Quarterly Newsletter

Jan 2014
Greetings fellow youth worker!

This quarter, we have a huge focus on training! Lots of ways to find opportunities for learning new methods and improving old skills ...and largely to have FUN in the process.  Upcoming conferences abound!

AND...go take a sneak peak at the new and improved ACYCP Website!  It's not all there yet...still writing and tweaking... but great things are happening.  Set up a bookmark and check back often.

Suzie Henderson, Editor
In This Issue
President's Message.
The Journal of Child & Youth Care Work
2014 Conference Schedule
2014 National Wraparound Conference.
Youth Worker Training Day
Frank Delano on Supervision
From The SoapBox...Again!.
Self-Awareness: The Path to Self-Esteem
President's Message

Coast to Coast: 

High Quality Training for Youth Workers in 2014!!!!!


We see a day when all youth workers across the country will be certified!!!! 2014 is the year for high quality training that leads to youth worker certification. 


In March from the 11th to the 14th, we are gathering for the National Conference on Innovation and Excellence in Florida. Not only will the workshops be state of the art, but youth work leaders will present in a new idea café on how to prevent bullying, develop strategic partnerships, heal trauma and other competencies that meet the needs of our youth and families. We will be learning together and exploring the tools and techniques that it takes to wrap families, schools and whole communities with the formal and formal supports to ensure life success for the children and youth. Youth work teams will come from every state!!! 


There is still room for you, so join the agenda and work towards change on every level.


For more information on the March Conference in Florida 


Conference Website
In April, we will be off to San Francisco on April 9th and 10th for the first ever Youth Worker Training Day as a key part of the annual meetings of the American Association for Children's Residential Centers. Top youth work master trainers Frank Eckles from the Academy for Competent Youth Work and Jean Carpenter-Williams from the National Resource Center will present the latest curriculum from Youth Thrive, a new national movement working to understand the role of neuroscience and resilience helping all our youth succeed. Not only will we learn about certification, but conference keynote speaker Larry Brendtro will join the youth workers for special topics lunch. Larry is a pioneer of youth work having contributed to the classic which founded the field, "The Other Twenty Three Hours" and then invented positive peer culture work. Of late Larry is one of the world's top experts on brain science and how we apply what we know about healthy development in our care work.

Conference Info or 

For more information go to Youth Worker Training Day at or call Kari Sisson at 877-332-2272  


Join the cadre of certified youth workers across the country!

From coast to coast to coast, Florida to San Francisco, we are changing our own lives and the lives of others through the quality of our work!!!! High quality training in 2014!!! 

THE Journal of Child and Youth Care Work

Every quarter, we send out these newsletter with a tiny postage stamp ad (Yes, That's it! Right over there in the margin next to this paragraph) for one of THE best resources we have to offer. So this quarter, we're getting up in your face with The Journal of Child and Youth Care Work. 


Read About It Here


Take a Peek at the Table of Contents




(That's like finding it!)


The next edition of the Journal of Child and Youth Care Work is due out in October 2014. It will be a special issue on Trauma-Informed Practice. A call for abstracts has gone out for anyone interested in having an article considered for publication in this prestigious journal. Further details here:  Call for Abstracts.

2014 Conference Schedule



National Conference on Innovation and Excellence

Cocoa Beach, Florida --- March 11 through 14

Conference Website 



Youth Worker Training Day - April 9th

San Francisco, California Conference Info

& ACYCP Annual Meeting - April 10th

San Francisco, California 


TYCCWA Youth Worker Retreat

South Padre Island, TX

April 15th - 16th 



WACYCP: Wisconsin Association Conference

Youthwork: Heart + Skills + Competence = Success 

May 8, 2014

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

Request for Presenters/Proposals 



OACYC conference

Excellence in Child and Youth Care...Promoting the Profession  

Kingston Ontario

June 4 through 6, 2014

Call for Papers/Presenters -- Deadline extended


Canadian National CYC Conference
Moncton, New Brunswick Oct 8 - 10 2014

2014 National Wraparound Conference 


Brevard Family Partnership and the National Center for Innovation and Excellence are hosting a three day wraparound conference in Cocoa Beach, Florida, March 11-13, 2014.
The conference will offer three keynote addresses, an expert panel discussion, and 25 individual sessions for participants to select and learn from. This conference will empower individuals and partnerships, providing an inclusive and dynamic forum to foster peer networks, share information, and build skills while facilitating interactive dialogue and discussion.
Topics include: 
Evidence-Based Practices and Innovations 
Youth Leadership and Advocacy 
Family Partners, Family Strengthening 
Wraparound Tools, Techniques, and Advanced Practices 
Systems of Care 
Keynote Presentations: 
John VanDenBerg, Ph.D., Consultant 
Lessons of 25 Years of Wraparound: Why Does Wraparound Work? 
Mary Jo Meyers, Wraparound Milwaukee
Balancing the Need for Child Safety with Trauma Informed Care 
John Franz, Paper Boat Consulting 
Partners on the Journey: What Finding Nemo can Teach Us About Forming Effective Child and Family Teams 
Also, special presentations by: Dr. Andrew Schneider-Munoz, National Center for Innovation and Excellence Susan Dreyfus, President and CEO, Alliance for Children and Families Carol Emig, President, Child Trends.
Conference registration will open Fall of 2013. Discounted room rates are available, starting at $129/night. Be informed of the latest info as it becomes available by liking the National Wraparound Conference on Facebook
For more information, contact: 
Stephanie Strodtman, Conference Manager   321-752-4650 x 3047 

 Youth Worker Training Day

 Our 58th Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA

April 9, 2014


Join your colleagues at this premier training event for residential providers designed around innovation and best practices in your field.

While certainly the full conference is available for attendance by all, our planning committee concentrated sessions that might be of particular interest to direct care staff on Wednesday, April 9th:

  • Keynote: Dr. Larry Brendtro. A pioneer in working with traumatized youth, Dr. Brendtro has written several books on his experiences with their reliance and our role in their ultimate success.
  • Lunch Session: Dr. Brendtro will also facilitate a lunchtime conversation with youth workers.
  • Afternoon Workshops: Two directed toward direct care service, but any of the 14 offered are available for the choosing on permanency, evidence based practices, trauma, autism...
  • An evening tour of the San Francisco Bay from the comfort of a beautiful boat, enjoying delicious appetizers and an array of beverages.

A special rate of $150 will be extended to direct care staff for the full day of conference attendance. The boat tour is an extra $35, but well worth the investment to spend a few extra hours with your colleagues.


Go to for more information or call Kari Sisson at 877-332-2272 

An Uplifting Experience with CYC Supervisors
By: Frank Delano

As one who has spent many years in the Child and Youth Care field I have learned to appreciate those moments when some dynamic happens that just seems to uplift our spirits as professionals and remind us of how special the people doing quality Child and Youth Care work really are. Now that I am spending my career facilitating trainings and consulting I have had the opportunity to experience many different programs and people in our field across the country and internationally. Perhaps my favorite part of facilitating the trainings I do is when I am able to start the training by having each member of the class share their "Words of Wisdom" about the topic as they introduce themselves. In December I traveled out to Camarillo, California to facilitate the three day supervision course "Professionally Packaging Your Supervisory Practice" at Casa Pacifica Center for Children and Families. The class was composed of about 30 CYC supervisors from the milieu and clinical services at a variety of levels of experience and organizational role. As the training began, although a little tired from the travel, it soon became clear to me that teaching the three days would be a pleasure as the wisdom from the group began to emerge. Some of the "words of wisdom about supervision" shared by the class were:

  • Mistakes are for learning
  • where your supervisees are. Try to see the world through the worker's eyes
  • Draw on the positive supervisors you have had in the past
  • Be gentle to yourself as well as others
  • Try to see the big picture as often as you can
  • Embrace change
  • Have good time management skills
  • Set clear expectations
  • Clarity and transparency about roles
  • Build as many positive relationships as you can
  • Lead by example
  • Build confidence in CYC workers
  • Try to do things with a purpose
  • Make meaning of things
  • Maintain composure
  • Accountability for yourself and others
  • It is not about "us", it is about the youth we work with
With that wisdom shared, the themes of the three days ahead were already on the table. After the first two hours of discussions it was clear that the experience would be a special one. The rest of the three days was spent elaborating on the topics, but most importantly, with the themes and foundation of CYC values clearly established in the group, there was great opportunity for the participants to be self reflective about their practice and drive their own learning throughout the training as they formulated their "action plans" to take back to their practice. It was refreshing to spend three days with a group of Child and Youth Care Supervisors who are so clearly committed to their work, to self reflection about their practice, and to simply having fun as the picture below exemplifies. Like the vast majority of my experiences experiences with Child and Youth Care Workers the three days at Casa Pacifica merely exemplifies the immense amount of commitment and wisdom about our work that is present in CYC workers and programs in so many places that continues to make our field so special!
 Casa Pacifica CYC Supervisors Having Fun While Learning!....
The CYC way 
From The SoapBox...Again!
Don't Provide a Sanctuary for Point and Level Systems!

Somehow, the issue of point and level systems never dies.  While many programs have taken steps to eliminate them, and have done so successfully, still there are too many who revert to and perpetuate this destructive aspect of the "folk culture" of child and youth care programs. Without careful thought, practices are carried out because "this is the way we've always done it".


I have already given dozens of reasons in other venues of the reasons point and level systems are poor treatment, along with suggestions for programmatic and relational approaches that are more curative. Point and level systems are so ingrained that they are automatically installed as an automatic add-on in any program without much thought as to how they fit - or perpetuated if they are already in place - and too often, they are.


Just as an example of how pervasive point and level systems are, like kudzu vines on a southern brick wall, we can take a look at programs that claim they are implementing a Sanctuary model. This current, well-researched and deservedly respected model is designed to enable implementation of a "trauma-informed" philosophy and practices that respond to the reality of the traumas experienced by children such as abuse or loss of a parent, that are behind their entrance into care settings. The kinds of behaviors associated with having experienced trauma, to name just a few, are aggression, frustration, avoidance of eye contact, depression, and anxiety.  Interestingly, there have been programs that penalized with their point and level systems youngsters who did not make eye contact (even though their culture had taught them that it is polite not to do so.)


While many of you may be familiar with the Sanctuary model as it is increasingly being adopted, there are pitfalls. The danger is not with the model itself - in fact far from it ! To me it's the best  approach I've seen yet.   The Sanctuary model is the most comprehensive and the one that truly embraces and addresses the needs of the children and youth to whom it is offered.  Unfortunately, with whatever model- if any- that may be utilized in a particular setting, there is always "model drift'. This occurs when over time fidelity to the model is eroded sometimes by unwittingly poor decisions, which  either haven't eliminated a practice that is not congruent with the model's intent when it was initiated, or has simply added it on. Point and level systems are an example.


What is the message point and level systems give?   It is,  "We are in control.  We can give - or take away - as we see fit" ( Contrary to common belief, point and level systems are notoriously un-objective).  "We do not understand, nor are we interested in, what little you may have been given in the past the traumatic experiences that brought you here, how they affect your behavior, and how we should adapt our practices to address these.  We aren't going to guide you towards what you want to work on to enhance your strengths. Rather we are simply going to impose what we want on you so that life is easier for us.   For example, if you compile too many negative points, you are going to have to go to bed early".   (I can never rant enough against that practice.  The trauma-based care philosophy gives me more good reason:  extra time for those disturbing memories to break through).


If your setting claims to have a Sanctuary model and if it includes a point and level system - then think a bit.  Why?  What kind of sanctuary takes away treatment  (e.g. activities) if it isn't 'earned', posts tabulations of everybody's status and levels on a board for the world to see, focuses staff efforts on tabulating rather than interacting, promotes anger and mistrust  among both staff and children... all of the reasons that have been given already.


We can decide now. Are we going to be mindful, thinking about what we are doing, or mindless, simply perpetuating the status quo? Do we want to raise or care for youngsters in a way that prevents them from developing the altruism and empathy that enable the development of harmonious relationships, who distrust the very adults whom they should view as supportive, and who are ridden with anxiety and relationship problems ?  Or do we want to give them the opportunity to feel secure and connected to adults who become meaningful and true agents of positive change? 


If we do, we will finally take that step to get rid of point and level systems, whether or not our setting purports to have a Sanctuary - or any other model, and replace them with a relational, activity-rich truly caring and supportive approach to individualized care. That will be a true Sanctuary in line with the model- a "safe haven" as the term has been defined.   


Karen VanderVen, Ph.D., 

Professor Emerita Department of Psychology in Education 

University of Pittsburgh

Self-Awareness: The Path to Self-Esteem  

By: Michael Burns M.Ed., CYC (Cert.)

Reprinted with permission from: CYC Chronicle (Volume 25 #4, Winter 2013/2014) published by the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Counselors.

So often we conduct self-esteem groups and focus our activities on self-esteem with troubled children and youth believing that we can actually have an effect on their self-esteem in a session, two weeks, or even six weeks. Yet most of the children we work with have such a damaged view of themselves that to alter this perception in any substantial way would take a significant emotional life event or a great deal of time. We do know that a focus on skill acquisition and improving social skills is the most effective way to build self-esteem yet these too require in some cases a long time to accomplish. When we focus directly on self-esteem we often do more damage to children and youth than good. When we ask them to write down or list their strengths, their abilities, or what they like about themselves, their lists most often are made up of negatives, or things they were told were strengths, or more often than not the page is blank.
Self-esteem, self-concept, and even self-awareness are abstract concepts, which most children and the greater percentage of youth we work with do not understand or appreciate at a cognitive level. The self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem is the positive or negative evaluation of the self ..." (Smith & Mackie, 2007, p. 107). Self-awareness, although an abstract concept, can be more easily understood as learning about what we do, what we think, and how we feel (sensations & emotions). Focusing on self-awareness allows children/youth an opportunity to get to know them selves more fully. It is in this experience of knowing who they are that children and youth can better appreciate their strengths, weaknesses, and abilities.
The entire human system (mind, brain, body) is programmed for survival. Thus children and youth pay more attention and use up more energy and memory focusing on and remembering the negative events in their lives (Hanson, 2009). This allows them to anticipate danger and to avoid dangerous or life threatening experiences. It also provides information as to how they managed a serious episode in their past. Did they successfully avoid or manage the stressful event or did they handle it poorly? With this information they can adapt their survival behaviours to be as effective as possible. This allows them to survive and in the case of a troubled child/youth--a most necessary skill. This preoccupation with survival however leaves them with a great deal of negative information, which often clouds or covers up their memory of positive experiences. Without bringing their positive events and experiences to their consciousness children and youth are often left with more vivid memories of negative experiences about themselves and their lives. Recollection and heightened awareness of positive life experiences, how they felt, how they behaved, and what they were thinking can begin to build an equally important bank of positive memories. When children/youth have a rich awareness of the positive and meaningful events in their lives they can counteract the effect of their survival mentality.
Self-awareness can assist them to appreciate more accurately their sense of Self and highlight the positive aspects of their personalities. Fritz Pearls (1969) and Carl Jung (1969) emphasized that self-awareness was the key to understanding and accurately assessing self-esteem. Pearls believed that the body was the key to understanding the Self. Sensory stimulation, body awareness, dance, movement, art, drama, and music can provide a variety of opportunities to get in touch with the affirming aspects of life. Jung believed in the universal consciousness with its plethora of positive and affirming memories. Tapping into the collective consciousness through, relaxation, meditation, guided fantasy, and centering/grounding exercises brings children/youth to a heightened awareness of goodness. Self-awareness, and in particular sensory awareness, lights up areas of their lives and experiences that cause them to act, feel, and think positively about themselves. Awareness of feelings, thoughts, and behaviours that are either implicit or shrouded by the negative survival experiences can be brought to their awareness and made explicit, clear, and memorable. With these new awareness' comes a greater sense of well-being and a stronger more accurate evaluation of the Self.
Siegel (2012) defines the state of well-being as an integration of the coherent mind and the integrated brain, within an empathic and intimate relationship. Child and youth workers enter the children's life-space by means of an empathic relationship with the intention of assisting them in achieving a state of balance (homeostasis) and to be able to create that state/space within the various living spaces they inhabit. Self-awareness can be a powerful tool for the CYW to incorporate into the life-space intervention. An integrated brain, which in Siegel's definition includes the body, " ... creates a balanced and coordinated nervous system. In turn, an integrated brain permits empathic relationships" (Siegel, 2012, p. 3-3).
Awareness of sensory, behavioural, and intellectual positive experiences can begin the process of shedding light into the dark areas of the experience of Self in children and youth and will assist them to better appreciate themselves. It can also allow them to explore the darkness and to shine the light of awareness to assist them to make changes, adaptations, and corrections to feelings, thoughts, and behaviours that until now have limited their appreciation of themselves. A focus on self-affirming experiences and events that assisted in making them resilient beings confirms not only their value and worth but also asserts their right to happiness, loving relationships, and a meaningful life.
Hanson, R. (2009). Buddha's brain: The practical neuroscience of happiness, love, & wisdom. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications Inc.
Jung, C. (1969). The archetypes and the collective unconsciousness. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Pearls, F. (1969). In and out of the garbage pail. Lafayette, CA: Real People Press.
Siegel, D. (2012). Pocket guide to interpersonal neurobiology: An integrative handbook of the mind. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. 

We hope that you have enjoyed this issue of the ACYCP e-newsletter. Again, we welcome any and all feedback from our readers!
The ACYCP Board
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--Frank Eckles--

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ACYCP would like to extend
a Special Thanks to CYCCB for helping to make this newsletter possible.

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If you have comments and/or ideas for additional content please feel free to contact the editor,
Suzie Henderson, at

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