Understanding child and youth care practice.
In every organization there is need for ethical practices and the Child and Youth Care field is not an exception. Stuart (2009:181) defines a code of ethics as a set of rules or standards for behavior or as a set of principles to follow in making decisions about how to behave. These set of rules will be the yardstick for right and wrong in the field of Child and Youth Care work. Below is going to be a discussion on the importance of ethical practices, the writers’ view on what the consequences of unethical practice should be and the reasons why it should be so. More so, one can expect to see a case study of an unethical practice that occurred at an orphanage in Zimbabwe. Just before the conclusion there is going to be a section of a reflection on how far the care of children came over the centuries and how it has affected the writer.
Gharabaghl (2008:185) points out that the centrality of the concept of relationship within Child and Youth Care practice, it is clear that values are an important element of that practice. So much so that it is rather very difficult to imagine Child and Youth Care practice unfolding in the absence of any role or value. This then shows that in order for the organization to be a successful one people have to be able to follow a certain way of carrying out their different tasks. Hence ethical practice is important. It of paramount importance to take note that, personal values are shaped by our past, present and future thus people have different values. Therefore, in order to engage with children and youth one should be able to not allow ones’ values to provide a framework for ones’ thoughts of action in an unfettered manner or each agrees to mitigate or transcend specific values in order to limit the range of acceptable interventions and interactions. This is because if there is acceptance of the unfettered presence and impact of values in work, the risk of exposing or impacting children with harmful or negative interventions is great. A very good example is that many individuals view corporal punishment as deeply embedded not only as an acceptable practice but also as a core component of the value system related to raising and disciplining children. As a profession however, child and youth care practice does not accept the value system of endorsing corporal punishment.
Furthermore, Banks (1999:56) postulate that, ethical values are important because ethics can serve as a bridge between differences within ones’ personal values and value systems of the profession and on the other hand the rights and well being of children and youth as determined by a broad social, legal and cultural consensus about the rules and methods of professional engagement with children and youth. Hence the presence of certain values gives room for professionalism thus when the practitioners are dealing with decision making it will not be biased because no personal values would have been used.
Additionally, Sercombe (1998:35) mentions the following as unethical practices in the field of child and youth. These are selling of drugs to young people, having sexual relationships with them, sharing pornographic videos, embezzling agency funds and turning up to work drunk These are just some of the many unethical things that can happen in this field. Every action that one takes whether good or bad always has consequence. There might delay but they always come. In this case if one who was entrusted with children does something that is against the organizations’ values they have to pay the consequences. For instance if one decides to turn up to work drunk those in authority after giving the person warnings have to fire that person. This is so because the practitioner in question might be bad influence to the children. And at the end of the day the reputation of the organization will be in jeopardy.
Another consequence of unethical practice that can be...