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ERIC Number: EJ869923
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-1089-5701
Reclaiming Our "Toughest" Youth
Gharabaghi, Kiaras
Reclaiming Children and Youth, v17 n3 p30-32 Fall 2008
Some so-called "evidence-based" interventions are narrow methods which are justified by some quantitative research. This limited focus ignores broader qualitative studies showing that interpersonal relationships wield more impact than technique. Even a cursory review of youth-serving organizations demonstrates that the overwhelming majority of evidence-based approaches to youth work applied in these organizations have not been based on what might be termed "relational child and youth care." In practice settings ranging from children's mental health to child welfare, and from private group homes to family intervention programs, youth workers are encouraged to have relationships with youth, but beyond that, they are trained to follow the teachings and scientific rationales of cognitive therapy, pharmacological interventions, and even behavioral therapy buttressed by external controls and token economies. It is all the more interesting that in spite of this, the field of youth work has increasingly committed to the idea of relational work, with a wide range of scholars concluding that relationships in effect are the intervention. In this article, the author argues that the challenge of reclaiming the toughest youth is plagued by an important question that has gone unanswered: what is the goal of working with the toughest youth? Is it to make them less "tough," to change them, to make them comply? The author contends that the evidence base provides no answer in this regard, but metaphor does. Despite the value of science, metaphor is a far more powerful guide to reclaiming the toughest youth.
Reclaiming Children and Youth. PO Box 57 104 N Main Street, Lennox, SD 57039. Tel: 605-647-2532; Fax: 605-647-5212; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A