Working with Youth

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What is Youth Work? Youth work is a complex practice; it is extremely difficult to define all the aspects of youth work as it exists in a wide range of settings, it reaches a large diversity of young people, it can cover many themes and is on the interface with many other practices and professions. Youth work can be a powerful educational tool providing the required skills to survive in today’s risk society; youth work broadens the social environment of young people and helps with the challenges and complexities that face them, however, youth work does not have a clear identity and there is no agreed definition of youth work in Australia (WWYP p99-100). Working with Young People The Youth Affairs Council of Victoria has developed the following Youth Work Principles: Youth workers will work towards enabling and ensuring: • The empowerment of all young people • Young people’s participation • Social justice for young people • The safety of young people • Respect for young people’s human dignity and worth • Young people’s connectedness to important people in their lives, such as family and community • Positive health and wellbeing outcomes for young people • The positive transitions and healthy development of young people. To work ethically with young people, youth workers will adopt the following practice responsibilities: • Recognition of Indigenous peoples. • Young people as the primary consideration. • Duty of care. • Privacy and confidentiality. • Boundaries. • Transparency, honesty and integrity. • Social context. • Anti-oppressive practice – non-discrimination, equity and self-awareness. • Co-operation and collaboration. • Knowledge, skills and self-care (YACVic p3-5). History of Youth Work Youth work originated in the 19th century, when many children from poor families who could not afford to keep them, sent them out
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