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How Should You Refer to the Youth in Care You Work with in the Child Welfare Setting?

Who are we today? Are we a case number? We really hope we aren't. Are we drug addicts? Well, none of us recall ever abusing drugs, but even if we had experimented with drug use, we do not believe labelling us drug addicts is very accurate. There is so much more to us than what you read about in the notes attached to our files. We are YOUTH and we are okay with you referring to us as 'your youth' since the reality is that we are youth growing up in care.

 

At a recent YouthSAID meeting, we had a conversation about families, children and youth involved with the children's aid society being referred to as 'client' or 'service users.' We are cringed at the thought of existing as a 'clients' or 'service users.' We feel strongly that these two terms are very degrading and impersonal and SHOULD NOT be used when working with children, youth and families. How are workers going to get to know the individuals they work with if they are looking down on them and simply referring to them as a client or service user? We are so much more than that! We are people!!

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