RHY Community of Practice Hot Topics

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Community of Practice (CoP) provides runaway and homeless youth (RHY) grantee representatives from across the country an opportunity to share expertise and learn from each other. We all know staff cannot always attend conferences or join Talk It Out Thursday to collaborate with colleagues; the CoP provides another opportunity to make these connections. The CoP allows you to communicate with colleagues on your time schedule, as it is available 24/7. Did you connect with an RHY colleague at a training event? If so, you can maintain and strengthen that connection through the CoP. New and current RHY grantees are encouraged to join this free resource today and begin sharing your expertise and learning from colleagues!

This month's CoP "hot" topics, discussions, and questions are:

Support for Parents of LGBTQ Youth

  • Question: We're looking to start a support group for parents of LGBTQ youth. Does anyone offer a support group for parents of LGBTQ youth currently that would be willing to share their experience?
  • Responses: 1) Here is a resource from Human Rights Campaign that may be helpful: http://www.hrc.org/resources/transgender-children-and-youth-finding-support-for-you-and-your-family. 2) Family Acceptance Project has family education resources as well: https://familyproject.sfsu.edu/publications. 3) In our community we have an active chapter of PFLAG, which is a nationally affiliated support group for parents, friends, and allies of LGBTQ folks--it is an established and solid program.  If your community does not have a chapter, I'd encourage you to check with the national website on how to begin one!  You then have the linkage with national issues involving the LGBTQ community as well as the support group.

Youth being "disrespectful" and creating a "hostile environment"

  • Question: We have youth who can get upset easily and maybe yell (at staff) or slam doors and cabinets. I have been working with youth for over 10 years. I understand that the anger is not directed at me and don't take it personally. I don't see it as disrespectful and see it as a youth in need of help. However, my newer staff and clinician's believe behavior like that is disrespectful, inappropriate, and youth who create a hostile environment should be asked to leave the program. I want my staff to feel supported but I feel that working with clients who exhibit this behavior comes with the job. How do I help them see it's not directed at them and to focus more on their case plans and less on these types of behaviors? Does anyone else struggle with this? And how do you handle it?
  • Responses: 1) A trauma informed approach is important when working with youth AND as a clinician, it is important to address their inappropriate and ineffective behavior. Trauma informed care is not an excuse for the youth to act disrespectfully, but rather a way to understand what could be prompting this type of behavior. Addressing from a punitive approach is not effective in assisting the youth and ignoring that their behavior is disrespectful is not the goal either. Creating a safe therapeutic relationship so that these issues can be addressed to assist the youth in decreasing unacceptable/disrespectful/inappropriate behaviors. Reducing the behaviors will assist the youth in their school and work environments in addition to improving interactions with staff. 2) I attended the training of trainers events, "Providing Shelter from the Storm: Trauma Informed Care for Direct Care Staff" and "Trauma Informed Care Institute." Both were RHYTTAC trainings around 2009 or 2010. I don't see any scheduled for this year but RHYTTAC usually hosts a TOT at least once a year. It would be easy to request that they schedule one and provide it in your area to reduce travel costs. It looks like 2015 was in Hawaii and 2016 was in Chicago.

In addition to the discussions, which any member can initiate and/or respond to, you will have access to the 'file cabinet' which has resources ranging from sample forms to sample resident handbooks to research articles. Anyone can upload resources to the file cabinet too! We currently have 860 members and have plenty of room for you and your colleagues to join us as we work together to make RHY programs and services stronger so children, youth, and families accessing services THRIVE.

RHY Grantees may join today at: https://rhyttac.groupsite.com/join

Once you're signed in, you may download the COP Training Guide at: http://rhyttac.groupsite.com/uploads/files/x/000/08d/fe6/RHYTTAC%20CoP%20Guidebook.pdf?135946503