15 Jun Children from residential care – from risk to prosocial opportunities
Name of the Project
Children from residential care – from risk to prosocial opportunities
Country, City, Neighbourhood
Iasi county (cities of Iasi, Targu Frumos)
Who is developing the project?
Alternative Sociale Association
Swiss-Romanian Cooperation Programme / Iasi County Child Protection Department
”Anger management abilities for children from residential child protection services”
The project aimed to develop an educational program for the development of anger management abilities for youths. It included several phases – evaluation of needs, development and a testing – and involved professionals (educators, social workers and psychologists) from the Iasi County Child Protection Department and youth from residential care.
Although the program was developed to be used in placement centres with youth with behaviour issues, its sessions are just as relevant for children and youth from the general population.
The program is based on a cognitive-behavioural approach, and it aims to help children understand their anger, to analyse it and to make conscious decisions, a healthy, constructive behavioural response to tense social situations that may result in conflict.
Objectives of the Project
Scope: To develop prosocial behaviours in children with pre-delinquent behaviours from residential care centres.
Objective 1: To develop abilities for working with children with anti-social behaviour for 164 professionals from 10 residential care centres of Iasi CCPD.
Objective 2: To develop anger management abilities for 160 children aged 10-18 from 10 residential care centres of Iasi CCPD.
Tools and Methods
a. Research and content creation (educational program)
The project produced a 12 sessions program for developing anger management skills, for youth. The program design was based on a needs assessment conducted with the participation of youth from the target group and with the contribution of professionals (questionnaire, focus group).
b. Training activities for professionals
The project included training sessions for professionals, designed to put participants in the shoes of youth participating in the program. The process helped refine the program for youth but also allowed professionals to improve their understanding how the sessions would affect youth (emotionally, from the perspective of the power dynamics of the group etc.), how to motivate them to stay in the program, what additional gains or barriers are to be expected from the participation to the program etc.
The training itself included:
- experiential activities (sharing of personal experience with the topic and youth), role play, meetings with community elders ();
- practical activities (participants applied the sessions of the program with the youth they work with the participation of the trainer as co-facilitator);
What methodologies does the project use?
- participatory processes (initial needs evaluation with the participation of youth and of educators, impact assessment after the application of the program)
- digital tools
- cultural heritage (activities developed together by elders and participating youth)
- social innovation tools
- design thinking (UX)
It is proven that anger is a normal human emotion which, when it cannot be controlled, becomes destructive, causing problems at school/at work, in relation to the persons around us, affecting the quality of life. It can be caused by internal factors (we felt hurt, offended) or external (out favourite team lost). When we recall traumatic events, conflicts, we may experience intense anger. This reaction is a natural response of adjustment to threats which determines intense reactions and behaviours and which helps us fight and defend ourselves when we are attacked (American Psychologists Association, 2016).
In order to be controlled, anger needs to be understood. This emotion varies in intensity from moderate to uncontrolled fury. Like other emotions, anger determines physiological changes in the body: it raises the heart rates and blood pressure, hormones (such as adrenaline or noradrenaline) are released to create energy.
The program is based on a cognitive-behavioural approach, and it aims to help children understand their anger, to analyse it and to make conscious decisions, a healthy, constructive behavioural response to tense social situations that may result in conflict. The program is structured in 3 parts: first part introduces children in the topic of anger, helping them understand what it is and how it works, the second part focuses on how anger relates to everyday life situations, and the third part strengthens (through exercises) the acceptance and control over strong emotions as well as the choice of healthy behavioural responses.
The program introduces and explains concepts correlated to anger: violence (extreme forms of physical, verbal and symbolic aggression), perception (the way in which we see and understand what happens around us), shame (a complex emotional discomfort), guilt (responsibility felt as a result of an error), assertiveness (self-reliance and non-aggression), while passing information, developing abilities and exercising constructive behaviour, facilitating personal development and social integration of institutionalized children.
Selected tags about the project
#educational group activity
How does it develop in time?
The program included a series of 16 hours of training and 12 sessions of co-facilitation for professionals, and the participation to 12 sessions of educational program for children.
- educators working with youth with behaviour problems
- youth with behaviour problems from placement centers (public)
- participating professionals have the essential information about anger, particularities of child and youth development, the role and the importance of the facilitator in working with groups;
- participating professionals understood the approach of the anger management program and adjusted their expectations with regards to the expected results of the implementation of the program with their children;
- participants acquired abilities for working sessions with groups of youth;
- Iasi CCPD has a proven program for working with all children from its residential care centres.
How is it evaluated?
Impact evaluation study