Aligning Practice, Ethics, and Policy: Adopting a Harm Reduction Approach in Working With High-Risk Children and Youth (Chapter 6 in Transforming Child Welfare: Interdisciplinary Practices, Field Education, and Research).
Voices From the PrairiesTransforming Child Welfare: Interdisciplinary Practices, Field Education, and Research. Part 2, Practice
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This chapter will examine the application of a harm reduction approach in child welfare practice with high-risk children and youth. It will address questions about how and why this approach can help engage and empower such a challenging population. This chapter defines harm reduction through drawing on contemporary literature that is relevant to child protection and highlights the High Risk Youth Initiative in Edmonton, Alberta. This chapter offers a case example that supports the unique application of a harm reduction approach to a traditionally risk-averse system. This chapter offers a sound argument for harm reduction approaches as a foundation for strengths-based approaches with high-risk youth. Further, this chapter recognizes this work is challenging and identifies that a social justice framework is a driving force that compels this work forward in the best interests of children and youth. (Author abstract)
agency practice; ethics; policies; children at risk; empowerment; child engagement; youth engagement; Alberta; Canada