NUMBER 1042• 8 SEPTEMBER • Reflection
As child and youth care practitioners, we find ourselves struggling and grappling with a lot of issues in our work. At times challenges look mammoth and insurmountable. Some workers are fortunate enough to receive supervision, which is important.
Others continue to grapple with issues alone, and have no opportunity to share and reflect on their experiences with others who are more experienced in the field. The young people and their families who we come into contact with deserve nothing but quality services. This is why I would like to look at the
term ‘REFLECT’ within the context of Child and Youth Care Work and explain why it is such an important process.
It is important to reflect on what we do with young people and their families. Does what we do make a difference in the lives of the young people? Is it done within the recognized national and international instruments, as well as in line with the code of ethics? Are the programs rendered ecological, relevant and appropriate? Do they prepare young people for life in their communities?
What kind of experiences do we go through from our work, whether positive or negative? What is the impact of this on our daily functioning and interactions with the young people and their families? If our experiences are negative why do we continue to recreate them again and again? Have we not received feedback from colleagues that these behaviours are not helping to better services, and ensure our personal and professional growth?
Have we begun to familiarize ourselves with the legislation that informs our work, including national and international instruments? Do we ensure that we comply with these? Do we challenge others when rights are violated? Are we also familiar with our surrounding environments, particularly the areas from which our clients emanate? Do we develop this familiarity for the purposes of tapping the resources of these communities?
The kind of lessons we learn every day in our work settings are important to be recorded and documented. These are lessons and stories that could be shared amongst us and other professionals – for the purpose of developing intervention techniques that may assist our clients.
The reasons we pursue Child and Youth Care Work vary from one individual to another. Do we enjoy our job? Do we do it with pride and commitment? Are we prepared to walk the extra mile for our clients? We work with young people and their families, many of whom are very resilient. Are we resilient? Do we have the endurance, as well as the spirit to triumph over adversities?
We cannot begin to start talking about “care” if we do not take care of ourselves. “Care” in Child and Youth Care Work is an important component, which cannot be overemphasized. This Care is professional in nature, and how we provide it is different from the nanny or any other layperson providing it. Are we aware of the professional dimension in our care work?
Our interaction with the young people and their families often occurs within a short space of time. It is time bound. Has our intervention and contact made in the moment made a difference in the life of the young person and his/her family?
Moloto, N, D. (2005) The Importance of Reflection in Child and Youth Care Work, Child and Youth Care Vol. 23 (5) p.p. 12 –13