Making the Connection: Strategies for Working with High-risk Youth

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McKay, S., Fuchs, D. & Brown, I. (Eds.). Passion for Action in Child and Family Services: Voices from the Prairies. Regina, SK: Canadian Plains Research Center: pp. 119-142.

High-risk youth are “the disconnected.” These youth speak of negative experiences in the child welfare system, saying that their needs were not met and that their relationships with social workers and service providers were generally distant and problematic. Many youth have been labeled “manipulative” and/or “defiant,” leaving them unable to access services they require. These youth typically struggle with authority and have few, if any, people they can trust. They live risk-filled lifestyles involving drugs, sexual exploitation, violence, living on the streets and family breakdown. Despite this, all youth have strengths to build on; they demonstrate resilience. A number of strategies offer direction and ideas to those who have a passion for working with high-risk youth. These strategies encourage a practice that strives to be anti-oppressive, flexible, responsive and harm reducing. It is non-traditional and creative and, according to youth, a better way to meet their needs.

Canadian CW research
Book chapter