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March 07, 2005



Can I ask you a youth work related question?

I work with kids who need to see psychologists. Right now, I'm focussing solely on kids with ADHD, but in the past I've worked with kids who have depression, anxiety, phobias, PTSD, speech problems, communication difficulties, elective mutism...the list goes on.

One of the things vulnerable kids on the edge face is exclusion. A lot of youth groups turn away kids at the door if they hear that they're taking meds (e.g. ritalin) and few youth workers know how to successfully manage these kind of kids.

Some of the biggest problems these kids face are stigma, a lack of friendships and an inability to be integrated - and I wonder if part of this isn't due to non-acceptance into youth groups and the like - or if local youth groups could play a role in supporting these kids.

So here's my question - what are you doing about these kids?

And also - how do you think youth workers/groups can be better supported to welcome vulnerable kids into their group? Can we play a role? I've often gone to meetings with school teachers and such - but sometimes, I would love to get the local scout/girl guide leader in a room and see if we can't help these kids have a bit of fun once in a while!


andy goodliff

I think youth workers should be as inclusive as possible. youth workers need more training on how to help and support SEN young people. there is a belief that you can do youth work without training, I want to challenge that thinking. Youth leaders need to play a wider role in the community and the community needs to recognize the important role youth workers play in young people's lives.


Agreed - youth workers definately need good training - although I think that untrained youth workers can often do a good job if properly supervised and supported. What is more important is a willingness to listen, befriend and support.

I think where things become difficult (and I have seent his happen) is when youth workers cross boundaries and with the best of intentions get involved in the lives of vulnerable young people in ways that may not be the most helpful.

I think those of us working professionally with these young people have a responsibility to get involved with youth workers, recognising the role that they play in young peoples' lives. I'm not trained yet - but I've had a good bit of experience. I've been called to meetings with schools, social workers, the police, family etc, but never to provide help/advise/support to a local youth group. Shame shame shame - because often youth workers are in a position to support and help the young person in ways that teachers, social workers and the police could never dream off because young people often view teachers, social workers and the police as authority figures to be rebelled against - whereas youthworkers seem to manage to form more of a friendly alliance.

I will put recognising and supporting youth workers on my list of ways to change the world :)



Heya Andy - sorry to intrude on one of your more important discussions, but I felt the need to set something straight. Ed was the one to come up with 'Confused Care in a Cold Climate', I just designed the book cover. He's the witty, funny one remember?

John Buchner

Hi Andy and friends. I've found it impossible to locate or buy Paul Goodliff's "Care in a Confused Climate" after much web-based and bookstore searching. Do you or anyone have a spare copy (used is OK)that I can buy? Please contact me as soon as possible at [email protected] - Many thanks, John

andy goodliff

No unfortunately its out of print and very hard to find. You could pester Darton Longmann & Todd to reprint it!

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