Often, there are multiple persons, services and agencies involved in efforts to assist youth. There may be family members, school personnel, health professionals, child welfare personnel and possibly others in a community, all with a role in providing services and assistance. Because multiple persons can be involved, there can often be conflicting opinions about the best way to proceed. This may happen when situations are more complex, or when a combination of helpers, family and friends are involved. Here are some useful things to keep in mind:
- Always act in the best interests of the child or youth.
Try not to get involved in a disagreement about the best course of action to take, or which helping resource to approach first. If you keep what’s best for the child or youth in the forefront of your thoughts and actions, there may be less conflict and a better outcome.
- Direct communication is often best.
Attending organized meetings to plan assistance for youth can be a problem in terms of time and other responsibilities. However, being at the table can mean that a better plan gets made, and can also prevent second hand, sometimes incorrect information from being shared.
- Keep It Simple.
Sometimes the simplest plan is the best. Helping children, youth and their families can be very complex and challenging, and it can sometimes seem as though your assistance is not enough to better the situation. Since research shows that a healthy relationship with a caring adult is one of the most powerful tools to help youth, establishing a good relationship to show that you care can at times be enough to produce some positive effects.
- Take Notes.
Most helpers and educators have multiple situations that require their attention. Do ensure that any workplace policies about recording plans and progress for helping youth are followed. Reliable documentation can help track progress, clarify individual roles, and provide an important record of the situation.
- Designate roles.
Once an agreement about next steps has been reached, roles can be assigned to the various helpers and family members involved in the plan. At times, good intentions can mean that too many folks are either trying to do the same thing or acting in a contradictory manner. Assigning and recording roles –for example: who will talk to the youth about the plan; who will organize schoolwork; is a good way to ensure consistent, organized help and reduce stress for all involved.
- Once you collectively feel that you have a good plan in place, set a date to review it. In this way, the team can come together again to make any necessary adjustments or provide a conclusion to the plan. It can also help keep team relations strong for future situations that may arise.
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