By Angela M Taylor.
Russell House Publishing
Calls for a new breed of staff to work with adolescents and criticisms of the green paper, Every Child Matters, for its lack of focus on older children make Taylor’s well structured, practical book welcome.
The book’s knowledge base is psychology and counselling. It does not aim at the clinic or the couch but at staff and mentors who work with young people in caf’s and clubs, showing how to arrest problems through early intervention.
Relationship skills, such as confidentiality, boundary setting, reflecting feelings and endings, are covered and issues include parents, cultural identities, sex, drugs and alcohol, crime and bereavement.
Each section deals with what is “normal” and “problematic” and sets out helpful approaches. Case studies give sound practice advice and readers are guided to sources for further help.
Throughout, there are warnings about “not getting in too deep” while rightly emphasising the importance of these “front-line” relationships. I was left wondering whether agencies employing such workers can provide the systems and structures of support that this book suggests are necessary if we are to respond to adolescents in the way they need.
Joyce Moseley is chief executive of young people’s charity Rainer and a member of the Youth Justice Board.