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Phillip McKay

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If you ran a program for teenagers. How would you do it? How would you address the concern of anti-social behaviours?

I'm asking for your contributions to be considered for a funded program. Its up and running but I am always looking to improve and would value your comments. Designed to divert young people from the Youth Justice System, it presently holds restorative principles at its core. With the objective of increasing health and well-being ( and reducing offending behaviour). Share with me your ideas, suggest practical activities, models of working and ways of healing. Our teenagers can do it hard, in this stage, as reflected in the mental health and suicide statistics and through a question raised recently in these conversations by a young man. The young people I work with have come from poor backgrounds, with broken families, disengaged from school and with alcohol and other drugs and mental health concerns. There is often intergenerational offending and a variety of criminogenic needs. Their risk of continuing to offend is high with many having already served periods of detention. The limitation or advantage is that four staff can work intensively with these people for 10 weeks. Is my mission doomed? Is ten weeks enough? Staff ratio is good but time is poor. How do you maximise your impact? This conversation may well be doomed with minds that have forgotten both the delight and angst of teenagerhooddom - perhaps the answer is more likely found listening to the young people? Not that you’re old and not that there’s any matter with old. Still lets give it a go and see. I'd value your thoughts.

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    Oct 11 2011: I think the problem is basically with connection. These kids are anti-social because they cannot connect to people, have been betrayed by people, not loved by people, etc. May I suggest dogs (loving and loyal) and /or horses (large, scary, would be a challenge and would command respect). Perhaps a breakthrough could be made through animals. Riding for the Disabled is a wonderful program… perhaps something similar would work for your kids as they have not been betrayed by animals and they may feel safe with them. Safe enough to connect….

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