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Adolescent Leadership Team

Adolescent Leadership Team

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Published by christopherkinman
I have noticed a strong tendency on the part of helpers involved with adolescents in the many child/family serving systems of care I have interacted in over the last 34 years to focus on what is absent, deficient, broken and wrong with their clientele. This so-called “deficit-based” model leads often leads thinking and practices in which the helper assumes the child and family have little internal motivation or resources to solve their own problems and as such promotes the idea the helper knows more than the client does about their problems and ultimately the solutions.
The strengths-based model endorsed by the leadership in Adams County Children & Youth Services and embodied by the practice of Family Group Decision-Making and other family-centered empowerment efforts have significantly improved outcomes in helping families move beyond problems and find more functional solutions. Over the last five years I have been part of the conversations regarding how to create behavior change in children/families through practice focused on the following foundations:
I have noticed a strong tendency on the part of helpers involved with adolescents in the many child/family serving systems of care I have interacted in over the last 34 years to focus on what is absent, deficient, broken and wrong with their clientele. This so-called “deficit-based” model leads often leads thinking and practices in which the helper assumes the child and family have little internal motivation or resources to solve their own problems and as such promotes the idea the helper knows more than the client does about their problems and ultimately the solutions.
The strengths-based model endorsed by the leadership in Adams County Children & Youth Services and embodied by the practice of Family Group Decision-Making and other family-centered empowerment efforts have significantly improved outcomes in helping families move beyond problems and find more functional solutions. Over the last five years I have been part of the conversations regarding how to create behavior change in children/families through practice focused on the following foundations:

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Published by: christopherkinman on Aug 01, 2010
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10/25/2012

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PARTNERS FOR CREATIVE COLLABORATIONDean C. Wolf, LCSW-CLicensed Social Worker
101 W. Main Street 304 York StreetWestminster, Md. 21157 Gettysburg, Pa. 17325(410) 876-3030 (717) 337-9503October 12, 2007
Proposal for the Development of anAdolescent Leadership Group
 NarrativeI have noticed a strong tendency on the part of helpers involved with adolescents inthe many child/family serving systems of care I have interacted in over the last 34 yearsto focus on what is absent, deficient, broken and wrong with their clientele. This so-called “deficit-based” model leads often leads thinking and practices in which the helper assumes the child and family have little internal motivation or resources to solve their own problems and as such promotes the idea the helper knows more than the client doesabout their problems and ultimately the solutions.The strengths-based model endorsed by the leadership in Adams County Children &Youth Services and embodied by the practice of Family Group Decision-Making andother family-centered empowerment efforts have significantly improved outcomes inhelping families move beyond problems and find more functional solutions. Over the lastfive years I have been part of the conversations regarding how to create behavior changein children/families through practice focused on the following foundations:
Solution-focused
The emphasis on solutions rather than problems with particular efforts to assistfamilies in developing their own vision as to the nature of the problems theyidentify as in need of change and assisting in constructing solutions that work bestfor them. This orientation endorses and promotes client rather than professionalexpertise in finding solutions
Strengths-based
The slogan I adhere to is “there is nothing that is wrong with you that what isright about you couldn’t fix.” The focus of strengths-based thinking and practiceis to ask questions and emphasize intervention that convince the client familiesthey have what it takes to solve their own problems. Central to this foundation isthe importance of resilience and asking questions that point the client toward their own strengths and capacities in the solution process. Therefore every effort ismade to avoid diagnostic, categorical and labeling language that is oftenconstrued by families to be negative and disempowering and leads both client andhelper into a black hole.
 
Family-centered
Practices focused on the family as the unit of service has been important in thedevelopment of change-oriented strategies in working with difficult andunmanageable adolescents. The shift in practice from the individual to the familyassumes that supporting the family as a unit will ultimately benefit the individualswithin the family unit. There have been many significant developments infamily-centered practice including promoting parents as experts on their childrenin evaluation, intervention, planning and treatment efforts, giving familiesconsiderable authority over decisions affecting their children such as out-of-home placements and promoting belief in families as healing agents in identifying andresolving their own problems.
Collaboration
The importance of collaboration in building solutions with families cannot beunderestimated. In building collaborative teams that are inclusive of children, parents, foster parents, extended family members, peers, teachers and school personnel, friends and neighbors, pastors and inspirational, significant others Ihave discovered the power of natural supports to be critical to the process. All thework that has been accomplished would not have occurred without the support of what has become known as “managing partners.” I have been astounded by theresource system that has been built, the good will that has been spread as we work together with families to the solve problems. There are many advantages toworking with collaboratively including having all involved parties on the same page marching to the same drummer and developing cooperative rather thanadversarial relationships with each other.Developing the Adolescent Leadership GroupI have been kicking around ways to enhance the foundations of my own practice and a very old idea that I didn’t dream up might add to growth of strengths-based practice in our work. That idea is that one of the greatest ways tohelp oneself is to help others. In many of our teenage youths, especiallyungovernable and unmanageable teens I have found they have difficulty gettingoutside of themselves and appreciating the viewpoints of others, especially parents and other authority figures, such as teachers, caseworkers, therapists, etc.This dynamic is of course developmentally appropriate but complicated by thefact the youth we see in Children & Youth Services have often been subjected to a process of disempowerment through unfortunate family circumstances,overlabeling by helping professionals and agencies and interventions emphasizingcoercion and control strategies. For the most part the youth we are charged withserving do not in fact believe we are serving them in that we tend not to recognizestrength, ability and resilience. How often do we create opportunities for youth toserve us or others? How often do we seek feedback directly from difficult, problem saturated youth regarding how we as helpers can change to serve them better? How often do we create circumstances for our client teens in which theycan serve in leadership roles?I am proposing we give the teens involved in Adams County Children &Youth Services an opportunity to demonstrate leadership skills and assist in building

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