Intervention is one of the most important domains utilized in the field. And, yes, while all of the other domains are important, intervention is the domain that covers the actual methods that CYCPs use to remedy situations and issues that they and their clients may come across. The sub-domains under intervention include: lifespace intervention, advocacy, group work, planned intervention and intervention plans. Yes, the last two are different.
Our first sub-domain, lifespace intervention, is a primary type of intervention used most frequently by CYCPs. Lifespace intervention is what happens when practitioners use everyday events in the milieu of the client, like socializing, playing games, mealtimes and relaxing, in a way that may alter the development of the client in a positive way. For example, encouraging a client to wear a helmet each time they ride their bicycle instills an unconscious respect for safety while riding, even if the practitioner never once explains exactly why a helmet is necessary. For all intents and purposes, though, one should probably explain why safety is important when they work with children.
There are four ‘dimensions,’ as we’ll call them, in the lifespace, namely physical, mental, relational and virtual. The physical dimension of the lifespace refers to the actual space that a client occupies- this could be their home, school setting, a public park they visit often, wherever. The mental dimension is a collection of thoughts and feelings that connect that client to the physical place; a negative mental lifespace is one that serves as a reminder of abuse or trauma, or one that oppresses, while a positive one is built up with fond memories and lessons. The relational dimension is sort of similar to the mental one, but focuses more on the actual relationships built within the lifespace, and what the people in those relationships do or have done together. Playing games, learning to cook new recipes, cleaning and what else have you. Lastly is the virtual dimension, which can mean literally virtual spaces such as online platforms, or intangible things in the physical environment, like imagination and spirituality (Stuart, 2009). Each of these dimensions connect to the overall lifespace of a young person, where, as mentioned above, CYCPs perform the most intervention.
The second sub-domain here is advocacy. Advocacy is a very important tool that CYCPs possess when they work with clients; while it is unfortunate, a great number of clients have next to no voice in their society, and the ones that do have voice are too fearful to use it, or do not know how. This is where practitioners come in. A CYCP can choose to stand in front of, beside or behind a client at any given time, to speak for them, with them or to them. This way, a practitioner may speak on behalf of a client if necessary, or stand beside or behind them, if they need someone to support them. Advocacy is the idea of elevating and empowering children and youth– young people deserve to be listened to and respected, and the career of a CYCP is partly dedicated to making this happen.
Next in the sub-domains is group work. While it sounds similar to teamwork, which was explained in the domain of relationship, group work is a fuel, in a sense, that practitioners make use of to teach young people how to solve disagreements, socialize skillfully and collaborate in group settings in school, work and other opportunities in life. Group work is accomplished in order for each member to understand the dynamics and personalities of every other member; this is also important for collaboration opportunities later in life for clients. Additionally, group work enhances ability to cope with a client’s personal problems, and ones that are outside of the group, be they of the community, province or something even larger (Stuart 2009).
Planned Interventions is our next sub-domain, which encompasses the activities, interactions and behavioural management methods that practitioners use to create and support goals of children and youth (Stuart, 2009). Planned interventions are always adapting to changes and situations that arise in the client’s life, so they’re never really set in stone. Examples of planned interventions could be: referrals to other agencies in case of a change in the client’s life, a service plan for counseling based on the client’s needs and so on. These are primary steps into what are formally known as intervention plans, our next topic.
Intervention Plans are essentially upgraded versions of planned interventions; they are written plans with both the process that went into the planning and reports that document the plan for a specific client or their family throughout the work they do with the CYCP (Stuart, 2009). The method of creation for these plans involves observation, assessment and planning. Observation is the first step, in which the practitioner identifies strengths, areas of improvement and goals that a young person may have. Next is assessment, where the practitioner may develop documents such as “ecomaps” (an assessment of relationships a client has with various things in their life) surrounding the client and their life, in and out of the home. Planning is the final step, in which the intervention plan is actually developed, addressing the observed and assessed needs and goals of the client. It should be noted that the goals should all be “SMART”- specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-limited.
Once the plan is developed and put into motion, evaluation must be done. The goals that the practitioner and the client created in the plan are reviewed once they have been evaluated, to recognize successes and the outcomes of the goals. If they are not achieved, revision may be necessary, which starts the cycle anew with observation.
Intervention is a large piece of the work one does as a CYCP, as it encompasses the plans one creates with their clients and families, the goals of those young people and their successes. As the field is strength-based, it is important to recognize achievement and bring about positivity when it is due. When there is an area of development to be worked on, practitioners and young people address this and work together to achieve greatness in that area with intervention.
Stuart, C. (2009). Foundations of Child and Youth Care. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company.
Image taken from mohawkcollege.ca.