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The 3-5-7 Model
March 2014


Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Have you ever heard the saying "Luck of the Irish"?  The Irish are often viewed as resilient people-they have a challenged history and have been known as survivors, much like the children and families we work with every day.  As part of my doctoral work, I interviewed adolescents who had experienced childhood maltreatment, and child care professionals who were experienced in the field of child abuse.  I examined fives themes that emerged related to resilience.  Below is the description of the concept of resilience from the article I wrote:


The concept of resilience was created to help explain why some children do well under disadvantaged circumstances [Baldwin et al. 1993]. Resilience is attributed to children who grew up under unfavorable circumstances without showing unfavorable consequences [Masten 1989; Okun et al. 1994; Radke-Yarrow & Brown 1993; Werner 1993]. It is defined as the capacity for successful adaptation, positive functioning, or competence despite high risk, chronic stress, or prolonged or severe trauma [Egeland et al. 1993].

Excerpt from:Henry, D. L. (1999). Resilience in maltreated children: Implications for special needs adoption. Child Welfare, 78(5), 519-540.

A review of the literature at that time revealed many ways to understand what makes someone "resilient".  Is it luck?  Or can we promote resiliency in our children and families by using the 3-5-7 Model© to support the work of grieving losses and re-building relationships?  I imagine you know the answer....

Last month we began an intentional effort to change the language that is used to describe the children and families we work with, by using words that help us better understand the behaviors we see.  Have you ever heard or used the term "failed placement"?  What do these words communicate to you? 
Let's decide to stop describing placements as "failed" and instead describe "readiness" for relationship building.  If we can understand which supports our children and families need toward relationship building, we can coach resource parents through this process and help them make decisions about how to respond differently to our youth.  We might be pleasantly surprised that the result will be actualizing youth relationships with their caregivers! 

Fortunately we don't have to rely on luck to have a successful session with our children and families.  This month, we will taking a closer look at ENGAGING, one of the 7 Skills of the 3-5-7 Model©.


One important aspect of ENGAGING youth, families and caregivers in the tasks of clarification, integration and actualization is to use a successful "joining" process to start each session.  What is meant by the term "joining"?  Here is a description that we think explains this process well.  


"Joining" is an ongoing process which usually begins at the first point of contact.  The initial meeting is important in "joining" as first impressions will be built at this time. The first impression will affect the willingness of others to share their thoughts with us.  "Joining" builds the rapport needed for a successful relationship.  Rapport could be considered a 'mutual absence of vulnerability' which is needed to create a sense of safety and trust.

Good first impressions are generally affirmed with a pleasant greeting that can include a handshake.  Introducing yourself in a tone of voice that is calming and reassuring can also create a sense of comfort.  It is best not to come across as intimidating or as "the expert".  It is crucial to be warm and welcoming, putting others at ease in our presence.


Adapted from: (2008, 12). Joining in Counselling. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 12, 2008, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Joining-In-Counselling-185951.html




Maybe Days  

by Jennifer Wilgocki  & Marcia Kahn Wright

Illustrated by Alissa Imre Geis 


Will I live with my parents again? Will I stay with my foster parents forever? For children in foster care, the answer to many questions is often "maybe." Maybe Days addresses the questions, feelings, and concerns these children most often face. Honest and reassuring, it also provides basic information that children want and need to know, including the roles of various people in the foster care system and whom to ask for help. An extensive afterword for adults caring for foster children describes the child's experience, underscores the importance of open communication, and outlines a variety of ways to help children adjust to the "maybe days"- and to thrive.


-Photo and description courtesy of Amazon.com


Ways to Engage Youth in Initial Sessions

Anxiety is to be expected when being asked to share things that are personal with a stranger. Icebreaker activities help people begin to build a trusting relationship.  Crafts and artwork provide a great icebreaker for children. Coloring, drawing or creating simple crafts give children an opportunity to have fun while building rapport. Some children benefit from non-directive art, while others require some encouragement and request ideas. Simple physical activities, such as hitting a balloon back and forth, help many children become more talkative.
Adolescents are sometimes slow to warm up.  Try playing a non-threatening game, such as a card game, to engage an adolescent and provide an opportunity to help her relax. Another activity that helps build trust includes asking the adolescent questions about their likes and dislikes. Ask non-threatening questions about the client's favorite food or television show. Then allow the adolescent to ask the same questions of you.
Adapted from: Ice Breaker Activities for Individual Counseling, by Amy Morin, eHow Contributor 
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