You can train a hen to crow but it is probably easier to hire a rooster: Past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour

The recruitment industry has a saying: “you can train a hen to crow but it is probably easier to hire a rooster”. Perhaps this is also applicable to the adoption of self-care  practices and reduction of burnout experienced by OoHC/YJ workers, i.e. perhaps we should recruit people who already undergo self-care practices or are resilient to burnout. The results The…

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Latest research on causes and treatments of self-harm by adolescents

Self-harming is common amongst young people in OoHC, youth justice and alternative school settings. As noted in my last post, I just love a succinct summary of the evidence of the causes and treatment of mental health issues. Today’s post provides such a summary on the causes and interventions for self-harm. This YouTube video, called Self Injury Knowledge and Skills…

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If you work with young offenders, you should get this book

Call me nerdy if you like, but I get excited when I come across a single book that gathers together all the evidence in an area that is of interest to me.   Evidence Based Skills in Criminal Justice: International research on supporting rehabilitation and desistance is one such book. It brings together the evidence on how individual practice might…

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Does verbal aggression by clients predict increased use of restraint/seclusion by staff?

Verbal aggression by clients to staff in residential care, YJ and alternative schools is a continuing problem for Practitioners. This study looks at the specific impact of verbal aggression on mental health nurses. It investigates the following hypothesis:     Why are nursing staff studies relevant to OoHC/YJ/alternative schools? In general, the quality of research in the mental health sector…

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Not fake news: High risk adolescents want limits

Practitioners become concerned when their staff, typically new staff, become too close to the young people (YP) in their care. Staff themselves believe, correctly, that a close relationship is necessary to bring about changes in the YP’s life. However, the relationship can transform into a ‘peer-to-peer’ relationship, i.e. both parties are ‘equal’ in the relationship and thus the worker is…

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Review launches devastating critique of the Trauma Model

The recent Juvenile Justice Review[1] questions the relevance of the trauma model for custodial settings. Given that this is the first pubic critique of the model, it raises the question of whether the model will be called into question in the child protection/OoHC space more generally. The rise and fall of psychological theories of the decades Psychological theories have risen…

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Expert view: Focus on criminogentic needs to reduce crimes rates

A recent review of juvenile justice foreshadows a major policy shift in youth justice (YJ) and calls into question the relevance of the trauma model in YJ programs.  This week’s blog focuses on the former; the next blog will focus on the latter. The Review The Youth Justice Review and Strategy: Meeting Needs and Reducing Offending was conducted by Penny…

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A blueprint for rehabilitation-focused juvenile justice centres

This is an interesting article given the recent controversies pertaining to the operation of juvenile justice centres (YJ Centres) in Victoria and the Northern Territory (NT). The aim of the study is: [T]o identify the successful components of interventions in juvenile justice facilities that house delinquent youths. Because these youths present myriad problems ranging from abuse and poor care environment…

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Why Alternative Schools Should Provide Parenting Skills Programs

This study argues that special schools should provide  parenting skills programs to parents of students in an effort to reduce behaviour problems at the school. Behaviour problems are a key reason why children/young people are excluded from school. This is especially true for those in residential care and the youth justice systems. To be excluded from school then reduces their…

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If you want to reduce staff turnover, try improving staff supervision

High staff turnover has been a concern in the child protection and youth justice systems for many decades. A recent US study attempted to identify the causal factors that lead to high staff turnover amoungst child welfare staff in the US. The study is of interest not so much because its findings but rather because of the excellent summary it…

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