilise an assets based approach. An assets based approach to health emphasises the need to redress the balance between
1. The Ottawa Charter (1986). WHO 2. Institute of Public Health. Health Inequalities (online) Available at www.publichealth.ie/healthinequalities/ healthinequalities (Accessed: 20 August 2014) 3. National Youth Council of Ireland (2012). Indecon’s Assessment of the Economic Value of Youth Work. 4. Molcho, M., Kelly, C., Gavin, A. & Nic Gabhainn, S. (2008). Inequalities in health among school‐ aged children in Ireland. 5. UCL Institute of Health Equity (2010). Fair Society, Healthy Lives. The Marmot Review 6. Richardson, N., Clarke, N. & Fowler N. (2013). Young Men & Suicide Project 7. Dooris, M. (2004). Joining up settings for health: a valuable investment for strategic partnerships? Critical Public Health 14(1), 49‐61.
Áilish O’Neill is Health Promotion Project Officer with the National Youth Health Programme, NYCI See www.youth.ie Scene Magazine
Issue 80, September, 2014
Strengthening the links between theory and practice in youth work SERIES OF WORKSHOPS Dates: Wednesday 15th October, Cork Wednesday 12th November, Dublin The Quality Standards Training and Resources Group, the Centre for Effective Services, CDYSB, and Youth Work Ireland are pleased to announce two free workshop on strengthening the links between theory and practice in youth work. These interactive workshop will introduce the Ideas in Action in Youth Work resource, developed by CES with valuable contributions from a working group led by the City of Dublin Youth Service Board. This two-part resource has been designed to help practitioners in planning their work, putting that planning into practice, and evaluating the results. The workshop will cater for a diverse range of users including: • Practitioners: in responding to the NQSF and seeking to improve their practice. • Line managers: in supporting front line workers to develop practice. • Education and Training Board Officers: In assisting practitioners to fulfil the requirements of the NQSF. • Trainers: in assisting workers to develop skills and knowledge. • Academics: in teaching students about the links between theory and practice. • Students: in developing their understanding of theory.
Content will include Theory, Theorists, Guidelines and Models of Youth Work Practice, Continuous Improvement Cycles, Values and the Uses of Evidence. The workshop will be supported and hosted by members of the QSTRG including CES, CDYSB, IYWC and Youth Work Ireland. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Registration will begin at 10am and the workshop will run until 1.30pm. The Dublin workshop will take place in the national office of Youth Work Ireland at 20 Lower Dominick Street, Dublin 1. The venue for the Cork workshop has yet to be confirmed. Full details of the day schedule plus bookings can be found at:
http://www.youthworkireland.ie/events or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org / 01-8584512
E2 M O C OUT ieving Ach
Achieving in all Areas of Life Anna Gunning, YAP Ireland
s youth workers and practitioners on the ground, the wider strategy document is probably something which we can all agree is a good idea, and provides a way forward for the development of policy and practice relating to children and young people in Ireland. However, as practitioners in the non‐formal sector, it would be easy to give less time to the goal of achieving full potential in learning and development, and to focus more on the goals of well‐being and connectedness. However, within the document it is highlighted that young people themselves named education as the best thing about living in Ireland. It was also named as the number one area for improvement, citing class sizes and more facilities. Clearly, education, in all its dimensions is a central concern for children and young people as it is such a big part of their lives, even when they struggle to fit into the traditional approach and settings of education. This national outcome sets out fairly broad aims around education and it also highlights the relevant sections of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child where this national outcome is focussed. For youth workers and other practice staff who support young people largely in an out‐of‐school setting, the goal of young people and achieving their
full potential in learning and development is interpreted quite broadly and viewed from a holistic perspective. We look not only at the issues of attendance and academic achievement but also at what helps a young person to learn and what are the things that are in a young person’s life which contribute to
“People should learn what they want which can lead to less drop outs” Voice of Young Person
better outcomes in learning and development. Every young person brings with them into the classroom or training centre, a complex range of experiences and varying levels of supports or challenges that will influence how they learn. It is this aspect that youth work can have a huge impact on, and transform challenges into real achievements and lifelong strengths. Within the policy framework document, the issues which I feel are the most pertinent to the youth work sector are the following:
The universal benefits of youth work and non‐ formal learning Youth work funding is still targeted largely at young people in areas of socio‐economic disadvantage, therefore many young people who face challenges, and are not reaching their potential, cannot easily access the non‐formal education services that are proven to demonstrate positive outcomes for all young people in achieving full potential in learning and development. One youth worker comments in the Purpose and Outcomes of Youth Work report (2010) that: ‘we would find a lot of youngsters who are supposedly quite advantaged, in serious crisis in their lives, seriously lacking skills around communicating, around expressing their needs and concerns, youngsters who are self‐harming because they don’t have a way in which to talk about what’s going on in their lives’. The above named report goes on to give many examples of positive outcomes for young people who participate in youth work interventions and have achieved real and lasting educational outcomes by having the support of youth workers in addressing challenges.
Issue 80, September, 2014
This national outcome does recognise the ‘need to support and improve recognition of the role of non‐formal and informal learning, and in particular the contribution of youth work’. Youth work and other non‐formal interventions have increasingly demonstrated their ability to identify and measure real outcomes from the work they do. It is now time to move beyond this and to translate this commitment into the resources and political support which is required to provide a holistic approach to supporting young people to achieve their potential in learning and development.
“More support for students who are mentally unwell” Voice of Young Person
The importance of a partnership approach to supporting young people. The national outcome highlights the importance of strengthening relationships between schools, parents and communities, and also of building social capital in communities. The role of parents is crucial to young people achieving their potential. In a conference organised by the Youth Advocate Programme in 2011 around the theme of education, parents acknowledged that school has generally changed for the better but that their own negative experiences of education often makes it more difficult for them to approach the school to gain support for their own children. Parents need to be supported to engage with the schools and in turn support their children’s learning and development. Programmes such as
Issue 80, September, 2014
YAP Ireland and also other youth work programmes have done this work very successfully and with good outcomes.
Education is more than just gaining knowledge; it is about learning critical thinking skills This point is again borne out by the findings in the Purpose and Outcomes of Youth Work research and it is this critical thinking skill for young people which will have an enormous impact on the outcome of young people achieving full potential in learning. In this research piece, young people and youth workers both cited things such as increased self‐esteem, enhanced personal and social awareness, increased practical skills and improved communications and relationships with adults in the community as being key outcomes of youth work. The specific skills of
youth work and youth workers can support young people in learning these skills and bringing this to their wider learning and development.
“Less book learning, more education of life” Voice of Young Person
Importance of the transformational goals It is difficult to discuss the national outcome on learning and development without focussing on the importance of the transformational goals in the achievement of these national outcomes. In particular the goals around supporting parents, listening to and involving young people, ensuring quality and promoting a cross governmental and inter‐agency approach. These goals will be crucial to ensuring outcomes that are sustainable and meaningful, particularly for the children and young people themselves.
In Conclusion In conclusion, I feel that the outcome of achieving full potential in learning and development is one which is central to the achievement of the broader aims of the overall framework document. Youth Work’s contribution to this is one which has the potential to make real changes. The new strategy document for youth will hopefully outline the process and the steps to achieving the five national outcomes for young people. It needs to clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of the different agencies and organisations and move quickly towards implementing and resourcing actions arising out of the document.
Anna Gunning is Head of Service with Youth Advocate Programmes Ireland. For more information contact www.yapireland.ie
Youth Work’s Contribution to National Outcome 3
OUT Safe a COME 3 nd Pr otect ed
Safe and Protected from Harm John Cahill, Foróige
s a society we value our children and look to provide the best environment and circumstances for them to grow up in. Fundamentally, parents want only good for their children as they come into the world and strive to ensure that they grow safely and healthily and reach their full potential. It’s what we all want for all the young people of Ireland. In youth work we believe that what we have to offer is unique, of great value and complementary to young people’s development in the home and school. This is true for all our youth work, from the universal volunteer led youth group in the local hall, to the more targeted, specific staff led support and intervention to young people experiencing some level of disadvantage or adversity in their lives. Despite what we might want for our young people, the life situation of some may well result in them at times being unsafe and at risk from harm. The risk or threat could emanate from themselves, from their family, their social group, their local community or even cyberspace. Their homes may be volatile and unstable. They may be experiencing abuse, neglect or exploitation. They may be victims or indeed perpetrators of bullying, discrimination crime or anti‐social behaviour. In our work with young people, child protection and welfare must be of paramount importance – it must be up front and central in all
we do. When we become aware of, or are highly suspicious of a child protection or welfare issue, we must act immediately to have the protection or welfare issue responded to appropriately. Along with young people themselves, skilled parents, strong families and communities also play a role in ensuring safer and more protected young people. However, in some cases, families or communities can be the source of the harm or perhaps just cannot provide them with the safety or protection they need. Therefore, it is vital that efficient Child Protection and Welfare Services and Systems are in place. It is important that protective factors both within young people themselves but also within their families and communities are strengthened to enable young people to grow and develop positively. It is important that young people are encouraged and supported to speak up, make their voices heard and look for help or support. However, speaking up is not enough, they must also be listened to and responded to appropriately. So, what are the fundamentals that should inform best practice in the youth work sector in child protection and welfare? We should recognise that: • The protection and welfare of young people is of paramount importance and this should be reflected in all youth work.
“Teach kids more about safety” Voice of Young Person
“Proper walking and cycling paths that are well lit” Voice of Young Person
“Have more people trained to help with the problems” Voice of Young Person
“Increase amount of Garda” Voice of Young Person
• Some young people and families need support. Youth work can enhance a young person’s ability to keep themselves safe and protected from harm, whether the risk is emanating from themselves, a parent, family, someone in the community or online. • Early intervention is needed to address the needs of at risk young people and families. • Prevention, detection of and response to abuse or neglect requires a co‐ordinated multi‐disciplinary approach. • Young people have a right to be heard, listened to and taken seriously. It is important to recognise that youth work for some time has been proactive in relation to the issue of protection of young people and will continue to play its part in the future. Some of the elements of good practice within youth work include: • Policies and Procedures: Having in place and implementing a robust policy and procedures on protecting young people that is derived from and consistent with Children First: National Guidance (2011). These must be complemented by a range of other policies and procedures relating to our youth work including, NQSF, Recruitment of Staff and Volunteers, Integration, Online Safety, Bullying, Feedback and Complaints, Code of Good Practice, Staff and Volunteer Training including Child Protection Training. • Engagement with Significant Adults: Involving young people voluntarily in youth work structures that engage them with positive, supportive and developmental relationships with adults, including adult volunteers, adult mentors or paid staff. • Safe Spaces: Providing safe, welcoming and inclusive spaces for all young people including those most vulnerable, to gather, hang out and socialise in. • Programmes that are Protective and Enhancing: Engaging young people in programmes and activities that
enable them to reduce risk factors and enhance protective factors. These include self‐confidence, communication skills, teamwork, resilience, civic engagement, pro‐social behaviour, health and wellbeing, relationships and sexuality, anti‐bullying, crime prevention and substance misuse. • Interventions with Parents: Where appropriate, providing, opportunities for parents to engage in training/ information sessions on particular issues such as parenting skills, bullying, drug prevention, online safety. In particular circumstances, youth work organisations can provide family support services directly to young people and their families. • Collaboration with others to Enhance Safety and Protection: Collaborating directly with appropriate services like Tusla or through the new Practice Model, Meitheal, and the Local Area Pathways, and developing connections and referral pathways for young people who need specialist services. • Advocacy: Advocating on behalf of and supporting young people to raise issues that impact on their safety and welfare. We must not lose sight of the fact that the majority of the young people we engage with are, in the main, safe and protected from harm. Once we have clear policies and procedures in relation to issues of Child Protection and Welfare, and programmes that enable young people to reduce their risk factors and strengthen their protective factors, contributing to keeping young people safe and protected from harm should not become an overwhelming issue in youth work. Having said this, the biggest challenge in addressing this national outcome relates to targeted and universal youth work. There is an increased focus on targeted youth work services, potentially to the detriment of universal services. With no new resources on the horizon, there is a concern that resources for universal
Issue 80, September, 2014
services could be redirected or, universal services will be refocused. This would impact significantly on the access to, and quality of general youth work services for significant numbers and ultimately would be a poor outcome for young people. Interagency collaboration in the future is both a challenge and an opportunity. In order to achieve the outcome, more collaborative interagency work must happen. In the face of increasing demands with no extra resources, maintaining our integrity and the core nature of our work as “a planned programme of education designed for the purpose of aiding and enhancing the personal and social development of young persons through their voluntary participation” (Youth Work Act 2001) and not being positioned to take on investigative or care functions which is outside the remit of youth work will be a challenge. However, if we can engage effectively, and if there is a clear understanding of what youth work can contribute to the agenda of keeping young people safe and protected from harm, then there is an opportunity for youth work to be recognised and valued as a worthwhile and effective intervention in the lives of young people in Ireland today. This will allow us to explore together new models or ways of working with others to realise better outcomes for young people.
In Conclusion In conclusion, we need to recognise the significant role that youth work currently plays in achieving outcome 3, “Keeping Children and Young people safe from harm”. We have clear policies and procedures and standards in place around protecting young people from harm within our own services and responding if we become aware of or suspicious of harm elsewhere in a young person’s life. We offer a range of opportunities and programmes that reduce risk and enhance protective factors in young people, parents and communities. For the future we need to embed these policies, procedures and programmes deeper into our organisations. We need to collaborate more effectively with Tusla and other relevant agencies and bodies to look to identify risk earlier, provide earlier interventions and explore new initiatives that will lead to even better outcomes for young people.
John Cahill is Assistant CEO with Foróige For more information contact www.foroige.ie
4 E M CO ecure T U O ally S c i m o Econ
Economic Security and Opportunity John Longergan
am honoured to be asked to write this article for Scene Magazine and to share my experience of working with young people. I first worked with young people way back in 1972 when I worked in Shanganagh Castle, an open detention centre located in Co. Dublin. At that time Shanganagh Castle was a new and innovative initiative. It accommodated up to 60 boys between the ages of 16 and 21 years, who were originally sentenced to detention in St. Patrick’s Institution, a secure detention centre located in the Mountjoy Prison complex. There was a huge psychological difference between serving time in St. Patrick’s and Shanganagh Castle, in St Patrick’s the boys were physically confined behind high walls, whereas in Shanganagh Castle there were no physical security barriers. The boys could walk out if they wished, now they would be re‐arrested in due course and returned to St. Patrick’s by the gardai, but for those who stayed, and the vast numbers did, their regime was far more relaxed than St. Patrick’s and the overriding dynamic was one of mutual trust.
Over the years I have often spoken and written about the dynamic of mistrust which underpins all secure institutions, while in open centres the whole philosophy is based on trust, and the difference is immense. Environments of mistrust are by no means exclusively confined to secure institutions, many people, young and old, live their daily lives in such conditions. Generally speaking I believe that people grow and mature in environments of trust while are likely to stagnate or regress in environments of mistrust. I want to share a number of invaluable lessons that I learned in my early days working with young people, indeed, lessons for life. I discovered that to get the best out of any boy it was absolutely essential to develop a positive professional relationship with him based on a foundation of trust. This philosophy has stood the test of time and I am convinced that without such a relationship little progress will be achieved when we are working with young people, especially young people who come from socially disadvantaged areas. I learned that, even when doing it with the very best of intentions,
Issue 80, September, 2014
“Everyone we cannot force young people to change. If we want meaningful and lasting change then we must work on the basis of gaining their agreement and consent. We must support, encourage and nurture change, but we must resist the temptation to try to impose it. We can try but it’s my experience that in the long‐term such an approach will fail. I discovered that the first step in developing positive relationships with young people is to be prepared for the long haul; real and genuine relationships take time to build, they won’t happen overnight and the journey is often frustrating and challenging, requiring patience. This often means biting your tongue and maintaining an absolute belief in the young person’s potential. I found that to develop real and lasting relationships with young people it was essential to spend a lot of time listening, I would go so far as to say that listening is the single most important task for all those who work with young people. But listening is one of the most challenging and demanding disciplines of all. I should stress that the important thing is to hear the young person, too often we listen but we don’t always HEAR. When we hear we can empathize and understand, two key elements in building sound relationships. I also found that many young people with socially disadvantaged backgrounds grew up to mistrust people in authority, indeed, many had very negative experiences of such people, as a result many of them felt disconnected and alienated and had very low self‐confidence. So the challenge was, and is, to connect with them, to reach out to them, to create a safe environment for them, to allow them to be themselves, to accept them as there are, to keep rules to the minimum, to avoid confrontation at all cost and to encourage, encourage, encourage.
When reflecting on Better should have some Outcomes Brighter sort of degree or Futures, Outcome 4: qualification, but Economic Security and people can’t afford opportunity, I believe the to get one” priority must be to Voice of Young Person support children born into social deprivation and poverty. I believe the philosophy that I have outlined in this article should form the basis of this response. I have argued for many years that the circumstances of birth play the most significant role of all in every child’s future. For those born into poverty their life opportunities are greatly restricted and, in too many cases, totally diminished. I am convinced that every child has a special and unique talent. However, those born into poverty are seldom given the opportunity to discover their talents let alone to develop them to their potential. Over the years I have met hundreds of wonderfully talented young people, talented to their finger‐tips but sadly they had never discovered their talents. So much depends on opportunity, we must provide all young people with the opportunity to discover their own unique talents and to develop them to their full potential.
I have no reservations in saying that EDUCATION is the pathway out of social deprivation and poverty, the challenge is how to keep young people living in socially deprived areas engaged in our education system right through to third level. This is a particular challenge for our educational system, the current one size fits all approach must be reviewed. The huge emphasis on academic achievement is far too one dimensional, the system must be much more flexible and proactive in its response to what is a “Free significant economic, social and educational Providing them with activities that education or they enjoy is also vital, when a young benefits for those issue. Currently thousands of young people are person is enjoying an activity it makes who can’t afford it” totally disconnected from our educational system. Much of the research in Better the world of difference. I found that Voice of Young Person Outcomes Brighter Futures clearly shows a the creative arts often provided very strong connection between poverty and low enjoyable activities for young people, educational attainment by those trapped in it, were always very popular and unless this connection is tackled and broken provided very flexible and relaxing little will change into the future. As a society we must activities. The secret is to connect with the young resist the urge to enforce social change, I suggest the people, once the connection is bedded down progress following approach as a template to follow: will follow. When working with young people we must be optimistic and non‐judgemental; we must strive to “Go to the people, Live with them, Learn from keep them inside rather than outside, when they are them, Love them”. Start with what they know, present in the classroom, training centre, youth club or build with what they have, but with the best sports club there is some chance that they will connect leaders, when the work is done, the task with someone or something, if, on the other hand, they accomplished, the people will say, We have done are on the outside they are lost and disconnected and this ourselves” Lao Tsu, 700 B.C. their futures are bleak. Keeping young people engaged must be the top priority, the easy options of expelling or John Lonergan is the former Governor of Mount Joy excluding must be resisted, we must never write off or Prison, Author and Presenter of RTE’s John Longergans’ dispose of young people, they must be given hope. Circus.
Issue 80, September, 2014
E5 M O C OUT nected Con
Connected and Respected David Carroll, BeLonG To
ne of the facets which Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures conveys emphatically is an acknowledgement of the diversity of those who make up the catch‐all term ‘young people’. The awareness of such diversity, which permeates throughout the entire national policy framework, is especially prominent in Outcome 5: ‘Connected, Respected & Contributing to their world’. The aims of this section are both broad and ambitious, but clearly establish the need for all children and young people to:
• Have a sense of their own identity, free from discrimination. • Have positive networks of friends, family and community. • Be civically engaged, socially and environmentally conscious. • Be aware of their rights, responsible and respectful of the law. At BeLonG To, we’ve spent over a decade working to ensure the voices and needs of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young people are heard and addressed, both in youth work settings and beyond. Although written with the wider youth sector in mind, for the purpose of this piece I will borrow significantly from our experience of working with this group, a population who have shown to be exposed to considerable marginalisation, isolation and discrimination within our communities. For instance Supporting LGBT Lives: A Study of Mental Health and Well‐being (2009), a major study commissioned by BeLonG To and the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), and funded by the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention, found that among LGBT people:
• • • •
50% experienced verbal homophobic bullying. 40% were verbally threatened by fellow students. 27% of LGBT people have self‐harmed. 50% of LGBT people under 25 have seriously thought of ending their lives. • 20% of LGBT people under 25 have attempted suicide. In light of these (and other) findings in relation to young LGBT peoples’ lives, it is easy to see why BeLonG To has a vested interest in ensuring that the lofty ambitions set out in ‘Connected, Respected’ becomes a reality. But, how can the wider youth work sector best contribute to achieving these outcomes? What strategies or principles need to be adopted or adhered to in order to follow through on the policy framework? And what would their impact have? Certainly there are significant challenges to be overcome, and as with any policy framework, a practical challenge lies in finding and ensuring adequate time is spent digesting and reflecting on the aims, and on making the lofty aspirations contained in them a reality. However, the youth work sector is well armed and many of the strategies to be engaged in ensuring that these aims are met, “Teach primary are tools with which the & secondary school sector is already familiar.
students of their rights and responsibilities and do it properly”
Consider aims 5.1 – A Sense of own identity, free from discrimination Voice of Young Person and 5.2, ‐ Positive networks of friends, family and community. The explosion of LGBT youth groups nationwide, coupled with the increased visibility of LGBT young people in mainstream youth services across the country in recent years, has shown just how adept youth work can be in responding to emerging needs and demographics.
Issue 80, September, 2014
But, beyond the provision of these invaluable safe spaces, other efforts must be embarked on to ensure young people are free from discrimination and are valued as equal members of society. It is here that there lies a challenge for youth work, in strengthening efforts to eradicate discrimination beyond the confines of youth service walls. We must continue to explore how youth work can affect positive social change beyond traditional youth work settings. Despite significant progress, for LGBT young people, there remains a plethora of inequalities which still act as barriers to their full inclusion across wider society ‐ homophobic bullying, a lack of full civil marriage rights and the absence of adequate gender recognition laws serve as just some examples. BeLonG To devotes resources to actively campaign on these issues for reasons which are self‐explanatory, but part of our own journey in developing responses to these issues has been a burgeoning realisation of the importance of being vocal on the incomplete rights or exclusion of other minority or marginalised groups, also. As advocates for the rights of, and with a responsibility to provide a voice for all young people across Ireland who may experience discrimination, youth work needs not only to maintain an on‐going awareness of diversity and equality issues, but also but also how often‐ complex intersections of identity can affect young people. Our work to‐date indicates that these are often amongst the most vulnerable of the young people with whom we engage. Youth work has a responsibility to facilitate dialogues on all aspects of a young person’s identity, to explore how one specific facet of a young person’s identity may impede or affect another, and to break down the cultural and structural barriers which can exist or impede a young person’s full participation. In many ways there are clear links and a relationship between these outcomes and the remaining 5.3 and 5.4 ‐ Civically Engaged, Socially and Environmentally conscious and aware of their rights, responsible and respectful to the law, of chapter five of Better outcomes, Brighter Futures. Youth work has a long history of promoting civic engagement of young people. Many peer support, youth leadership and models of youth work employed in the sector foster a sense of civic engagement and responsibility among young people. In ways the fostering of civic responsibility can be easily related to the previous aspiration in regard to a ‘discrimination free’ existence, and offers another glimpse of the joined up thinking under which the framework was evidently developed. How can we expect young people to respect or indeed contribute to society, if they feel
Issue 80, September, 2014
that society does not be taught about afford them respect? We other cultures and need to continue to work as a sector to ensure the discrimination as representation of young children are taught people, especially those in schools” categorised as ‘hard to Voice of Young Person reach’ or ‘seldom heard’, and take extra steps to continuously ensure that pathways to opportunity are open to them. The Critical Social Education model of youth work, utilised by BeLonG To in our endeavours, contains core principles of encouraging self‐determination and civic engagement. Furthermore, in our experience, successful engagement with the model also offers young people the experience of creating tangible positive change. In light of this, the model seems a perfect fit for practitioners and organisations to ensure the aims of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures are met. The bed‐rock on which all of these aspirations can be achieved is a simple, but vital foundation. And while it might sound obvious to many practitioners, it is worth emphatically and repeatedly reminding ourselves; that youth work has a responsibility to guarantee to young people that prejudicial or discriminatory practices, language or policies are absent from the services of which they may avail.
In conclusion: The young people’s policy consortium, Comhairle na nÓg, the structured dialogue working group and other mechanisms will all assist in ensuring that the voices, concerns and needs are prominent in the expansion of Better Lives, Brighter futures, and that the framework continues to be of use in the future. As a sector, we have an important role to play in ensuring this is the case. The high levels of young people reporting engagement in some form of youth work affords a fantastic opportunity to continue to engage productively with young people in regard to making Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures a reality. Acknowledging the need for ‘inter‐agency collaboration and coordination at a national and local level’, the report sends us a powerful message about the work we need to do to ensure a bright future for all young people.
David Carroll is Executive Director with BeLonG To. For more information
The Commitment of Youth Work Ireland’s Integrated Youth Service Model Mairéad Cluskey, President Youth Work Ireland
be achieved as they have ‘developed trusting relationships with young people, their families and communities as well as internal and external referral processes and pathways’ (YWI, 2013). YWI members do not have a label or stigma attached to them as they are purposefully inclusive for all young people. This approach not only works towards various local services coming together, but also in many cases where appropriate services did not exist for young people, the youth services attempt to ‘develop and provide these’ (YWI, 2013).
The Challenges of Working Together This article seeks to consider the transformational goals that are set out in the new policy document Better Outcomes Brighter Futures. In doing that, I would like to present Youth Work Ireland’s Integrated Youth Service Model citing the approach, the opportunities and the challenges that exist with its implementation. I will also propose that the Integrated Youth Service Model is an ideal approach to engage with these goals and support young people in realising the five national outcomes and more!
However, this is not the easier approach, presently, current funding structures target certain cohorts of young people and demand certain outcomes to be achieved for these ‘types’ of young people. Joined‐up service delivery is time and resource intensive and involves significant costs. This is a critical concern for YWI members and they have invested significantly financially ‘through devoting time, expertise and staff resources to developing external and internal links that facilitate effective joint working’ (YWI, 2013). This approach also facilitates YWI members to ‘leverage significant resources into integrated service provision’ and build on the scare resources that have been allocated to meet government policy objectives and to engage young people who do and do not fit into these categories.
Youth Work Ireland’s Integrated Youth Service Model (IYSM)
Partnership has presented itself as both an opportunity and a challenge in the delivery of the IYSM. Defining what partnership means is critical. Many of YWI members feel that partnership with statutory agencies has moved from a situation in which there was ‘recognition of the expertise that local youth services bring to partnerships ‐ to the present situation in which local youth services are considered contractors and service deliverers only’ (YWI, 2013). A recent report examining The value of youth work in Europe (2014) highlighted that ‘youth work needs to find a balance between meeting the priorities set out in policies and funding mechanisms with an ever increasing trend for youth work to be more target group based, address specific issues and intervention based’.
As you are aware, Youth Work Ireland (YWI) is a Federation of 22 member organisations providing youth work services in local regions throughout Ireland, offering a diverse and comprehensive range of community services delivered by 1,000 staff and 7,000 volunteers working with over 106,000 young people.
Joined‐Up Inclusive Service Provision YWI members operate and are committed to the IYSM. In its simplest form the IYSM is “Joined‐up Service Delivery” placing the young person at the centre of all organisational activities. In the context of the local youth service, ‘members provide multiple entry points for young people, including referral, self‐referral, peer referral that allow us to firstly engage with young people and then connect them to appropriate services, whether internally or externally’ (YWI, 2013). This approach facilitates young people, to voluntarily engage with YWI members. In particular, this engagement is successful with those young people who are most difficult to reach: exactly the young people that other services often find it difficult to connect with. This process frequently leads to local partnerships where YWI members are working alongside various agencies (schools, social work, etc.) in supporting young people. As youth services are locally based this can
In this context, defining what partnership means is critical. There are various degrees or levels on which partnership can occur; uncoordinated, cooperation, collaboration, coordinated, merger/integration (Frost, 2005 cited in CES). It is unclear where and how youth work organisations can and will work with others (state and non state bodies) in line with this policy as the experience nationwide currently is diverse and inconsistent. If the transformational goals are to be embraced and the outcomes realised, agreement on how we work together must be achieved. YWI members are seeking to engage in the highest level of partnership with all of its partners to ensure the best outcomes for the children and young people in our communities.
Issue 80, September, 2014
Benefits for Young People and Communities However, aside from the all important issues of funding, cooperation and partnership remains the most important issue of all; the value of the IYSM for the young person. YWI members can be identified as formal Social Support (Tracy and Biegel, 1994) for young people and their communities. Youth workers (staff and volunteers), within the context of an IYSM, develop a pool of available Social Capital (Jack and Jordan, 1999) through networks with local agencies, significant adults, and colleagues within the youth service and in the community in which it is based. YWI members also provide a comprehensive network of physical capital for communities throughout Ireland through its network of buildings and community spaces.
What does this look like for participants? For example, Paul, a young person, attending the local youth club has explained to Kate, his volunteer leader, that he thinks he might be gay. As Kate is a trained and supported volunteer within a YWI member, she can access support and information for Paul with BeLonG To who have a formal partnership with YWI. Young people can benefit from this ‘capital’ through the established human, organisational and physical social networks generated through the IYSM. Similarly, Mary who is a young person attending a Garda Youth Diversion Project, is experiencing mental health difficulties has been referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). She lives 40 miles from their offices and Mary’s parents do not own a car. Mary’s mother is worried that she won’t be able to engage with CAMHS. John, Mary’s Youth Worker, has a professional relationship with CAMHS and arranges for Mary’s appointment to be held in her local youth centre. John’s network can support Mary’s successful engagement with supplementary support services. This pool of social capital exists and is created for the direct benefit of young people and to assist the youth worker in developing services and supports for the young person. The youth worker develops and sustains these relationships so that the young person can avail themselves of services and opportunities that the relationships bring them into contact with. It is more than the connections and the social capital that is necessary to bring about the benefits of the IYSM, it is also the role of the youth worker in assisting young people to navigate, develop the motivation and goals that are required to take up the opportunities and supports that these connections entail.
New Policy… New Opportunity As mentioned previously, the Better Outcomes Brighter Futures policy identifies six transformational goals to guide all departments, agencies and organisations working with
Issue 80, September, 2014
children and young people to work towards its vision and five national outcomes. These goals are to Support Parents, to provide Earlier Intervention and Prevention, to Listen to and Involve Children and Young People, Ensure Quality Services, Strengthening Transitions and Cross‐Government and Interagency Collaboration and Coordination. These goals offer guidelines to engage in a meaningful way with this document. As illustrated above, the transformational goals within this new policy clearly strengthen the IYSM as it mirrored within them. These goals not only recognise ‘joined up service delivery’ and a ‘whole person approach’, but promise it!
The Right Process will achieve the Right Outcomes We have an opportunity here on the crest of 2015 to make good on the promise to the children and young people of Ireland by ensuring this policy does not merge into the rhetoric of service provision in Ireland. YWI’s IYSM is a commitment to government, to partners and most importantly to the children and young people and their families who live in the communities in which we work. However, if there is a true desire to see the outcomes in the policy realised, integrated youth services need to be better resourced and greater balance needs to be achieved among the various agencies and departments participating in this work, existing and new. To that end, YWI will continue to advocate for the integrated youth service approach to youth work and provide evidence to policy makers and funders of the value and importance of this approach in meeting the objectives of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures. At the same time, YWI recognises that good practice takes investment, support and nurturing. Indeed, there are other References: youth work organisations in Ireland who will also Dickson, K., Vigurs, C. and find the premises of joined up service delivery Newman, M (2013) ‘Youth work: A similarly appealing and systematic map of the research worth supporting. For literature’ Department of Children YWI, investing in IYSM and Youth Affairs will mean continuing to Jack, G. and Jordan B. (1999) ‘Social document, develop Capital and Child Welfare’ supports and new Children and Society Vol.13,: pp evaluation mechanisms 242-256. to continuously improve Tracy, E.M. and Biegel, D. (1994) and build an integrated ‘Preparing Social Workers for approach. Social Network Interventions in Mental Health Practice’ Journal of Teaching in Social Work. Vol.10 Mairéad Cluskey is (1\2) Presdent of Youth Youth Work Ireland (2013) Work Ireland and is Bringing the Strands Together; a lecturer with I.T. Conference Report Blanchardstown in Dunne, A., Ulicna,D., Murphy,I., and the Dept. of Golubeva, M. (2014) The value of Humanities. youth work in Europe, The European Commission
RESEARCH BRIEF Working with Young People: The value of youth work in the European Union Prepared by Allison Dunne, Daniela Ulicna, Ilona Murphy and Maria Golubeva for the European Commission and the Education Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, 2014
orking with young people: The value of youth work in the European Union represents a comprehensive and significant analysis of the state of youth work provision across the European Union. Despite the variety in concepts and practices across member states, this report provides an in depth yet accessible view of youth work in Europe, where the content is easily digestible, even for the non youth work expert. This is undoubtedly one of the reportâ€™s most significant strengths; it portrays the value and importance of youth work without the use of jargon which has become so much a part of our own advocacy. The starting point for the report is to first of all set the context for what is meant by youth work. Here, the authors quite obviously avoid the process of devising a definition of youth work, instead the report gives an overview of the frameworks of youth work as well as the various typologies which have developed. This section also profiles some of the organisations which claim to carry out youth work and the activities they name as youth work. It concludes that core principles include a youth focus, an element of personal 22
development and engages youth people through their voluntary participation. While this may be seen as an over simplistic view of the youth work process, the report does not intend to tell the reader what youth work is but rather focus on what various providers mean by youth work, recognising that the development of youth work is led by the youth sector itself. There is also an acknowledgement that youth work crosses over with other policy areas and rather than the rhetoric of duplication which often ensues, it however presents this phenomenon as positive and collaborative. When presenting the governance and the political landscape for youth work there are vast disparities between member states, however the report names certain trends which appear across the EU. An increased focus on quality, evidenced based practice, emphasising measurable outcomes is apparent, however often organically occurring within the youth sector rather than by government. There is also an increased prevalence of interventionâ€?based and target youth work with special emphasis on developing education and labour market skills. Acknowledging these trends, Scene Magazine
Issue 80, September, 2014
the report conveys the growing concern that as youth work is increasingly expected to deliver in areas traditionally covered by other policy areas, it is being taken away from its original purpose. Despite increased demands for youth work across the EU it is noted that upfront financing is significantly declining in many member states. Many countries in the EU either have specific youth work strategies or youth work incorporated into wider youth strategies, however there are still member states with no policy acknowledgement of youth work, this is despite evidence in many cases of government financed youth work initiatives.
areas presented in the strategy. This perhaps limits the true representation of youth work outcomes in order to ensure strong linkages between the two documents. One interesting nuance in this report is that it acknowledges that when discussing the ‘value’ of youth work, it is negligent to solely focus on outcomes. The process and activities of youth work, must be valued alongside the outcomes they produce.
A clear message from the report is the need for evidence and data collection across the sector, while the outcomes are, in “The significance of the most cases, very clear, without European Commission strong data the argument for sponsoring such a report cannot be further resourcing youth work overlooked, Working with young people: is weakened.
There is no consensus presented on the level of participation in youth work many of the country The value of youth work in the European reports estimate levels of Union is a resounding exoneration of youth The significance of the participation however European Commission work, while it highlights some of the methodologies are sponsoring such a report challenges facing the sector it challenged in the main cannot be overlooked, undoubtedly supports the importance report. It is suggested that Working with young people: of youth work to the lives of overall there is an The value of youth work in the EU young people.” underestimation of the amount of is a resounding exoneration of youth young people engaged in youth work work, while it highlights some of the activities, mainly owing to the focus on challenges facing the sector it undoubtedly supports membership based organisations and a reluctance the importance of youth work to the lives of to accept the more informal settings in which young people. The report is not only a must read youth work takes place. There is also a lack of for those engaged in policy development and clear data on the number of youth workers in the advocacy but also provides wonderful case reports, EU. The report suggests however that the number undoubtedly useful to practitioners. While much of volunteers greatly outweighs the number of of the detail had to be excluded from this short paid youth workers in the sector. While there is review the full extent of this report can only been still no overall clarity, the status of youth workers understood when it is read in accompaniment of is becoming more understood as a distinct the individual country reports and case reviews. profession, the report does note that Report available from www.ec.europa.eu/youth/ professionalism is not only about formal qualifications and that volunteer youth workers John Gilmore is the Vice President of the also operate through a professional approach. European Confederation of Youth Clubs and a While some member states do support formal Doctoral Scholar at Canterbury Christ Church academic training for youth workers, it is University. He has been engaged in youth work suggested that there is a need for greater practice as a volunteer youth worker for many appreciation for the’ in house’ training within the years and is a former President of Youth Work youth sector. Ireland. He is a member of the National Youth Council of Ireland’s International Advisory Much of the report reflects on the overarching EU Committee and a board member of Léargas as Youth Strategy, and when presenting and well as a representative to the European Youth analysing the outcomes of youth work, it very Forum. much frames and links them with the outcome
Issue 80, September, 2014
IYWC New Library Resources Signposts: A Handbook on Alcohol and Substance Misuse for Parents and Young people
Intervention Research: Developing Social Programs (Pocket Guides to Social Work Reserach Methods) by M. Fraser, J. Richman, M. Galinsky & S. Daly When social workers draw on experience, theory, or data in order to develop new strategies or enhance existing ones, they are conducting intervention research. This relatively new field involves program design, implementation, and evaluation and requires a theory-based, systematic approach. Intervention Research presents such a framework. This innovative pocket guide will serve as a solid reference for those already in the field, as well as help the next generation of social workers develop skills to contribute to the evolving field of intervention research.
by North Eastern Regional Drugs Task Force, 2014
Collaboration in Social Work Practice
This resource has been developed to raise awareness in the area of young people and alcohol and drugs misuse. The resource includes information on the effects and impact of alcohol and drugs misuse and how best to openly discuss this issue with young people. It also signposts parents and those working with young people to sources of support, information and advice.
by J. Weinstein, C. Whittington & T. Leiba, 2013
Working with Young People: The value of youth work in the EU by European Commission, 2014 This new EU-wide study provides information about the value of youth work, and how it results in a range of positive outcomes for young people, enabling them to develop skills and competences, strengthen their network and social capital, and change particular behaviours. According to the study, beyond the individual level outcomes, youth work is an important component of our social fabric, offering a space for contact, exchange, and engagement between young people, as well as between generations. See the Research Brief on pg. 22 for a full review of this text. 24
New or experienced social workers who are developing their collaborative practice with service users and carers and with other professionals, will find this book to be an essential source of knowledge, skills and issues for reflection. The authors explain how practitioners in social care, health and related sectors can work more effectively together in line with current developments in policy and practice, offering a critical appraisal both of the benefits and the challenges. This informative book is a must-read for social workers and other professionals involved with social care and health services.
These and other resources are available on load to IYWC members. Our full catalogue is available to search online at: www.iywc.ie Scene Magazine
Issue 80, September, 2014
Scene Magazine Important News for Readers From January 2015 hard copies of Scene Magazine will be available ONLY on a subscription basis for a fee of â‚Ź20 per year (4 editions). Free copies of each edition of Scene Magazine will be available electronically from the online platform www.issuu.com
To receive your free electronic copy go to www.youthworkireland.ie If you would like to receive a hard copy in the post on a quarterly basis please complete and return the enclosed subscription form or contact email@example.com Free copies will continue to be provided at IYWC and Youth Workâ€ˆIreland events and to institutions and organisations on an archive basis.
issuu is a free digital publishing online platform that attempts to simulate the experience of reading a print publication online. issuu is accessible on any mobile, tablet or android www.issuu.com
POLICY BRIEF Youth Work Irelandâ€™s policy brief aims to inform and update practitioners about current developments in national policy which may be useful to their work. Michael Mc Loughlin Youth Work Ireland
Budget 2015 Under new procedures government budgets are now devised in October. With the departure of the Troika and the achievement of targets to date, signs are that pressure on public spending may be less than expected. It is generally accepted that reaching the agreed budget deficit target of 3% of GDP will not involve the cuts of â‚Ź2bn as previously planned. A lower adjustment coupled with measures already agreed like water charges may ease the level of cuts to frontline services. Youth Work Ireland will make a budget submission focused on the Five National Outcomes of the new Children and Young Peoples Policy Framework. d
European and Local Elections The recent European and Local elections saw much change in Irish politics. Local authorities have been promised more powers and for the first time have the ability to vary their income in terms of the Local Property Tax. New local development structures also place an emphasis on youth and facilities in terms of the work of LCDCs. A significant amount of young people were elected to local authorities on this occasion. Some of these councillors have previous experience in youth 26
groups and with Comhairle and can be a useful resource for the youth sector.
Community Employment Many providers of important local community services have long utilized Community Employment Projects supported by FAS and now the Department of Social Protection. A recent value for money review of CE Schemes has indicated a move towards a more sectoral approach with the development of the childcare consolidated projects specialising in this area. Youth Work Ireland is interested in investigating whether any synergies can be achieved between various Community Employment Projects in the youth work area.
Child Poverty Almost one in five children live in households with incomes below the poverty line (18.8%). Overall children represent one quarter of Irelands poor. Increasingly many of those who are living in poverty are actually in work. Social Welfare is the key instrument to lifting people out of poverty and the recession has led to a major increase in deprivation. Similarly we know that young people have been hit hardest by this current recession. Scene Magazine
Issue 80, September, 2014
Likewise our society is getting more unequal at this time. All this information is contained in a recent Social Justice Ireland publication. (See the full edition of this Policy Brief at www.youthworkireland.ie for the information links).
School Charters The need for young people to be consulted and involved on decisions that affect them in school is increasingly being recognised. It is now intended that parents and students will have a right to be consulted on codes of behaviour, bullying policies and even the weight of school bags under planned new school charters. Legislation underpinning the charter will be contained in the final version of the Admission to Schools Bill, amending the 1998 Education Act
Youth Unemployment The Centre for Effective Services held a conference on the contribution of youth organisations to youth employment. The conference followed on from the Dublin Declaration adopted during Irelands EU presidency. Speakers included the NYCI, CDYSB, Ballymun Regional Youth Resource, Bradog Regional Youth Service and Tipperary Regional Youth Service. While there has been a decline in youth unemployment in the last year the pattern has not been as clear in recent months with the number of under 26s increasing in some months.
Internet Safety The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has published the report of an expert group on internet safety. The report covers issues such as cyber bullying and content blocking. The report has a particular focus on issue relating to children and young people. The Minister also announced the formation of an implementation group chaired by his Department and comprising representatives of the Departments of Children and Youth Affairs, Education and Skills, Justice and Equality, and Health, who will agree on and oversee the implementation of the ICGA Group recommendations.
Public Transport For some years there have been anomalies with regard to young people having to pay adult fares Scene Magazine
Issue 80, September, 2014
on public transport, this has been the subject of previous campaigns. The child rate rate for the Leap card was extended to 16, 17 and 18 year olds in August 2014. Usually 16 is the cut off age for child fares and when the adult fare prices kick in. The National Transport Authority announced the changes in May. Free public transport for the very young will also be extended by a year across Dublin Bus, Irish Rail, Luas and Bus Éireann.
Ten Years of the Children’s Ombudsman for Children The Ombudsman for Children’s Office has marked its 10th anniversary. The Office was set up after numerous calls from NGOs and The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. It is an important office which hears complaints directly from children and young people who feel they have been discriminated against in their dealings with the State. The things that the OCO can do are set out in the Ombudsman for Children Act 2002. The main areas of work of the OCO are; Independent complaints handling, Communication and Participation and Research and Policy
Costello Report ‐ 30 Years On NUI Maynooth held a conference marking 30 years since the Costello Report on June 25th/26th. The conference used the 30th anniversary of this major document on youth policy to take stock of youth policy in the future. There were significant inputs form the EU Commission, the Council of Europe, Prof. Maurice Devlin, Minister Charlie Flanagan and Jim Breslin, Secretary General of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. The contribution of those who were involved in the Costello report 30 years ago was also marked.
Download the full edition of Youth Work Ireland’s Policy Brief 27
This edition of Scene Magazine focuses on the Five National Outcomes as outlined in the publication Better Outcomes Brighter Futures
Published on Sep 12, 2014
This edition of Scene Magazine focuses on the Five National Outcomes as outlined in the publication Better Outcomes Brighter Futures