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Wednesday, June 17 • 1:45pm - 3:15pm
Building Resilience In Children and Youth -Rebecca Fairchild, Jennifer First, Carolyn Mak, Madelyn Labella, Myrna McNitt, Gerald Jacobs

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Building Resilience In Children And Youth:

Abstract # 19
Strengthening Relationships: Music Therapy Performances With Pre-Adolescent Children And Families Living In Crisis
Presenter: Rebecca Fairchild
Living in crisis due to homelessness and family violence often leads to a lack of positive health resources, broken relationships and feelings of isolation for pre-adolescent children.  Engaging in creative mediums provides an outlet for children to express their emotions, connect with others and developing healthy coping styles (McFerran, 2010). This paper describes a qualitative research project exploring the experience of sharing a music therapy performance for children and their families. Three pre-adolescent children participated in a 14-week music therapy group that culminated in the sharing of a musical performance with their families. Following the performance, interviews were conducted with the participants in the program as well as their parents. An interpretative phenomenological analysis (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009) identified individual and shared themes, and the findings will be discussed. 

Abstract # 20
Enhancing Resilience In Children And Adolescents Using The Resilience And Coping Intervention (RCI)
Presenter: Jennifer First
The Resilience and Coping Intervention (RCI) is a group intervention designed for use with school-aged children and adolescents to help participants identify thoughts, feelings, and coping strategies related to psychological, behavioral, and relationship issues following a traumatic or other problematic experience or event in the context of developmental challenges and the usual stresses of daily life. RCI is a coping exercise that engages a group of children or adolescents in a dialogue about issues that may be difficult to discuss, encouraging them to share their thoughts and feelings about their experiences and to identify appropriate and successful coping strategies. RCI is a strength-based intervention that can be administered in a single session by mental health professionals, teachers, parents, caregivers, or other adults in the community that have been trained in conducting the interview.  Results from a non-controlled before and after study revealed that participating children and youth (N=74) reported increased hope about the future, improved coping skills, and a better overall ability to handle emotions and behaviors.

Abstract # 25
Kids Help Phone's Online And Mobile Tools
Presenter: Carolyn Mak
This Facilitated Discussion will present two of Kids Help Phone’s online and mobile tools that support youth mental health and well-being; our mobile app, Always There, and interactive map-based tool, Resources Around Me. Always There was launched in December, 2012 and has five features including a Feelings Log, Stress Buster, vetted information from our Teens' websites, as well as the ability to reach a professional counsellor at the touch of a button. Launched in January, 2014, Resources Around Me puts the power of Kids Help Phone’s Community Resource Database – which our counsellors use every day to help young people connect to services offering direct support in their communities – in the hands of youth themselves. By offering these tools in English and French to young people, free, and available 24/7, we are empowering them to explore information, services, and resources that work best for them in a medium with which they are most familiar. We believe that this helps them build skills to support themselves when they are faced with challenges and encourages help-seeking.

Abstract # 8
Promoting Resilience By Improving Children's Sleep: A Pilot Intervention For High-Risk Families
Presenter: Madelyn Labella
Authors: Madelyn H. Labella, Andrew J. Barnes, Amanda W. Kalstabakken, Janelle Leppa, Ann S. Masten
Poverty has been linked to sleep disruption, which is in turn associated with behavior problems and poor physical health (Bates et al., 2002; Brouillette et al., 2011). Thus, sleep disturbance may be a key mechanism for effects of poverty on child development. In a collaborative effort to promote resilience by improving sleep, university and community partners developed a novel intervention to boost healthy sleep habits in low-income families, with potential benefits for children’s sleep quality, self-regulation, and family routines. 
Pilot participants are twelve 4-8 year old children and their biological mothers, all residing in transitional housing. Families are predominantly African American, led by single parents who are currently unemployed. Targeted outcomes are family routines, household chaos, and children’s sleep, self-regulation, and behavior, assessed by parent report, sleep actigraphy, and executive function performance. 
At baseline, children’s behavior problems were associated with exposure to stress (recent and lifetime), household chaos was inversely related to family routines, and sleep problems were negatively associated with income. Sleep data acquired throughout the intervention, results from follow-up testing, and parent feedback will be presented. Preliminary evidence of feasibility and acceptability, along with implications for community collaboration, will be discussed.  

Abstract # 52
Children In Foster Care: A Positive Experience Or A Threat To Resilience?
Presenter: Myrna McNitt Co - Presenters: Kathleen Kufeldt
Children receive protection through interventions delivered by formal systems of care including use of foster care.  Children have the right to be linked to their family and community, and receive developmentally appropriate interventions to assure for their protection and well-being.  In child protection the rights of the child are best carried out when services are child centered, family focused, and community based.  All too often child protection services are loosely organized and constructed; and are reactive rather than proactively planned.  Poor outcomes in foster care been well documented in areas of education, employability, substance misuse and early parenting.  Lyons and Rogers (2004) indicate that half of children in the system have clinically significant emotional or behavioral problems…this high level of mental health problems makes the child welfare system a behavioral health care system. There is a failure in child welfare to use evidence based practices drawing from services which are clinically based and scientifically researched. (p.134)  All of this undermines the resiliency of the foster child. To reduce risks and promote resiliency, services must be holistic and address the child’s normative development in all areas.  Assessment and Action Records are evidenced based and promote healthy child development and resiliency.

Abstract #335
Youth Transitioning from Care:  A Youth Development Approach strengthening Resilience
Presenter: Gerald Jacobs 
Mamelani Projects is a Non-Profit in Cape Town, South Africa.  Mamelani’s Youth Development Programme works with young people transitioning from residential Child and Youth Care Centers. We have developed an approach that capacitates young people to deal with realities post-care. Research has shown that without adequate support, this target group faces poor outcomes in adult life. We are working with young people, and nurturing the environments into which they return to strengthen practices and service provision towards pathway planning for smoother transitions. We have drawn lessons from International research (local research in this area is still very limited), and have been encouraged to see the approach is well suited to address the contextual issues in the sector and also aligned with International best practice We would like to share our experiences of developing an approach – one that is a contextually sensitive and a South African model for providing transitional support. The approach outlines a positive youth development practice that is strengths-based and collaborative. Focus is placed on building networks of support and marking growth through ceremonies and rites of passage. 


Carolyn Mak

Carolyn Mak is the Director of Knowledge Mobilization and Program Development. She holds a Masters of Social Work, and brings years of experience as a school social worker and individual counsellor in children’s mental health and family service agencies. Besides working directly... Read More →
avatar for Gerald Jacobs

Gerald Jacobs

Program Manager, Mamelani Projects
Gerald Jacobs is the Program Manager at Mamelani Projects in Cape Town, South Africa. The program, advocates for the needs of youth transitioning from alternative care, supports local institutions by strengthening their transitional support services and walks alongside youth as they... Read More →
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Jennifer First

Mental Health Program Manager, Disaster and Community Crisis Center
Jennifer First, MA, MSW is the Mental Health Program Manager for the Disaster and Community Crisis Center at the University of Missouri. Her clinical experience includes providing services for families and children experiencing homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, sexual assault... Read More →

Madelyn Labella

Madelyn is a third year graduate student in the joint child development and clinical science program at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. She is a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow whose interests include intervening to promote healthy... Read More →

Myrna McNitt

International Foster Care Organization & Lake Michigan College
Myrna is on the Board of the International Foster Care Organization and chairs its Training & Development Committee. She travels extensively and has earned an international reputation for the quality of her teaching and training. Work experience includes specialized foster care in... Read More →
avatar for Rebecca Fairchild

Rebecca Fairchild

Registered Music Therapist; PhD Candidate, Bethany; The University of Melbourne
Rebecca Fairchild is a Registered Music Therapist from Australia. She works part time as a music therapy group facilitator at Bethany, supporting children and families living in crisis due to homelessness and family violence. Rebecca is a PhD candidate at The University of Melbourne... Read More →


Kathleen Kufeldt

Adjunct Professor at University of New BrunswickKathleen has worked in a children's residence, front line child protection, fostered teenagers, and has an international reputation for foster care research. Academic positions include Assistant Deanship in the Faculty of Social Work... Read More →

Wednesday June 17, 2015 1:45pm - 3:15pm EDT
Seminar 7 A&A Lower Floor, King's College

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