This course is specifically designed for individuals who plan to work with street-involved youth. Reasons for street involvement, current definitions and stereotypes, will be examined and demystified. Students will develop a clear picture of the risks and realities children and youth on the streets confront on a daily basis. The strengths of young people who are street-involved will be highlighted. Respect for the rights to street-involved youth will be emphasized. Harm reduction and other strategies to make life on the streets safer will be examined. The concepts of advocacy and community responsibility will be promoted.
The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:
- A common understanding of “street involvement” is required in order to develop and deliver services.
- Children who leave home do so for a variety of reasons. They leave because they have an important and credible reason for leaving.
- The safety and well-being of children and youth on the street is at risk.
- The community, composed of professionals and members of the public, is accountable for its children and therefore:
- Has a responsibility for the existence of children on the street and for their protection; and
- In carrying out its responsibility to these children, the community must be flexible in developing and providing effective services and alternatives
- It is important to understand what is street myth and what is reality.
- One of a worker’s greatest resources is self awareness. An ability to recognize the following is vital to effectively work with these children/youth:
- Reasons for choosing the work
- Personal strengths and limitations
- Biases and prejudices
- Children/youth who are on the street have the same rights as any other child or youth in our society. Workers should know these rights and be vigilant in promoting their application.
- Resiliency and the spirit of youth on the streets must be respected and utilized in their best interests. Street youth should be supported in utilizing these strengths in their best interests.
Methods Of Instruction
Means of Assessment
Typical means of evaluation will include a combination of written research assignments, case evaluation, exams and group presentations. This is a Graded Course.
Course Objectives / Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Describe the process of street involvement
- Gradual breakdown of individual social safety net
- Multiple risk factors
- Family themes
- Levels of street involvement
- Age factors
- Examine street risks
- Lack of food
- Physical/sexual abuse
- Self medication
- Discuss community accountability
- Citizen responsibility
- Political responsibility
- Discuss professional accountability
- Professional ethical standards
- Lack of available services
- Ethical dilemmas
- Outline child protection issues
- Child welfare provincial legislation
- Governmental funding defines levels of service
- Definition of childhood
- Describe services for street-involved youth
- Knowledge of services available by region
- Knowledge of the network of services
- Effective use of agency policies to meet the needs of youth
- Discuss flexible design of services
- Service design based on the needs of youth
- Service delivery available at times suitable to street involved youth (evenings and weekends)
- Demonstrate self awareness
- Awareness of the effect of personal history on practice
- Awareness of strengths
- Knowing when to refer
- Awareness of biases and prejudices and a commitment to personal growth
- Discuss the rights of youth
- Review youth rights
- Identify particular rights at risk on the street
- Support youth advocacy
- Advocate on behalf of the youth
- Examine resiliency in the lives of street-involved youth
- Identify youth strengths/resiliency from the perspective of their life situation
- Describe the developmental themes in the lives of street-involved youth
- Discuss coping strategies and resiliency
- Create situations and programs which support resiliency
- Identify youth needs for both nurture and autonomy.