Date of Award
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Research over the last thirty years has focused on the increased risk that youth in care are predisposed to becoming involved in juvenile delinquency (Ryan, 2007). According to some reports, for youth who have at least one substantiated report of maltreatment, delinquency rates are upwards of 47% higher than youth who have no substantiated maltreatment histories (Ryan & Testa, 2005).
This research project focuses on the behaviour management strategies of Direct Care Workers (DCWs), who work with youth in the care of the Children's Aid Society (CAS), within a residential group home setting. This research project also looks at the behaviour management strategies of foster parents and will explore any differences of behaviour management strategies between these two caregiver types. One of the primary differences in the care giving roles that face Direct Care Workers (herein after referred to as DCWs) and foster parents is that DCWs work with youth on a shift basis for a period of eight or more hours per day, while foster parents live with the youth in care, within their own home environment on a 24/7 basis.
A predominant difference for youth residing in these two settings is that youth placed in a foster home have to deal with one or two primary caregivers and perhaps the biological children of their foster parents (if they have any), in addition to a maximum number of four foster children placed in a home according to Ontario's legislation governed by the Ministry of Family and Children's Services (MFCS). Meanwhile, the youth residing within a group home setting have numerous staff that they are required to develop relationships with, in addition to upwards of nine (and sometimes more) umelated youth, who also reside in the group and/or treatment facility, as mandated by the MFCS.
The youth who are placed within group and/or treatment homes tend to be the youth in CAS care who present and manifest with the most challenging behaviours, though this is not necessarily always the case scenario. Unfortunately, sometimes due to a shortage of suitable foster home availability, youth may also be placed within a group home. Many times, youth that have had prior foster home placements which have been terminated due to behavioural issues and foster parent inability to manage or lack of tolerance of said behavioural issues will also be placed in group and/or treatment homes.
This study will explore the different behaviour management strategies that DCW s and foster parents use in their day-to-day interactions with the youth in their care. This study is predominantly interested in focusing on the use of police in behaviour management strategies used by DCW's and foster parents, as youth in CAS care have acknowledged that "calling the police was the only real power available to staff' according to one study (Taylor, 2003, p. 245).
Stranz, Michele, "What types of Strategies do Group Home Workers and Foster Parents Use in Management of Behaviours of Teen Youth in Care?" (2008). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4817.
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