*WORKERS IN CHILDREN’S RESIDENTIAL SETTINGS*
Shakina T. Jones
THOMAS E. POULIN, PhD, Faculty Mentor and Chair
BRIAN ROLAND, PhD, Committee Member
MADLYN BONIMY, PhD, Committee Member
Charlyn A. Hilliman, PhD, Dean, School of Public Service Leadership
A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements for the Degree
Doctor of Public Administration
Month Year (of final conference call)
© Shakina T. Jones, 2019
*Purpose*: The purpose of this study was to address the gap in the literature by exploring the training needs of youth development workers in children’s residential settings. Youth development consists of activities that promote the health and well-being of youth transitioning into adulthood. Several studies exist that focus on prevention and program outcomes, however, studies that focus on the significance of training youth development workers is limited. *Methods*: A generic qualitative research design was used to collect data through semi-structured interviews, direct observation of staff training, and a 5-question youth development worker survey. Interviews were conducted with 10 employees that provide youth development services in a children’s residential setting. A standard questionnaire consisting of 14 questions was used with all participants. *Results*: 60% of the participants in the study did not receive training for their role as a youth development worker prior to being employed at the organization. A consistent method for designing and implementing programs was not identified in this study; there was a lack of structure and consistency around the decision-making process. Findings suggest that youth development workers agree that mandatory training is necessary and beneficial; however, it is recommended that training is focused on specific populations and/or tailored to specific programs. *Discussion*:
This dissertation is dedicated to my beautiful children, Mia and Michael Wade. I love you both more than words can express. My hope is that the completion of my dissertation is an example of perseverance and a lesson to teach you to never give up on your dreams. I would also like to dedicate this dissertation to myself for beating the odds and finishing what I started despite several challenges.
The completion of this dissertation would not have been possible without all those who have supported me throughout this journey. I would like to acknowledge the human resources representative from my place of employment who encouraged me to pursue a doctoral program and showed me that there was more than one path to pursue my dreams. Thank you to the Capella University’s admission and advising staff for always answering my questions and resolving my issues.
I want to give a special thank you to Ryan Hughes (Associate Enrollment Counselor) whose customer service and knowledge was my determining factor in selecting Capella University for my doctoral studies. I would also like to give a special thank you to the Capella University librarians. The literature review consultations were a life saver. To my former mentor Dr. Charles Dunn thank you for your encouragement and continual support, I really appreciate you. I would also like to acknowledge my mentor Dr. Thomas E. Poulin who pushed me to the finish line. I do not believe I would have completed this dissertation in a timely manner without you. Thank you to my family, friends, and colleagues for your encouragement. There were several times that I wanted to quit but your reaffirming words caused me to continue the process. This chapter is finally closed!
Table of Contents
Abstract. iii <#_Toc21687660>
Dedication. iv <#_Toc21687661>
Acknowledgments. v <#_Toc21687662>
Introduction to the Problem.. 1 <#_Toc21687663>
Background of the Study. 2 <#_Toc21687664>
Statement of the Problem.. 3 <#_Toc21687665>
Purpose of the Study. 5 <#_Toc21687666>
Rationale. 6 <#_Toc21687667>
Research Questions (RQ). 7 <#_Toc21687668>
RQ1. 7 <#_Toc21687669>
RQ2. 7 <#_Toc21687670>
RQ3. 7 <#_Toc21687671>
Significance of the Study. 7 <#_Toc21687672>
Definition of Terms. 8 <#_Toc21687673>
Drop-out 8 <#_Toc21687674>
Residential Treatment Services. 8 <#_Toc21687675>
School Engagement 8 <#_Toc21687676>
Social Development Programming Model 8 <#_Toc21687677>
Training. 8 <#_Toc21687678>
Youth. 9 <#_Toc21687679>
Youth Development Worker. 9 <#_Toc21687680>
Assumptions and Limitations. 9 <#_Toc21687681>
Nature of the Study. 10 <#_Toc21687682>
Organization of the Remainder of the Study. 10 <#_Toc21687683>
Chapter Two: Literature Review.. 12 <#_Toc21687684>
Introduction. 12 <#_Toc21687685>
Methods of Searching. 12 <#_Toc21687686>
Theoretical Orientation. 13 <#_Toc21687687>
Literature Review.. 15 <#_Toc21687688>
Employee Training. 15 <#_Toc21687689>
Private Sector versus Public Sector. 19 <#_Toc21687690>
Training and Youth Development Workers. 20 <#_Toc21687691>
Roles and Functions of Youth Development Workers. 21 <#_Toc21687692>
Children’s Residential Settings. 25 <#_Toc21687693>
Synthesis of Findings. 33 <#_Toc21687694>
Critiques of Previous Research Methods. 35 <#_Toc21687695>
Summary. 38 <#_Toc21687696>
Chapter Three: Methodology. 39 <#_Toc21687697>
Introduction. 39 <#_Toc21687698>
Purpose of the Study. 39 <#_Toc21687699>
Research Question. 40 <#_Toc21687700>
Research Design. 40 <#_Toc21687701>
Target Population and Sample. 42 <#_Toc21687702>
Population. 42 <#_Toc21687703>
Sample. 42 <#_Toc21687704>
Procedures. 43 <#_Toc21687705>
Participant Selection. 43 <#_Toc21687706>
Protection of Participants. 45 <#_Toc21687707>
Expert Review.. 45 <#_Toc21687708>
Data Collection. 46 <#_Toc21687709>
Data Analysis. 48 <#_Toc21687710>
Instruments. 50 <#_Toc21687711>
Role of the Researcher. 52 <#_Toc21687712>
Guiding Interview Questions. 53 <#_Toc21687713>
Ethical Considerations. 54 <#_Toc21687714>
Summary. 56 <#_Toc21687715>
Chapter Four: Results. 58 <#_Toc21687716>
Introduction. 58 <#_Toc21687717>
The Study and the Researcher. 58 <#_Toc21687718>
Description of the Sample. 60 <#_Toc21687719>
Research Methodology Applied to Data Analysis. 62 <#_Toc21687720>
Presentation of Data and Results of Analysis. 63 <#_Toc21687721>
Interview Questions. 64 <#_Toc21687722>
Survey. 70 <#_Toc21687723>
Observations. 72 <#_Toc21687724>
Summary. 74 <#_Toc21687725>
References. 77 <#_Toc21687726>
APPENDIX A. STATEMENT OF ORIGINAL WORK. 95 <#_Toc21687727>
Academic Honesty Policy. 95 <#_Toc21687728>
Statement of Original Work and Signature. 96 <#_Toc21687729>
APPENDIX B. INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE. 97 <#_Toc21687730>
Qualitative Interview Questions. 97 <#_Toc21687731>
APPENDIX C. YOUTH DEVELOPMENT SURVEY. 98 <#_Toc21687732>
Youth Development Worker Survey. 98 <#_Toc21687733>
APPENDIX D. OBSERVATION PROTOCAL.. 99 <#_Toc21687734>
Youth Development Worker Training. 99 <#_Toc21687735>
C*hapter one: Introduction* Introduction to the Problem
The topic of this research study is to explore the training needs of youth development workers in children’s residential settings. Training can be challenging where staff coverage and supervision of youth is required all day and night and where there is staff turnover (Gharabaghi, 2009). According to Shek and Wai (2008), “although many studies are evaluating the effectiveness of positive youth development programs, training programs for workers implementing such programs are seldom examined” (p. 823). This qualitative research study includes interviewing ten youth development workers employed in a children’s residential setting was designed to address the gap in the literature.
Youth development workers in the United States are usually entry-level positions with a high turnover rate and without a code of ethics or professional distinction (Evans et al., 2009). Youth development workers function in diverse contexts and various roles that assist in the development of youth transitioning into a productive citizen that contributes to society. This research was conducted with youth development workers employed at a private, non-profit organization located in the United States of America.
The organization focuses on serving adults, children, and families living with a mental illness, addiction, or developmental disability. The organization’s holistic treatment model is dedicated to improving quality of life through an array of services, including residential treatment and social services. This focus of care helps individuals achieve both mental and physical wellness to become productive citizens that contribute to society. Productive citizens help build healthy communities that make healthy cities. The health of a city impacts the health of a state the conditions of a State affect the nation, which can change the world. Background of the Study
For the past decades, the government has partnered with non-profit organizations to deliver a full range of social services that are difficult to address through public entities. The government may not have the capacity to meet these public needs, and the public would be served better by the experts in the field (Never & de Leon, 2014). These partnerships usually occur through government contracts or grants for non-profit organizations to deliver services. Services can range from mental health counselling and food services to youth development and housing (Never & de Leon, 2014). Non-profit organizations address social problems and improve the quality of life and can have a positive impact on the economy and the criminal justice system. For non-profit organizations to continue to meet public needs through service delivery, employees must be trained adequately to achieve program goals (Kalambi, 2015).
Training is defined as “a planned process to modify attitude, knowledge, skill or behavior through learning experience to achieve effective performance in an activity or range of activities” (Milhem, Abushamsieh, & Arostegui, 2014, p. 13). Staff development may vary based on the size of the organization, resources and funds available (Abraham, 2017). The work environment of the youth worker can influence the implementation and design of services provided to the youth. Therefore, it is crucial to assess the culture of an organization and its ability to create environments for effective youth practice (Cunnien, 2017).
Professional development and continuing education programs provide a structure to develop competent staff and a common knowledge base for all workers to apply to practice. Organizations may introduce youth workers to formal training curriculum or evidence-based practices through on the job training, workshops, classes, conferences, peer shadowing and interaction, and reflection on experience (Abraham, 2017). Currently, there are no standards or regulations for the amount and training youth workers should receive (Smith, 2017). Identifying accountability standards in the field of youth work can be challenging due to the various pathways to enter the field. However, credentialing and professional development can be a method utilized to hold workers accountable and create competencies and standards that can result in high-quality services provided to youth (Cunnien, 2017).
Youth development workers provide services in a variety of settings addressing various educational, social, physical, and emotional needs of youth (Shockley & Thompson, 2012). These workers function in the role of educator, mentor, and connector (Noam & Bernstein-Yamashiro, 2013). These workers are assigned to students to provide academic support, improve student’s social skills, increase school engagement, and provide assistance with the transition to adulthood. This study is designed to highlight the need for training youth development workers in children’s residential settings to function in their various roles. This research study focused on the decision-making and implementation process of youth development workers in children’s residential settings to address the gap in the literature. Statement of the Problem
Within the United States, there is no single pathway to entering the field of youth work. It includes a wide variety of jobs in public and private sectors (Walz & Tompkins, 2017). There is diversity in the field with various types of youth needs and settings (i.e. school, community, and residential). It is unknown how these workers are trained to function in their multiple roles and contexts, as well as design and implement programs that are reflective of these roles. Currently, credentialing and licensing is not required in the field (Peluso, 2017). Due to the lack of professionalization of the field and various pathways to enter it, professional development opportunities must be prioritized and grounded in evidence-based practice. Professional development opportunities can assist with the creation of skills needed to create positive environments for youth (Olsen & Burke, 2017).
The role of youth workers in residential care has generally been neglected in research (Bastiaanssen et al., 2014). The complex needs of this population require a competent, skilled, and knowledgeable workforce. Youth workers are responsible for creating a safe, nurturing environment for youth in their care. When youth workers are not trained to understand the complex behavior of youth in residential settings, their ability to work therapeutically with children is reduced (Nordoff & Madoc-Jones, 2014). Also, staff turnover in residential settings can disrupt the continuity of care for the youth if the workers implement different approaches to care. Standardized training for residential workers can prevent this disruption.
Youth may receive residential treatment services due to behavioral and emotional disorders (such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), involvement in the child welfare system, intellectual and developmental disabilities, or family challenges. Residential treatment is often the last resort when other therapeutic options, such as therapy and community supports have been exhausted (Kapp et al., 2015). These services are available all day and night and get provided in a supervised and structured setting. They provide various components such as housing, educational and recreational services, life skills, and therapy (Bastiaanssen, et al., 2014). Youth development workers in residential settings often function in the role of a parent, with the residents spending the majority of their time with the workers outside of school. Workers in this type of setting often focus on managing youth behavior versus building relationships with youth (Kapp et al., 2015). It is essential to help workers find a balance between managing behaviors to align with program goals and youth engagement which is needed to achieve program goals.
Quality training and development can increase employees’ skills and competencies that lead to improved performance (Mpofu & Hlatywayo, 2015). Youth development workers are not prepared to address the demands of their position because they do not receive professional training to address the diverse needs of youth (Noam & Bernstein-Yamashiro, 2013). Training has played a role in the high turnover rate in the field of youth development. In an attempt to minimize turn over, organizations must provide workers with training and support that will increase their skills, confidence, and competencies (Tremblay et al., 2016).
According to The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2003), lack of training and poor support of workers causes many workers to leave the field (p. 1). Curry et al. (2010) suggest that “the role of training youth workers as a retention strategy is often described as a best practice” (p. 58). Retention in residential settings can assist with continuity of care. The findings from this study can support the youth development worker employing agency in the development of a formalized process for training youth development workers while addressing their interests and needs. Purpose of the Study
Youth programs are designed to promote positive youth development and address developmental challenges that are common among youth. These challenges may include interpersonal relationships, academic achievement, substance use, and delinquent behaviors. It has become the norm for researchers to evaluate the impact of prevention programs. For example, research shows that studies conducted on Life Skills training reduced the risk of substance use and violent behavior among adolescents (Botvin et al., 2006).
The findings of a longitudinal study on the participants of the PATHS program (Meltzer et al., 2006) showed that these youth were more likely to become productive adults. Although these studies measured the effectiveness of preventive programs, it failed to explore the importance of training the implementers of the programs. The training of youth development workers is essential to producing positive outcomes that align with program goals, but the significance of training these individuals is ignored in research (Shek & Wai, 2008). Rationale
Training can refer to formal and informal learning opportunities, on-the-job training, leadership development, or professional education initiated by the employee or the organization (Fallon & Rice, 2015). After receiving high-quality training, program implementers learn various teaching skills and feel more confident when implementing the program (Shek & Law, 2013). Engaging adolescents and delivering quality services is integral to producing positive outcomes for youth development programming (Shockley & Thompson, 2012). Training and providing consistency in care can result in the delivery of quality services.
The process of applying theory to practice can be challenging and requires training. Utilizing theory-based programming will assist youth workers in working from the same body of knowledge and providing consistency in program design and implementation. The social development programming model (SDPM) is a theoretical framework that is often used when training individuals who work with youth. The social development model explores the importance of building relationships with youth to impact their socialization process to produce behavioral outcomes that align with program goals (Duerden & Gillard, 2011). For example, in this study, the researcher explored the methods subjects are utilizing to engage youth and establish rapport to build sustainable relationships.
Additionally, the researcher will also focus on how the subjects are designing programs that align with their agency’s goals. Adults working with youth often fall into the role of disciplinarian when prioritizing completion of activities over relationship building which indicates a need for training in this area of focus (Duerden & Gillard, 2011). The model states that relationships are built when individuals are exposed to opportunities, have the competence to take advantage of it, and receive positive feedback from the participation (Hawkins, Catalano, & Arthur, 2002). An example is a current study that was designed to explore the marketing of programs to the youth, accessibility of the program, and interaction between the worker and youth during the completion of program participation. Engagement and marketing strategies are components of relationship building with youth. These relationships will eventually cause the individual to conform to the norms of the group. When using this framework, youth workers will gain more knowledge on how to design programming that will increase youth engagement. Research Questions (RQ)
RQ1. How do youth development workers describe their own training experiences aimed at youth development program design and implementation?
RQ2. How do youth development workers describe the decision-making process used in determining the design and implementation of youth development programs?
RQ3. According to youth development workers, how does training impact program design and implementation? Significance of the Study
Training youth development workers can have a positive impact on service delivery and professionalize the field of youth services. There is no single disciplinary pathway into youth work as there might be for other caring professions (Roholt & Rana, 2011, p. 319). Increasing the quality of youth development programs can assist in decreasing the high school drop-out rate, which has social and economic implications for society.
The loss commonly occurred in tax proceeds, increased costs in social services and the criminal justice system may be minimized. Addressing the complex issues of dropping out of high school requires a holistic approach. Youth develop programs should start as early as elementary school and continue throughout schooling. The ideal outcome is that the economic impact on society and crime will decrease due to an increase in educational achievement for all populations while improving the quality of life of the individual. Definition of Terms
Drop-out: A drop-out is an individual between the ages of 16-24 who did not earn a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certification (Stillwell & Sable, 2013).
Residential Treatment Services: Services that are available around the clock, provided in a supervised and structured setting with various components such as housing, educational and recreational services, life skills, and therapy (Bastiaanssen, et al., 2014).
School Engagement: School engagement consists of behavioral, emotional, and cognitive components that influence a student’s behavior and motivation to complete high school (Wang & Fredricks, 2014).
Social Development Programming Model: Explores the importance of building relationships with youth to impact their socialization process to produce behavioral outcomes that align with program goals (Duerden & Gillard, 2011).
Training: “A planned process to modify attitude, knowledge, skill or behavior through learning experience to achieve effective performance in an activity or range of activities” (Milhem, Abushamsieh, & Arostegui, 2014, p. 13). The word training is used interchangeably with the term staff/employee development and professional development.
Youth: Youth refers to a child between the ages of five and eighteen. Youth is used interchangeably with children, adolescents, and young people.
Youth Development Worker: Youth development workers are direct care workers who work with young people in various settings, such as in the community, schools, and residential settings. These workers provide recreational activities, academic assistance, and life skills (Shockley & Thompson, 2012). This term is interchangeable with the term youth worker. Assumptions and Limitations
The researcher identified several key assumptions that need to be addressed in this study. One assumption is youth development workers do not receive any formal training on how to design and implement youth development programs. Most youth development workers come from diverse backgrounds with minimal experience before employment (Roholt & Rana, 2011). Due to the lack of professional distinction, youth development workers do not operate from a core set of competencies. A second assumption is the turnover rate is high for these workers due to the lack of career advancement. Youth development workers in the United States are usually entry-level positions with a high turnover rate and without a code of ethics or professional distinction (Evans et al., 2009).
A final assumption of the study is that professional development enhances the quality of youth development programs. Professional development equips youth development workers with the tools needed to address the complex and diverse needs of youth, as well as helping these workers design quality programs (Evans et al., 2009).
Limitations exist in every study, and one weakness in this study is the limited amount of cases in this project. A second limitation is the limited scope of the project consisting of one site with one group of individuals providing services in one local area and can limit the generalizability of the findings. It is difficult to confidently state that the conclusions of this study could be transferred to another study using the same population. Analytic generalization can be used to mitigate this issue. Analytic generalization focuses on expanding the working hypothesis to a need for further research versus being generalized to new situations (Yin, 2013). If multiple case studies produce the same findings, the ability to generalize will increase (Yin, 2013). Nature of the Study
The current study was designed using a mixed methodology. A variety of data sources were utilized to address the research questions. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 participants that lasted between 10-60 minutes. A standard questionnaire consisting of 14 items was used with all participants. The participants also completed a 5-question youth development worker survey. Some participants completed the study before the interview, while other participants completed the survey upon completion of the interview. Additionally, observation of staff training facilitated by the organization was conducted on three occasions for three days. Organization of the Remainder of the Study
This study comprises of five chapters focusing on different aspects of the study. Chapter 1 provides an overview of identifying the problem and the significance of the study. Chapter 2 consists of a literature review defining the function and roles of a youth development worker, training needs for these workers, and information about children’s residential settings. Chapter 3addresses the methodology utilized in the study; research design, data collection, and analysis; while Chapter 4 will focus on the results of the study. Lastly, Chapter 5 will focus on the implications of the study, recommendations for future research, and the conclusion of the study. Chapter Two: Literature Review Introduction
The literature review provides an overview of the theoretical framework for working with youth, the role and functions of youth development workers, and an explanation of children’s residential settings. The focus of this study is to explore the training needs of youth development workers. Therefore, the literature review presents information regarding employee training in general, as well as training in the public and private sectors. In addition, the content in this chapter covers the researcher’s methods of searching scholarly articles as it relates to this study, a synthesis of the research findings, and a critique of the research methods. Methods of Searching
The methods of searching utilized for this dissertation consisted of several searches in the Capella University Library. Peer-reviewed articles were obtained from the following databases: SocINDEX with Full Text, Academic Search Premier, Business Source Complete, Education Research Complete, ProQuest Central, and Sage Journals Online. Advanced searches were completed to include full-text peer-reviewed articles only and a date range of within the last five to seven years. The keywords included in the search were children or youth, adolescents or teen or young people, social workers or youth workers, social development theory, social learning theory, residential, training or professional development, learning styles and VARK model and practice, auditory and visual learning, kinesthetic learning, employee training, human resources, training and development of employees, qualitative and quantitative, public sector, and private sector. Theoretical Orientation
An evidence-based practice such as the Social Development Program Model (SDPM) is used to inform youth practice. SDPM provides youth workers with principles that when implemented can be applied to their context-specific environment, whether it is in the community, school setting, or residential setting (Duerden & Gillard, 2011). Applying evidence-based principles consistently across all settings can assist with the development of competencies amongst youth workers and positive developmental experiences for the youth served.
The social development program model consists of self-determination theory which focuses on positive developmental experiences in various contexts and the social development model (SDM) (Duerden & Gillard, 2011). Self-determination theory examines one’s motivation for behavior. The motivation may stem from external (rewards for behavior) or intrinsic (individual satisfaction, alignment with one’s values) indicators.
According to Duerden and Gillard (2011), inherent motivation prepares youth for their transition to adulthood. SDM highlights the importance of building relationships through positive reinforcement and opportunities for involvement that impacts behavior. Roth and Brooks-Gunn (2016) suggest that “youth require opportunities and supports for positive growth, including positive relationships with caring adults, challenging experiences, and skill-building opportunities” (p. 189).
SDPM has two sections focusing on program components and outcomes. Bonds between the youth and workers are developed through the program components. Program components consist of programs with structures that offer opportunities for youth involvement and positive relationships that develop autonomy, a sense of belonging, and competence in one’s decision-making process. For example, in a residential setting, the youth worker may ask the residents to provide a list of activities they are interested in and conduct a vote among the youth with the majority rules. The youth voice is heard and it offers an opportunity for the youth and worker to connect and incorporate their interests in program design. Through relationship building, youth conform to the norms of the group which impact program outcomes. Youth workers who understand SDPM will gain insight into designing programs that provide positive developmental experiences, in addition to creating opportunities to engage and build relationships with youth (Duerden & Gillard, 2011).
Social learning theory also provides insight into youth behaviours in the context of relationship building. Conforming to the norms of the group can be explained through this theory. Social learning theory states that new patterns of behaviour can be learned through one’s social interactions (Knafo, 2016). The observation of these interactions and the associated consequences will motivate the individual to imitate and adopt the behaviour, attitude, or values of the group. The learning process occurs through the observation of behaviours, reinforcements, and imitation (Schaefer et.al, 2015). During adolescence, this learning process is more prevalent amongst the peer group (Vogel & Keith, 2015). For example, a youth may observe his or her peers participating in a youth program and decides they would like to join also. The youth notices that his or her peer has more friends and confidence as a result of participating in the program and decides to imitate that behaviour to receive positive reinforcement.
Relationship building is a key component of youth work and is essential for the youth worker to receive training. This provides an understanding of the role that SDMP and social learning play in the development of youth. A positive child-adult relationship has been identified as a key factor for program effectiveness (Akiva et al., 2017). When designing and implementing programs, youth workers need to ensure that they create opportunities for these social interactions to occur. Training youth workers to integrate this theoretical framework into their practice helps build competencies for delivering quality services and designing programs that create positive environments for youth. There is a need to clearly define content knowledge and context-dependent practices for this field of work (McKamey, 2017). Training is the first step in enhancing a youth worker’s ability to provide quality services through program implementation. Formalized training of employees is needed to deliver quality services, create an organizational culture, and retain employees (Ryan, Sosa, & Thornton, 2014). Literature Review Employee Training
Employee training is an ongoing activity in organizations that improve organizational performance, retain employees, and assist organizations in maintaining a competitive advantage in the market (Majovski & Davitkovska, 2016). Organizational performance can improve by keeping employees up-to-date with current trends in the industry. Organizations have used training as a mechanism to maintain a competitive edge by equipping their employees with the skills necessary to meet the demands of the industry (Vasques-Torres, 2018). Training can create efficiencies within organizations that increase productivity to meet these various demands. Productivity is maximized through training that assists with keeping up with the needs of the job and applying the skills acquired into the day to day workflow. Professional training of employees that address technological, contextual, and organizational change will enable the organization to survive in the competitive market (Livitchi, Hacina, & Baran, 2015).
The various roles of an employee or their tenure in an organization determine the purpose of training. For example, the purpose of training a new employee may consist of policies and procedures to learn how to operate in their role, understanding the culture of the organization, and job expectations. A socialization process occurs through training with employees becoming integrated into the culture of the organization (Han, 2014). The focus of training for current employees may differ due to this socialization process already occurring. Training for existing employees may consist of content designed to improve employee performance, teach a new skill, or enhance current skills (Tabvuma, Georgellis, & Lange, 2015). As a result of training, employees become acclimated to the culture of the organization learning the norms for conduct.
Training is designed to build skills, knowledge, and competencies in employees that align with business objectives and increase productivity (Ghasemi et al., 2017). Training also benefits the employee by increasing his or her employability. This type of investment provides employees with the opportunity to gain more skills and receive higher wages (Waddoups, 2016). Professional development can add value to a position by enhancing the employees’ current capabilities. On-the-job training provides employees with an opportunity to update their skills, incorporate new technologies, and meet the demands of the organization (Mendez & Sepulveda, 2016).
In today’s market, skills and competencies are constantly changing which results in the need for continuous training (Majovski & Davitkovska, 2016). There is no single method to deliver training, and several modalities exist based on the needs of the employees and the organization. Training methods are defined as a set of procedures, activities, or techniques that are designed to transfer knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes to participants to enhance job performance (Martin et al., 2014). The selection of the training method is contingent upon the goal of the content provided to employees. These methods can include case studies, game-based training, internship, job rotation, job shadowing, lecture, mentoring, apprenticeship, programmed instruction, training aids, role-modelling, role play, simulation, stimulus-based training, and team-training (Martin et al., 2014). The training method also determines the setting that is most conducive to the delivery of that method.
Training is provided in the form of instructor-led sessions, computer-based training, and on-line web-based training, self-directed, interactive, or multimedia (EL Hajjar & Alkhanaizi, 2018; Huang et al., 2014). Training methods may take place in a formal or informal setting. Formal learning is highly structured and offered in the classroom or a training program. Informal learning is more controlled by the employee, voluntary, context-specific, and occurs outside of a classroom or training program (Bednall, Sanders, & Runhaar, 2014). Examples of informal learning activities are mentoring, coaching, reflection on daily activities, knowledge sharing, and on-line courses.
According to Martin et al. (2014), when selecting a training method, one must consider the training environment, interaction level, time demands, costs, learning modality, and trainer presence. Learner modality refers to how the training content will be communicated to learners. The setting in which the training will take place is known as the training environment. Trainer presence is the process of determining if the training requires live facilitation of another method, such as computer-based training. Proximity considers if the training can occur remotely or in person. The amount of interaction needed between trainer and trainee is defined as the interaction level. Cost considerations encompass any training expenditures associated with the training method. In 2014, companies in the US spent $70 billion on employee training (Hajjar & Alkhanaizi, 2018). Training requires the employee to be taken away from their day to day workflow, therefore considering the amount of time needed for participants to complete training is critical. Designing training programs for employees requires a thoughtful planning process to cover the basics mentioned above.
In addition to selecting a training method, a trainer must also consider the employees’ learning style. Learning styles are based on individual preferences and affect the learning process (Biabani & Izadpanah, 2019). There are several learning styles; however, the VARK model (visual, audio, read/write, and kinaesthetic incorporates them all. Training materials are presented through visual information such as charts, graphs, or symbols; audio data can be provided verbally, through discussions, or on-line media. Read or write materials consist of text-based information such as e-books, journals, or papers; and kinaesthetic learning is based on doing or learning through practice (Hasibuan, Nugroho, Santosa, & Kusumawardani, 2016; Prithishkumar & Michael, 2014; Stowe & Clinebell, 2015). The training, transfer and quality of training are contingent upon the trainer catering to the various learning styles of the trainees.
Applying skills acquired in training to practical workplace application is known as a training transfer (Cowman & McCarthy, 2016; Lee, Jeon, Kim, & Lee, 2017; Rangel et al., 2015). There are three dimensions of a training transfer: direction, level of complexity, and distance. The course of a transfer can be positive, negative, or lateral. According to Cowman and McCarthy (2016), a positive transfer occurs when training leads to desired performance and a negative transfer occurs when it fails to produce the desired performance. Lateral transfers refer to the ability to achieve a task at the same level of complexity that the employee has already mastered. Transfers are vertical where the learner can apply learning to similar and more complex skills. Vertical helps employees adapt to changes within an organization. Other dimensions consist of distance. Near transfer is training in tasks that are similar to learner’s current responsibilities, whereas in a far transfer focuses on understanding and the application of principles and rules.
Training employees can be a costly but necessary investment for organizations. The investment in training increases the stock of human capital which results in the enhancement of economic growth and international competitiveness (Govaerts, Kyndt, Vreye, & Dochy, 2017; Wadduops, 2016). Due to the costly investment in training, it is essential to assess the effectiveness of training. Hajjar and Alkhanaizi (2018) conducted a descriptive study exploring the factors affecting training effectiveness from the trainees’ perspective. They assessed training effectiveness in the context of measuring how employees react to training, what they learned from training, and how their behaviour changed after training.
Training content, training environment, facilities and materials, training schedule, needs of the trainees and presentation style were considered variables that contribute to training effectiveness. The study looked at the relationship between selected factors of training and effectiveness based on the perceptions of trainees through the use of a survey questionnaire. The study was conducted in 2017 with 143 participants. The findings from the study showed that the participants did not view the training as effective or ineffective. However, there was a strong positive correlation between the five variables and training effectiveness. Private Sector versus Public Sector
Determining the type of investment that will be made in employee training is contingent upon the organization’s culture, the sector, state policies, and a company’s strategy and objectives (Majovski & Davitkovska, 2016). The private and public sectors have differing philosophies and restrictions in regards to making this type of investment in employees. Although the philosophies may differ, training is considered a strategy towards increasing productivity and creating efficiencies regardless of the sector (Vasquez-Torres, 2018). In the public sector, there is a formal process for managing personnel and resource allocations with restrictions.
The government employs public sector employees while private employees are hired through organizations that are not owned by the government. The public sector faces external factors that are not present in the private sector. For example, the public sector is influenced by political and legal authorities with conflicting priorities (Seidle & Fernandez, 2016). These governing authorities determine the priorities for public organizations. The public sector emphasizes the need for work-life balance, higher wages, supports of the union, and job security (Majovski & Davitkovska, 2016). The private sector is a very fast-paced, competitive environment focused on the future of the organization. Private sector organizations focus on making a profit, while public-sector organizations focus on improving social welfare (Tabvuma, Georgellis, & Lange, 2015). Regardless of the sector, training is a necessity for all organizations to thrive. Investing in employee development will assist the employee with becoming acclimated in his or her role while increasing staff morale, job satisfaction, and productivity. Training and Youth Development Workers
The literature shows that training is beneficial to the employee and the organization. Training provides an opportunity for employees to develop new skills, knowledge, and abilities while increasing their employability. In the field of youth work where the turnover rate is high training can be used as a strategy to retain employees. In addition, training can help youth development workers stay abreast of the growing changes and needs in the field of youth work. It may also cause workers to find meaning in their work and provide consistency in practice across all settings. Learning through everyday practice and peer shadowing is common in residential settings and develops local knowledge within an organization (Smith, 2016).
The informal knowledge sharing amongst youth development workers can assist workers in designing and implementing programs that are effective and meet the needs of the youth served. Smith (2016) conducted a study exploring how youth workers developed competencies in an organization that did not require continuing education and provided limited professional development. Smith found that workers were able to gain expertise through shadowing more experienced workers. Acquiring local knowledge can assist workers in providing services that align with program goals. This local knowledge is unique to an organization and viewed as essential for acclimation to the organization’s culture (Smith, 2016). Roles and Functions of Youth Development Workers
Youth work is about supporting young people in their personal, social, and academic development (Cunnien, 2017). This field can be challenging and demanding while serving youth with different needs from various backgrounds, races/ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses. The services provided to youth may range from after school programs to children’s residential facilities. Youth services may be voluntary or mandated, structured and unstructured, aiming to promote healthy development in the lives of young people (Brady & Redmond, 2017). The goal of youth work is to help youth build resiliency and become healthy adults who make positive contributions to society. Youth work consists of assisting youth in their transition to adulthood while promoting the development of their physical, emotional, intellectual and social skills (Olsen & Burke, 2017).
Youth workers provide services to youth from all socio-economic backgrounds, races and ethnicities. Cultural competency is a skill set that is necessary to achieve positive outcomes with youth. It is not uncommon for youth development programs to target youth in low-income communities where minorities are over-represented (Williams & Deutsch, 2016). Workers must be aware of how culture impacts their interactions with the youth they are serving. Youth development workers are direct care workers who work with young people in various settings, providing recreational activities, academic assistance, and life skills (Shockley & Thompson, 2012).
Youth programs focus on the individual and its context through the delivery of services in schools, after-school programs, communities, or residential services (Masten, 2014). The type of services offered to youth is contingent upon the setting. For example, youth services provided in a school setting may focus on academic achievement and vocational skills. Services provided in a residential setting focus on mental health and behavioral challenges. Regardless of the environment, these programs are preventive and have a wide range of attention from developing self-esteem to increasing school engagement to decreasing community violence (Beals-Erickson & Roberts, 2016).
Programs implemented in the school context can be viewed as a drop-out prevention designed to increase school engagement, academic achievement, and develop the adolescent’s ability to be a healthy and productive individual (Department of Education, 2014). School engagement consists of several components that have been known to produce positive outcomes among youth. We know from the literature that school engagement consists of behavioural, emotional, and cognitive components that influence a student’s behaviour and motivation to complete high school (Wang & Fredricks, 2014). Past research on engagement has measured behavioural involvement in extracurricular activities, a student’s conduct, achievement motivation, and a sense of belonging (interpersonal relationship with peers and school personnel) as a function of school engagement. It has been shown that youth programs achieve positive outcomes through commitment (Chapman et al., 2017).
In 2008 the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) developed a Dropout Prevention Practice Guide as a resource to inform programming design and implementation. The guide addresses prevention at the individual and the systems level. The IES Practice Guide provides six recommendations for reducing drop-out rates that include; utilization of data, assigning adult advocates to students, providing academic support, improving students’ social skills and classroom behaviour, personalize the learning environment, and providing relevant instruction (Ecker-Lyster & Niileksela 2016). Preventions such as the recommendations in the IES Practice guide are implemented through the delivery of services by youth development workers and the targeting of specific populations. Youth development workers are some of the adult advocates assigned to students to; provide academic support, improve student’s social skills, increase school engagement and provide assistance with the transition to adulthood.
A student’s inability to complete high school can be viewed in terms of the student being pushed, pulled, or falling out of school (Ecker-Lyster & Nileksela, 2016). Push factors consist of the school environment and its interaction with the student. These external factors increase the probability of a student dropping out of school. The school environment and schooling experiences are substantial factors in determining if at risk-students succeed (Messacar & Oreopoulos, 2013). The physical structure, professional expertise of staff, and the culture of the school can have an impact on push factors. For example, a student may be struggling academically, and there are no resources available within the school for academic support.
The lack of resources can cause the student to become discouraged about academic achievement and eventually be pushed out of school. Pull factors focus on external situations such as family or financial needs. For example, a student who is a teen parent may be pulled out of school due to their need to meet the financial obligations of their child. The student’s employment may interfere with school attendance and cause the student to have several absences.
Students at risk for dropping out struggle academically have low self-esteem and poor relationships with teachers and family members, experience teen pregnancy, truancy, and experience several disciplinary sanctions. These students usually live in poverty, come from single-parent homes, and lack motivation for educational achievement. Falling out of school is a result of disengagement and academic decline. Dropping out of school is not a single event; it is a process and usually begins with school disengagement (Messacar & Oreopoulos, 2013). For example, the student may decide to stop attending a class before dropping out. Drop-out prevention programs are designed to address the social and academic risk factors mentioned above (Department of Education, 2014).
Working with youth also requires a level of trust and ethical behaviour from the adults involved (Davies, 2016). Relationship building is a common theme found throughout the literature regarding youth work. Trust is a foundational element to building positive relationships. The lack of trust between youth and their workers can negatively impact engagement. Griffith and Larson (2016) conducted a study with youth ages 12-19 examining how they viewed the impact of trust on a youth’s experience in youth development programs. The programs focused on the arts, leadership, and technology. Participants were interviewed four times throughout the program cycle.
The researchers identified five benefits of trust from the youth’s perspective which include; confidence in workers’ facilitation of program activities, motivation to participate in the program, workers viewed as mentors, workers providing tangible examples of positive interactions that build positive relationships, and experience of program togetherness (Griffith & Larson, 2016). These benefits affected different aspects of the youth’s experience in regards to their relationship with the youth workers, their connection to program activities, and their sense of belonging. The findings of this study show how youth’s relationship with their workers can increase engagement in program activities.
The goal of youth work is to ensure that youth remain in school and the community while avoiding participation in deviant behaviours. A holistic approach in youth work is utilized to address youth developmental needs’ through recreational, educational, and social programs. Youth development workers are tasked with the responsibility to develop interventions that increase school engagement and encourage positive youth development. Youth workers function in the role of educator, mentor, and connector in an attempt to fulfil this responsibility (Noam & Bernstein-Yamashiro, 2013). While performing in these various roles, youth workers have the potential to assist children in addressing challenges that could have lifelong consequences and costs for the children, their families, and society (Stewart & Hirdes, 2015). Children’s Residential Settings
The role of the youth development worker and professional development needs is contingent upon the setting. This dissertation focuses on the part of youth workers in children’s residential settings. Although there is limited research on the role of youth workers in residential treatment settings, research does show the influence of worker/youth interactions on the quality of care (Bastiaanssen et al., 2014). The decision to obtain residential treatment services is difficult for all parties involved. The removal of a youth from his or her home can be a traumatic experience with youth/worker interactions affecting a youth’s behaviour (Fraser, Archambault, & Parent, 2016).
The unaddressed trauma and anger experienced by the youth may be taken out on the worker. In children’s residential settings, staff turnover is high which has been known to negatively impact service delivery and program outcomes (James, 2017). Staff may become overwhelmed or stressed when attempting to manage the behavioural challenges of youth daily. Workers spend the most time with the youth and are responsible for ensuring the youth’s daily needs are addressed. These workers are at risk of being physically hurt and experiencing secondary traumatic stress while working in residential settings (Audin, Burke, & Ivtzan, 2018). Youth workers may experience secondary traumatic stress from continual indirect exposure to youth’s stories of childhood trauma, abuse, and neglect.
Residential treatment settings are available around the clock all day and all night. Residential services vary amongst programs in regards to structure, length of stay, staffing, clinical resources, and treatment approaches (Ninan et al., 2014). These settings are structured by age, gender, and level of functioning. Often youth display disruptive behaviors that their family is unable to manage in residential treatment (Harder, Knorth, & Kalverboer, 2017). Youth receiving residential treatment may be a part of the child welfare system, juvenile justice system, has experienced trauma, mental health challenges, substance use or developmental disabilities. These youth have displayed emotional and behavioural difficulties in school, the community. These behaviours are usually severe and unable to be managed through the provision of community-based services.
Youth in residential settings are more likely to display harm to themselves and others than youth in the community (Stewart & Hirdes, 2015). Youth workers must create a safe and nurturing environment for youth to address their mental health needs. The goal of treatment is for youth to be placed in the least restrictive environment for a short length of stay and eventually reunified with family or returned to the community (Ringle, Thompson, & Way, 2015).
Residential settings are used for the treatment and management of children’s mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges, as well as helping children recover from trauma in a nurturing therapeutic environment (Boel-Studt & Tobia, 2016). As mentioned previously, residential treatment is the last resort after community options have been exhausted. The residential setting a youth is placed in depends upon his or her presenting needs and the setting’s ability to meet those needs (Portwood, Boyd, & Murdock, 2016). Multidisciplinary teams are available to address the needs of youth holistically. These teams may consist of case managers, therapists, doctors, and program directors. Services offered through residential include mental health treatment, education and vocational training, social skills, and family support (Preyde et al., 2011). The services offered may take place in a small group setting or one on one. Services are designed to be short-term, intensive, family-centered and often integrated into a more extensive system of care with an after-care component (Kapp, Rand, & Damman, 2015).
Youth in residential settings attend schools in the community or on-site at the residential environment. Poor school performance and grade retention are not uncommon in residential settings. This can be explained due to the emphasis on behaviour versus academic achievement, as well as the educational system and residential setting not working together (Harder et al., 2014). Youth may have received special education before their admission or experienced multiple placements. Harder et al. (2014) conducted a study to assess adolescents’ academic achievement during secure residential care. The study included a sample of 53 adolescents using information from individual treatment plans, adolescents, and their teachers. The findings from the study showed that students with an average intelligence level, academic motivation, or few externalizing behavioural problems showed significantly higher academic achievement. Students with low intelligence, poor academic motivation, or many externalizing problems showed lower academic achievement.
Outside of school attendance, youth spend the majority of their time with youth workers (Bastiaanssen et al., 2016). These workers function in the role of a professional parent. Youth development workers are responsible for supervising youth during the hours they are not in school (Smith, 2017). General supervision includes managing participants involved in an activity, as well as the administration of services. Operating in the role of an employee and parental figure can be complicated. The worker is responsible for ensuring the youth’s basic needs are met regarding food, clothes, and shelter. In addition, educational requirements and physical health needs have to be addressed, all while supporting the youth in achieving their treatment goals. As an employee, the worker is responsible for maintaining complete documentation, collaborating with an interdisciplinary team of professionals, and advocating for the youth.
Fowler (2015) conducted a qualitative study exploring how youth workers view their relationship with children in residential care. Semi-structured interviews were utilized with 13 residential care workers. Several of the participants described their role with youth as surrogate parents. On the other hand, many participants felt it was inappropriate to explain their role as a parent. It was not clear how staff can balance these multiple roles. Organizations must define these roles to manage everyone’s expectations. The findings in this study showed how workers viewed themselves in a parental role. However, they also struggled with balancing the professional aspect of their position that is extremely difficult when attempting to provide a home-like environment for the youth while in residential care.
Olsen and Burke (2017) conducted a study examining the perceptions of undergraduate students preparing for a career in youth work. The study focused on their knowledge and competence of supervision. The results of pre and post-implementation program questionnaires revealed that participants welcomed the challenges and responsibility that comes with monitoring, in addition to recognizing the importance of engaging in supervision and risk management. Participants reported being confident in their supervision skills but also expressing the need to learn more about risks management. Youth workers suggested additional training to engage youth and address dangerous situations. The researchers recommended that future youth workers practice youth supervision before joining youth and learning youth supervision as a process consisting of planning and providing direct services. This training can increase the youth worker’s confidence in their ability to supervise.
Harder, Knorth, & Kalverboer (2014) conducted a study to identify the core factors that are important for addressing youth behavioural challenges in a secure residential treatment setting. The study focused on the experiences of the youth, their parents, youth workers, and teachers told through interviews. The parents and youth reported that the youth’s behaviour is affected by the demands of the external environment. The youth described characteristics of a good group care worker as someone approachable, supportive, social with the youth in a usual fashion, and displays a balance between being an authoritarian and allowing freedom. Youth workers and teachers did not agree on how to achieve a positive change in a youth’s behaviour causing youth workers to perform based on their knowledge. Group care workers mentioned that talking/conversations with adolescents, developing relationships with youth, and the workers’ actions can impact positive change for youth. This study highlights the importance of youth engagement during treatment, as well as the responsiveness of youth workers to promote positive change in behaviour.
Fraser, Archambault, and Parent (2016) examined the relationship between youth behaviours in regards to opposition and aggression and the types of interventions used by staff within a child welfare residential treatment setting. Staff completed intervention forms after interventions with youth and 84 interventions were analyzed. They found that staff deals with youth aggression frequently. Constraining (isolation and restraints) methods and reminding youth of rules were used more often which in turn increased the odds of these challenging behaviours. They also found that talking to youth decreased the odds of aggression, while isolation increased oppositional behaviour and physical restraint increased aggression. Physical control is needed to keep youth and staff safe. Staffs need a place to discuss their fears and feelings of incompetence when dealing with these challenging behaviors. Reflective practices can assist workers with discovering more effective solutions in the future while learning from previous interactions with youth (Nordoff & Madoc-Jones, 2014).
Due to the nature of the presenting issues of youth receiving residential services, it is not uncommon for workers in this setting to manage challenging and aggressive behaviours. McLean (2015) conducted an exploratory study examining the worker-reported tensions involved in managing challenging behaviours. There were seventeen youth workers employed in a residential treatment setting who participated in semi-structured interviews. During the interview, each worker described how they managed challenging youth behaviour. The following tensions were identified in the study: various kinds of parenting, consistency in approach, control and connection, desire for normality, and inconsistency in relationships. Conflicts occurred in parenting styles as a result of the worker attempting to maintain a level of professionalism and distance from youth, while also trying to function in their role as a professional parent.
Workers expressed feeling pressured to have a consistent approach for managing the behaviours and providing equity. However, it resulted in workers losing the ability to provide flexibility in responding. The workers also struggled with maintaining control of the situation and that control threatening their connection with the youth. Staff struggled with setting boundaries and building positive relationships. The desire for normality was described as workers wanting to provide children with a healthy life despite them living in a residential setting. Attributing all behaviours to healthy teenage behaviours caused workers to mislabel inappropriate acts. Lastly, workers described their relationships with the youth as very inconsistent and frustrating. Youth displayed aggressive behaviours toward workers and other unpredictable behaviour, as well as verbal abuse. These study findings demonstrate the need for workers to receive supervision and training to obtain support and identify strategies to address these tensions. Experiencing these tensions can cause stress and frustration for workers resulting in high incidents of turnover.
Bastiaanssen, Delsing, Geijsen, Kroes, Veerman, and Engels (2014) conducted a study to observe youth worker interactions with youth in residential settings and their impact on youth behaviour. Youth behaviour was defined as displays of frustration, anxiety, embarrassment, raising voice, anger, etc. Videotaping was a data collection method used during this study to observe the interactions between the workers and the youth. They found that youth workers used warm support (compliments, validation, etc.) and positive controls (setting limits and establishing rules) more frequently than negative interactions such as lecturing and interrupting. Social and emotional support can be seen as a form of engagement and connection with youth. Emotional support may help youth learn to adequately express emotions through youth workers modelling positive relationships (Chapman et al., 2017). Researchers concluded that positive interventions such as warmth and support should be a part of youth workers’ education and training.
Ungar and Ikeda (2017) conducted a qualitative study examining the worker-youth relationships from the perspective of the youth. The study included 61 youth who were mandated to receive residential care, mental health, probation, or child welfare services. The youth in the study categorized the worker into three different roles: informal supporter, formal administrator, and caregiver substitute. The youth reported engaging more with friendly workers. They also reported the desire to be partners with their workers by having a say in their treatment. The youth views the informal supporter as supportive but lacking authority. The formal administrator provided structured and boundaries, but this type of worker lacked flexibility. Caregiver substitute appeared to be a combination of the previous two roles with the youth viewing the worker as an authoritative parent with boundaries and clear consequences and clear expectations. The findings from this study showed that the three types of youth worker roles were ideal based on the level of risks, age appropriateness, and cultural norms.
Khoury-Kassabri and Attar-Schwartz (2014) conducted a study examining the physical violence experienced by peers in children’s residential care settings. The participants consisted of 1,324 adolescents aged 11 to 19, residing in 32 residential care settings. Data was collected from the participants through an anonymous, structured, self-report questionnaire. Physical violence has been defined as being grabbed, shoved, kicked, punched, hit with a hand, or hit with an object. Many of the children residing in residential care settings that are involved in the child welfare system have experienced abuse and neglect before their admission. It is vital to create a safe, nurturing environment for these children to prevent them from experiencing more violence.
The study found that 56% of participants reported experiencing at least one form of physical abuse in the previous month. More male participants reported being exposed to violence than the female participants. In addition, the relationship between a youth worker and an adolescent affected the likelihood of youth exposure to violence from their peers. Residential care settings with higher levels of staff physical abuse toward adolescents also had higher incidents of peer-to-peer violence (Khoury-Kassabri & Attar-Schwartz, 2014). Researches in this study concluded that there is a need to provide youth workers with support and tools that will assist youth in resolving conflict without violence. Youth workers also need an understanding of the mitigating factors experienced by youth before being admitted into a residential care setting. These factors include abuse, neglect, adjustment issues and the inability to form relationships and attachments. Synthesis of Findings
Employee training is an investment that organizations make to develop qualified personnel. Overall, the literature shows a consistent theme of training improving employee skills and competencies that impact their daily performance (Majovski & Davitkovska, 2016; Massenberg, Schulte, & Kauffeld, 2017)). Training assimilates employees into the culture of the organization. The investment may be costly but the return on investment is worth it; ongoing learning benefits the employees and the organization (Bednall, Sanders, & Runharr, 2014). It helps the employee by enhancing employability and the organization benefits from improved organizational performance. Training and development opportunities are also a means to engage employees and provide a sense of involvement and meaningfulness in their role (Krishnaveni & Monica, 2016). Knowledge management is needed for organizations to deliver quality services. Knowledge management is an organization’s ability to educate employees and in return, be trained by employees and clients (Tsui et al., 2017). This management contains professional knowledge that is theoretical, procedural, and drawn from personal experience.
Based on the literature review, this researcher concludes that training is valuable and a critical component to youth work and has several benefits for the youth, their families, workers and the organization. The needs of youth are so complex and diverse that knowledge, skills, and competencies are needed to address these challenges. Youth workers are exposed to high levels of negative emotions and behaviors daily resulting from the youth’s trauma, neglect, and abuse (Audin, Burke, & Ivtzan, 2018). A common theme that emerged in the literature is the presence of aggression (physical or verbal) and opposition that occurs in children’s residential settings. The youth may experience this aggression and resistance, or the youth is the culprit.
Youth work will typically fall into the category of mentor, broker, or connector with a focus on improving social welfare and creating opportunities for positive youth development (Noam & Bernstein-Yamashiro, 2013). Youth workers provide a range of services in multiple settings. The setting will determine the type of services offered. Youth programs can produce positive outcomes in the area of risk prevention, academic achievement, and social-emotional learning (Akiva & Horner, 2016; Ciocanel, Power, Eriksen, & Gillings, 2017; Lynch et al., 2016; Wade-Mdivanian et al., 2016).
The findings in the studies from this literature review emphasize the importance of relationship-building with youth and the impact of positive interactions between youth and the youth worker. The Harder, Knorth, and Kalverboer (2017) study showed that youth connected with workers that were easy to talk to and seen as support versus an authoritarian. Fraser, Archambault, and Parent’s (2016) study found that when youth workers spoke to the youth it decreased the odds of aggression. The study also showed that isolation increased defiant behaviour and the need for physical restraints. Bastiaanssen et al. (2014) concluded in its study that it would be beneficial for youth workers to receive education and training. The education and training would be on ways to provide support through compliments and validation and positive controls consisting of setting limits and establishing rules. The Ungar and Ikeda (2017) study showed that the type of relationship a youth has with his or her worker might be contingent upon the context and the level of risk they experience.
The literature review supports the theoretical foundation of this dissertation regarding the notion of SDPM undergirding youth work. A positive child-adult relationship has been identified as a key factor for program effectiveness (Akiva et al., 2017). A positive adult-child relationship may include characteristics that the worker possesses such as: being respectful, supportive, reliable, available, and flexible, with the ability to engage youth, set appropriate boundaries, and show compassion. Research has shown that youth tend to have better behavioural outcomes when experiencing positive relationships between youth and the worker (Ungar & Ikeda, 2016). Engagement is a critical component for building relationships with youth. Program effectiveness may be the result of youth’s active engagement, program activities and the youth’s relationship with youth workers (Griffith & Larson, 2016). Critiques of Previous Research Methods
There are several studies on the topic of training. However, research on the training needs of youth development workers is minimal. The training needs of youth development workers were usually mentioned in the findings or discussions of studies. The focus of the research covered other topics such as children’s residential settings or positive youth development. The focus of research was not dedicated to exploring the training needs of youth development workers which is a gap that has been identified in the literature resulting in the focus of this dissertation. This researcher also noticed that several of the studies were conducted outside of the United States. Each country has its own systems and structures in place for residential care. Commonalities existed in the profile of the youth and their complex needs, as well as, the youth worker functioning in the role of a surrogate parent (Boel-Studt & Tobia, 2016; Fowler, 2015; Harder, Knorth, & Kalverboer, 2017; Stewart & Hirdes, 2015).
The literature showed the benefits of training; however, it also covered the risk of training employees. Employee development may be seen as a risk for employers because it may increase turnover (Nelissen, Forrier, & Verbruggen, 2017). Skill development enhances the internal and external employability of employees; therefore, the fear of turnover may cause organizations to stray away from training. Nelissen, Forrier, and Verbruggen (2017) conducted a study investigating the impact of development activities on perceived employability and turnover.
The development activities consisted of formal off and on-the-job training. In the context of this study, formal off-the-job training refers to employer-provided classroom training while formal on-the-job training refers to on-the-job guidance, such as mentoring or coaching. The activities also included the variables of upward transition (receiving a promotion) and lateral job transitions. Lateral transitions refer to a change in the job title or department without compensation. The researchers found that upward job transitions were positively related to external employability, resulting in a turnover. There was no evidence of internal employability (on-the-job training) increasing turnover, although on-the-job training, upward job transition, and skill utilization were positively related. In addition, the researchers did not find a relation between formal off-the-job training and external and internal employability. The results of this study indicated that only promotions increase the likelihood of turnover. Although there may be risks involved in training youth workers, the literature also shows the need for this training and the associated benefits. Working with youth in residential care is complex and challenging, requiring the need for training to provide quality services.
Analyzing a phenomenon can occur through qualitative or quantitative methods (Park & Park, 2016). The purpose of the study will determine the research methods used to answer the research questions. Quantitative methods are associated with the “what” of phenomena and qualitative methods are associated with the “why” (Barnham, 2015). Many of the studies in this review used qualitative or mixed methods. Qualitative research develops a theory and uses personal voice through case studies, interviews, or questionnaires (Singh, 2015). Several studies utilized questionnaires or semi-structured interviews a commonality in the study was the use of existing instruments that were reliable and valid or based on previous literature. New devices were developed in conjunction with other professionals in the field. A limitation of the majority of the studies was the sample size. Due to the sample size, the findings from the study were not in general. Qualitative studies usually have a small sample size due to their exploratory and explanatory nature (Park & Park, 2016).
Hajjar and Alkhanaizi (2018) used a purposeful sampling method and questionnaire for their study. The design of the questionnaire was based on a literature review and reviewed by another professional in the field. Harder et al. (2014) utilized a B-test questionnaire with a 6-point Likert scale, in addition to information from treatment plans. Fraser, Archambault, and Parent (2016) study had staff complete intervention forms, while Olsen and Burke (2017) provided participants with pre and post-implementation program questionnaires. Olsen and Burke (2017) also used purposive sampling. Bastiaanssen et al. (2014) conducted a study with the use of videotaped observations and a structured observation protocol. The research methods deployed in these studies were consistent across the board. Summary
An exhaustive review of the literature has shown that youth workers play an instrumental role in the social and emotional development of young people. Working with youth to support their developmental process is necessary, valuable, complex, and challenging. Youth programs are provided in the schools, community, or residential settings. The youth served in children’s residential settings are a vulnerable population that requires a nurturing and therapeutic environment. Youth work is challenging, addressing the mental, emotional, academic, and social needs of youth with various backgrounds. Knowledge, skills, and competencies are needed to provide quality services to youth that will produce positive outcomes. Youth workers must receive training to design and implement effective programs.
Chapter 2 included a literature review of the role and functions of youth development workers, employee training, and information focusing on the context of children’s residential settings. The research methods utilized in the studies as well as the theoretical foundation for youth work were discussed. This researcher found that the research methods used for the dissertation were used in studies from the literature review. The literature review supports the data collection methods chosen for this study. Data collection methods for this study consist of semi-structured interviews in conjunction with a standardized questionnaire, a survey, and an observation protocol. Chapter 3 will provide a more detailed description of the research methodology for this study.
Chapter Three: Methodology Introduction
This dissertation focused on exploring the training needs of youth development workers in children’s residential settings and its impact on program design and implementation. The literature review provided evidence to support a qualitative or mixed methodology as appropriate research methods for this topic. This chapter will reiterate the purpose of the study, discuss the research design for this study, and provide an overview of the procedures (including data collection/analysis, sampling procedures, participant selection, and instruments), as well as any ethical considerations. Purpose of the Study
As mentioned previously (see p. 6), the training of youth development workers is essential to producing positive outcomes that align with program goals. However, the significance of training these individuals is commonly ignored in research (Shek & Wai, 2008). The purpose of this study was to address this gap in the literature by exploring the training needs of youth development workers in children’s residential settings. Youth development, which consists of activities that promote the health and well-being of adolescents transitioning into adulthood, can assist in improving an individual’s quality of life. These activities are designed to entertain the entire being, which includes the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual health aspects of an individual. As a result, youth development can provide protective factors for youth that help build resilience. This resilience promotes a healthy lifestyle that will assist youth in transitioning into adulthood and contributing to society. Research Question
*RQ1*. How do youth development workers describe their own training experiences aimed at youth development program design and implementation?
*RQ2.* How do youth development workers describe the decision-making process used in determining the design and implementation of youth development programs?
*RQ3.* According to youth development workers, how does training impact program design and implementation? Research Design
The research process provides a standard for creating and acquiring knowledge to understand social phenomena. This knowledge is acquired through quantitative and qualitative research. Quantitative and qualitative research can provide valuable contributions to the field of social sciences. There are differences between the two approaches regarding research design, methodology, and philosophy. The philosophical differences between quantitative and qualitative research address the core values of ontology, epistemology, and axiology. The differences also address how methodological assumptions are developed (Remler & Van Ryzin, 2015).
Quantitative research involves a positivist perspective that seeks the facts and causes of social phenomena apart from the subjective views of participants (Capella, 2014). The population sample is more extensive than qualitative samples, resulting in a higher probability of generalizability. In quantitative research, investigators often observe the world using instruments (including structured questionnaires) that produce quantitative measurements, or numerical data, representing various characteristics, behaviours, or attitudes (Remler & Van Ryzin, 2015, p. 61). Statistical analysis is utilized to analyze the data, which is displayed in the form of graphs, histograms, or correlations.
Qualitative research should be used when an issue needs to be explored or to provide an opportunity for the voices of oppressed groups to be heard (Creswell, 2013). An example of an oppressed group is people of colour. In qualitative research, the sample size is much smaller than the quantitative samples, which reduces generalizability. Data collection methods consist of interviews, focus groups, and observations in the field. The primary instrument used to explore social phenomena in this type of research is the researcher. As a result, the validity of a study is mainly dependent upon the competency of the researcher (Creswell, 2013). There are several benefits to using qualitative research. One of the essential benefits of qualitative research is that open inquiry provides both intended and unintended consequences (Patton, 2015). The researcher is not fixated on a particular outcome; instead, there is consideration of multiple realities and perspectives.
The selection of one approach over the other is dependent upon the intent of the research. If a researcher is attempting to provide an in-depth explanation of a social phenomenon, qualitative research is more appropriate. Qualitative research contains interpretivism or subjective perspective that explores the meaning individuals or groups assigned to a social problem (Patton, 2015). This study intended to explore the training needs of youth development workers and its impact on program design and implementation in children’s residential settings. A mixed methodology was utilized to address the research questions. The research design for this study consisted of qualitative semi-structured interviews, a five-question survey using a Likert scale, and observation of staff training. Target Population and Sample Population
The population for this study consists of youth development workers. Youth development providers are direct care workers who holistically work with youth. This is by providing life skills and recreational activities while addressing academic, social, and emotional needs in a safe environment (Shockley & Thompson, 2012). In the United States, this position is an entry-level position with a high turnover rate. The population in this study included agency employees that provided youth development services in a children’s residential setting. A sample from this population was recruited for this study. Sample
In qualitative studies, sample size affects the credibility of the study. The sample size and type of sampling is chosen based on the research design, the scope of the study, and the nature of the topic (Vasileiou et al., 2018). Purposeful sampling was utilized in this study to recruit youth development workers that provided services in a children’s residential setting. Purposeful sampling deliberately samples a group of people that would be most knowledgeable in answering the research question (Creswell, 2013). Youth development workers participant in and are directly affected by the training received while working in this field. As a result of purposeful sampling, the information power available in this study increased. Information power is a concept that suggests the more information a sample holds, the least amount of participants are needed for the study (Malterud, Siersma, & Guassora, 2016).
The sample size for this case study was 10 employees due to the information power available in the study. The small sample provided an in-depth analysis of the topic under study. The number of participants or cases in qualitative research is usually small and chosen for a specific purpose to provide a detailed analysis (Remler & Ryzin, 2015). Similar studies involving youth workers in residential settings consisted of a few individuals. Fowler (2015) conducted a qualitative study with 13 residential care workers, and McLean (2015) surveyed with 17 residential group care workers. Each study also used semi-structured interviews. Open-ended questions tend to create more abundant data. The sample size in qualitative research usually consists of a few individuals or sites (Creswell, 2013). In this study, sampling occurred at the site level (community agency) and the participant level (youth development worker).
The inclusion criteria for participants consisted of male and female youth development workers who provided services in a children’s residential setting. The workers were required to be at least 18 years of age, speak, read, and write English proficiently. Youth development workers were excluded from the study if they provided services in a school-based setting, clinically licensed (Licensed Social Worker or Licensed Professional Counselor), or employed as an intern. Procedures
Conducting research entails procedures utilized to carry out various research methods. The next section of this dissertation documents the step by step procedures used to carry out the following techniques: participant selection, protection of participants, expert review, data collection, and data analysis. Each research method includes its procedures to carry out the research design. Step by step procedures are needed to provide detailed information that would enable any researcher the ability to replicate this study. Participant Selection
The researcher identified a community organization that provides children’s residential services. This was to assess how youth development workers describe their professional experiences, decision-making processes, and utility of training. The researcher approached the Vice President of Children’s Residential Services through email and provided a synopsis of the research study, and inquired about the organization’s interest in participating in the current study. A follow-up telephone call was made to the Vice President of Children’s Residential Services after the introductory email. The follow-up was for clarification of questions and discussion of the agency’s interest and steps needed to obtain permission for site participation. A research application was required to obtain site approval. The researcher completed the research application and submitted it to the agency for review and approval. After receiving site approval, the recruitment process was initiated.
The Vice President of Children’s Residential Services invited potential participants to the 30-minute presentation conducted by the researcher. The presentation was added to the agenda of the organization’s monthly meeting with all programs present. The presentation consisted of a synopsis of the research study, participant’s inclusion/exclusion criteria, and the researcher’s contact information. The presentation provided an opportunity for the researcher to engage participants and to ask questions.
Recruitment took place in a group setting following the 30-minute presentation conducted by the researcher. Potential participants’ email addresses were collected after the presentation. Participants notified the researcher by email with their decision to participate. If the researcher did not hear from the potential participant within a two-week timeframe an email reminder and a follow-up phone call was made requesting a response. The researcher selected a sample from the participants who expressed interest in participating in the study. As long as the subject met the inclusion criteria, he or she was chosen to participate. Protection of Participants
The 10 voluntary participants who expressed interest in the study were contacted by email with a letter of information. The letter outlined the details of the study, researcher’s contact information, next steps and a Capella Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved consent form. The participants were encouraged to contact the researcher with any questions or concerns and instructed to bring the signed consent form to the interview. The researcher also had extra copies of the consent form available during the interview to clarify any questions and ensure appropriate signatures were obtained. The interview process did not occur until the consent form was received. The researcher made a copy of the signed consent form for the participant and kept the original structure. There was no identifying information collected from the participants and they were made aware that they could withdraw from the study at any time. Expert Review
Field testing allows the researcher to craft an experience that is more efficient and effective for the participants. This type of testing is implemented to identify any problems that may occur during the survey procedures to correct them before the implementation of the full survey (Remler & Ryzin). In this study, the interview questions and surveys were field-tested before application. A field test cover letter was sent through e-mail to three professionals that have provided services to children and families who did not meet the inclusion criteria for the study. The cover letter contained information about the research topic, the purpose of the field test, and instructions on how to provide written feedback and the associated timeframe. Field testing was completed within ten business days. Data Collection
Generic qualitative data collection requires semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, surveys, and content or activity-specific participant observation (Percy, Kostere, & Kostere, 2015). This approach was utilized for collecting data in this study. The goal is to use methods that elicit data and the participant’s perspective of external experiences. The data collection methods in this study included semi-structured interviews, a youth development worker survey, and direct observation.
The researcher communicated with participants through e-mail to schedule one on one interviews. A reminder e-mail was sent to each participant with the scheduled interview date and time, request to complete the youth development survey, and sign the consent form. The one on one interviews were conducted in a private office at each program’s site and lasted between 10-60 minutes. The interviews were conducted in a private office away from distractions for the participants to speak freely and maintain confidentiality. The researcher incorporated time into the interview process to debrief immediately following each interview. Debriefing allows a researcher to document his or her initial impressions while it’s at the forefront of the researcher’s mind (Remler & Ryzin 2015. All participants were kept anonymous, and the researcher did not collect any identifying information from the participant. Codes such as YD01, YD02, etc. were used to protect the identities of participants.
A standard list of 14 open-ended questions was used with all participants. Open questions provide an in-depth analysis of a topic that produces the understanding of processes through short answers, lengthy narratives, or a list of items (Weller et al., 2018). Although the standard questions were utilized, the semi-structured interview was flexible enough to explore the workers’ individual experiences and input. Generic qualitative interviews and surveys are pre-structured based on the previous knowledge of the researcher while providing flexibility to obtain additional information from participants (Percy, Kostere, & Kostere, 2015).
The youth development worker survey was administered through Qualtrics; an online enterprise research platform that allows users to create and distribute surveys electronically (Qualtrics, 2017). Qualtrics is software that was easy to use, inexpensive, and provided software that could analyze the data. Web surveys have become a popular alternative to survey data collection and work best for studies with an established e-mail list of participants (Remler & Ryzin, 2015). E-mail addresses were collected from research participants during the recruitment process, establishing an e-mail list of participants. An e-mail including information about the study and the link to the survey was sent to the youth development workers before the scheduled interview. A request was made for the study to be completed before the planned meeting. Before the start of the interview, the researcher asked each participant if they completed the survey. If the survey was not completed, the participant utilized a computer in the program’s main office and completed the study before the start of the interview. Upon completion of the interview and survey, each participant received a $25 gift card to Visa for participating in the study.
The researcher also collected data through the direct observation of the organization’s youth development workers’ training in an attempt to understand how the information/resources obtained during training are applied to the planning and designing of the programs. The observation occurred over three days for a total of 16 hours. During the training, the researcher set at a desk away from participants and completed the observation protocol document to capture findings during the observation of practice. The researcher did not participate in the training or engage participants at any time. A complete observer does not engage with people in the setting and remains unobtrusive (Remler & Ryzin, 2015). The researcher chose to be a complete observer versus a participant-observer to avoid influencing the behavior under observation.
The data collected during the study was stored and protected throughout the process. A digital recorder was used to record the one on one interview. The recorder and any hard copies of data were stored in the researcher’s office in a locked desk that was only accessed by the researcher. A digital recorder can be used to challenge the researcher’s interpretation by re-listening to the recording (Ethicist, 2015). The information collected during the study was stored on a computer that is password protected and only accessed by the researcher. All data will be erased, and hard copies will be shredded after seven years of dissertation publication. Data Analysis
The analysis of data and the method in which it is collected can influence the validity of the study. The methodology utilized in a study is dependent upon the questions the researcher is attempting to answer. Observations (direct/participant), interviews, reports, and audiovisual materials are examples of data collection methods used in qualitative studies (Remler & Ryzin 2015). In qualitative studies, this data is organized and summarized for interpretation. A generic qualitative research design was used to collect data through semi-structured interviews, direct observation of staff training, and a youth development worker survey. The generic qualitative inquiry focuses on the subjective opinions, attitudes, beliefs, or experiences of the participants in the study (Percy, Kostere, & Kostere, 2015).
According to Percy, Kostere, and Kostere (2015), ethnography would not have been appropriate for this topic because it does not focus on social, cultural analysis, and phenomenology was not applicable because this topic focuses on the participants’ experiences and not what they were experiencing internally. This study focused on the skills and subjective opinions of the youth development worker in regards to training, which made general qualitative inquiry the most appropriate methodological approach.
The one on one interview with the research participants was conducted in a private office at the organization. A digital recorder was used to record the one on one interview. The researcher took notes during and after the interviews as needed. Participants’ names were exchanged for pseudonyms such as YD01, YD02, and so on. The third-party vendor Verbalink was utilized to transcribe digital recordings. During the direct observation of training, the researcher took notes and completed the observation protocol. The youth development worker survey was administered through Qualtrics, an online enterprise research platform that allows users to create and distribute surveys electronically (Qualtrics, 2017). The first page of the study included informed consent. Qualtrics collected the data, identified each respondent, and calculated percentages for each response.
The researcher reviewed the survey results and categorized respondents in groups based on the options they selected. The subgroups were then categorized under the codes from the research question. For example, mandatory training was a code used to answer RQ3 and the subgroups identified from the survey responses for survey question number three (which asked respondents how often youth development training should occur) were documented under this code. Also, insights from the survey results were recorded for each survey question. For example, the findings from survey question number one showed that 75% of respondents strongly agreed that building positive relationships with youth will increase resident participation. These findings support the principles of the SDPM, which identifies relationship building and engagement as crucial components of youth work. This insight was documented for further analysis.
The three phases of the analysis of qualitative data start with compiling data, reducing data through coding procedures, and presenting the data (Yin, 2011). The presentation of qualitative data may be in the form of a narrative and tables. Inductive analysis was utilized to analyze the data in this study. Inductive analysis entails finding emerging patterns and themes without creating pre-existing categories (Percy, Kostere, & Kostere, 2015). The first phase of data analysis consisted of the researcher reading the transcripts from the interviews and reviewing the field notes and the observations protocol document.
The researcher underlined data that appeared to be meaningful. Next, the researcher determined if the highlighted data was relevant to the research questions by creating a chart listing the research questions in one column and the relevant data items in each row. All non-relevant information was placed in a separate category. The second phase consisted of coding the research data. Coding is one of the most common tools for qualitative data analysis, and the process enables the researcher to sort and count the data (Remler & Ryzin 2015). While reviewing the data collected in the study, initial codes were compiled and grouped into the anchor codes. The frequency of the codes was tallied and clustered by patterns. A review of the patterns was conducted to identify emerging themes that addressed the research questions. The training observations were summarized, and Qualtrics was utilized to generate reports to analyze the data from the youth development survey. The analysis for each participant was combined for a final synthesis. Instruments
Data collection can be implemented using various instruments dependent upon the social phenomena under examination. Instruments are used to collect this unprocessed data to address the research questions. The researcher in this study conducted interviews with ten employees that provide youth development services in a children’s residential setting to better understand how these workers design and implement programs. A digital recorder was utilized to capture the data provided by participants during the interviews.
The interview questions measured the youth development workers’ training experiences, the decision-making process used in determining the design and implementation of programs, and how training impacts program design and implementation. The researcher also conducted a five-question online survey, generated on Qualtrics, and administered through e-mail to the youth development workers. The purpose of the study was to assess the youth development workers’ thoughts and opinions regarding their services and the impact of those services on youth participants. An observation protocol document was utilized to capture the observations of staff training.
The observation protocol document measured the relevancy of training topics to the youth development worker’s day to day workflow. In qualitative research, the researcher is the instrument. Therefore, the credibility of the study is based on the knowledge, skills, and competencies of the researcher (Patton, 2015). The researcher must develop the knowledge, skills, and competencies before initiating research. The principal investigator’s ability to create an understanding of the processes of qualitative research, in regards to developing research questions, choosing the appropriate methodology, collecting the data, and analyzing the data is essential to the credibility of the study (Capella, 2014). This researcher learned these skills through coursework at Capella University and the review of articles on conducting qualitative research methods. Role of the Researcher
There is always the potential of the researcher being influenced by his or her definition of the problem. This researcher had a preconception that the youth development workers are not completing needs assessments before program design and implementation. While working in the field, it appears that youth development workers are trained on topics that are applicable for all youth; however, a needs assessment is not conducted to assess the needs of the child at individual sites. The researcher assumes that the worker’s training or lack thereof will influence this process.
The researcher addressed this preconception through the process of reflexivity. The researcher is a clinically licensed social worker with over ten years of experience in the field. The researcher’s professional career has been dedicated to working with adolescents and their families. As a result, this researcher has received extensive training on adolescent development, engagement, systems, etc. and is required to receive ongoing training to maintain a clinical license. As a clinically licensed professional, this researcher is a part of a profession that is guided by a body of knowledge and code of ethics, whereas the youth development work is usually an entry-level position lacking a professional distinction (Evans et al., 2009). Being in the area of an outsider, collaborating with insiders; therefore, it was important for the researcher to reflect on any biases that could have potentially influenced the study. The researcher is a professional that is knowledgeable of the type of services provided by the youth development workers, however, an outsider to the organization and its program goals. Reflexivity consists of maintaining awareness of how your role as a researcher can influence the study (Yin, 2011). To avoid imposing the researcher’s standards on the participants, the researcher maintained a journal to document the differences between the researcher and the participants in regards to the following: educational background, professional experience, socioeconomic status, age, and race. The researcher reflected on these differences and documented how this subjectivity could impact the research. Guiding Interview Questions
1. How would you describe your role as a youth development worker?
2. How do you feel about your role?
3. Describe the youth development programs you have implemented.
4. Tell me about your training experience in designing youth development programs.
5. Tell me about your training experience in implementing youth development programs.
6. How would you describe your decision-making process (i.e., how do you decide which programs to implement)?
7. Describe a successful program?
8. What is your training needs to be able to design a successful program?
9. What are your training needs for implementing a program?
10. What do you think about mandatory training for youth development workers?
11. What topics should be the focus of mandatory training?
12. What challenges do you face when designing youth development programs?
13. What challenges do you face when implementing youth development programs?
14. Is there anything you would like to add about your training experience/needs for designing and implementing youth development programs?
The guiding interview questions used in this study were attitudinal. Explored the participants’ beliefs, thoughts, and opinions of the topic under study questions one through five, eight and nine, and fourteen addressed RQ1 in regards to describing the participant’s training experience. Questions six and seven, and twelve through fourteen addressed RQ2, which explored the decision-making process used when determining the design and implementation for youth development programs. Lastly, questions ten, eleven, and fourteen addressed RQ3, which explored how training impacts program design and implementation from the youth development workers’ perspective. Ethical Considerations
Historically, research designs were conducted without guidelines, resulting in significant harm to participants. The creation of Institutional Review Boards is designed to prevent this harm from occurring. IRBs are committed to respecting and protecting the rights and welfare of human participants and their records in research (Capella, 2014). These boards review the ethical considerations for research studies. Ethical considerations in research include various topics, such as informed consent, beneficence, confidentiality, and administrative records and privacy, to name a few.
The World War II concentration camp experiments, non-approved thalidomide experiment, and Tuskegee syphilis study are a few examples of research that violated the rights of participants. As a result, federal regulations were put in place to prevent participants’ rights from being broken. If an organization receives federal funding of any kind, a government regulation known as 45 CFR Part 46 requires an Institutional Review Board (IRB) and specifies its composition and procedures (Remler & Van Ryzin, 2014).
According to IRBs, children may be considered a vulnerable population, depending on the context of the study. Human subjects’ research always requires informed consent, meaning that participants have been fully informed about the investigation, understands its risk and benefits, and freely agree to participate (Remler & Van Ryzin,2014). It is the responsibility of the researcher to ensure that participants can comprehend the information that is being presented. The individual’s ability to understand is a function of intelligence, rationality, maturity, and language. Therefore, it is necessary to adapt the presentation of the information to the participant’s capacities (Keiger, 2010). The performance of informed consent for a participant with a fifth-grade education would look very different from a participant with a college education. The Capella IRB refers to informed consent as the process by which a research participant decides whether they wish to participate in a research study, involving ongoing and open communication between the researcher and the potential participants throughout the research study (Capella, 2014).
Conflicts of interest were not present in this study. The researcher did not have a direct or indirect personal, financial investment or advisory relationship to the site. Ethical considerations that surrounded this study were informed consent and beneficence. The workers could have felt obligated to participate in the research and may not feel comfortable providing information that may damage the reputation of the program. Informed consent is required in research, with all participants understanding the risks and benefits of the study, participating without coercion, and understanding the ability to freely withdraw from the study (Remler & Van Ryzin, 2014). The researcher ensured that participants were fully aware of the risk and benefits of participating in the study, as well as their right to discontinue their participation in the study at any time. Signed consent acknowledging their voluntary participation was required before data collection. Also, participants were protected through the anonymity in the survey.
Protected Health information (PHI) was not collected for this study. Participants remained anonymous throughout the study, and all interviews were conducted in a private office to maintain confidentiality and minimize any loss of privacy. Maintaining confidentiality and privacy in this study was a priority because breaking confidentiality in research can harm the relationship between the researcher and the participant, in addition to damaging the publics’ trust in researchers (Johnston, 2015). There was minimal risk to participants in this study, and the youth development workers were not classified as a vulnerable population. However, questions can create an emotional response and trigger adverse emotional reactions from previous experiences. Therefore, after each recording, the recorder was turned off to thank participants for participating and allow for a natural discussion (Petrova, Dewing, & Camilleri, 2016). Those discussions were very brief and were not a part of the data analysis. There was a minimal emotional risk to participants in the study.
The psychological risks in this study were minimized by using procedures that were consistent with the standards used in research designs (Ethicist, 2015). Confidentiality was used to prevent harm to participants personally and professionally. A breach in confidentiality can jeopardize the participants’ reputation, social and professional status, and the image of the organization when critiquing the training program of an organization (Petrova, Dewing, & Camilleri, 2016). The research did not require any physical work; therefore, the physical harm was minimized. The youth development workers’ employer did not have access to any identifying information of the participants; thus, the economic/financial damage was minimized. Disclosure of financial assets was not needed for this study. Summary
Chapter 3 outlined the research methods and procedures that were used to carry out this research. Qualitative research was used to address the research questions in this study. Interviews, observation, and web survey were the instruments used to collect data. There was no conflict of interest presented in this study, and the ethical consideration of informed consent was addressed. This chapter also described the recruitment process and participant selection procedures. While section 3 focuses on the data collection and how that data was analyzed, chapter four will present the findings from that data analysis.
Chapter Four: Results Introduction The Study and the Researcher
The purpose of this study was to explore the training needs of youth development workers in children’s residential settings. The study was designed to address three research questions focusing on the workers’ experiences with the use of semi-structured interviews that focused on the workers’ perceptions. The generic qualitative inquiry was utilized for data collection and analysis. Chapter 4 presents the researcher’s role in the study, a detailed description of the sample, an explanation of the research methodology applied to the data analysis, a presentation of the data collected, and the results. It is essential to understand the researcher’s interest and experience with the topic to develop an awareness of any biases that may affect the study.
The researcher is a licensed clinical social worker that has dedicated her career to working with youth and their families in the private and public sector. This researcher’s education and experience have given her both theoretical knowledge and practical skills for social work practice. With ten years of experience in the behavioral health field, this researcher started her career as a mental health clinician at a high school serving African American and Latino students in ninth through twelfth grade. The duties of this position included case management, individual, group, and family therapy for students and families to identify and address challenges that hinder academic success. The focus of the counseling services addressed issues related to student health and emotional well-being while providing parenting education. During this time the researcher observed what might be viewed as a cycle of oppression; students in the 12th the grade could not read and write, and kindergarten classes were overcrowded, substitute teachers taught core classes such as English and science for the entire school year. Students forced to take classes in the hot heat without any air conditioning in the building. Despite these odds, the most resilient students were those who had a positive role model and participated in extracurricular or recreational activities. As the Program Director for a children’s residential group home serving 12 youth ages 12-18, the researcher worked closely with youth who have experienced abuse, neglect, and homelessness. Although these youth were transient, the researcher noticed the most resilient youth in this setting were the youth who had a positive role model. The consistent relationship with this adult figure is what sustained the youth, regardless of where the youth may end up being placed to receive treatment.
Throughout the researcher’s clinical career, the researcher began to recognize the importance and significance of the youth development worker’s role (mentor, connector, an educator) in a child’s life and became curious about their training to function in these roles. The youth development worker is instrumental in building resilience in youth and supporting positive development. However, the field does not have a professional distinction or a single pathway to enter. As mentioned previously (see p. 24), the goal of youth work is to help youth build resiliency and become healthy adults who make positive contributions to society. These workers can be employed in various settings (i.e., school, community, or residential); however, the core functions remain the same and may be carried out differently. For example, in a school setting, the youth worker may refer or connect a student to extracurricular activities, whereas, in a children’s residential setting, the worker will participate in recreational activities with the youth.
Although this researcher has clinical experience in a school and children’s residential setting, the researcher understands that the youth development worker’s experience is very different with differing goals. The researcher remained open to exploring the training needs from a youth development worker’s perspective and not that of a trained clinician. The researcher’s training and experience prepared her for this study. As a trained clinician, the researcher has experience with engaging youth, establishing rapport, interview skills, addressing and identifying trauma, and connecting youth to resources, to name a few. This experience assisted the researcher in understanding the role of youth development workers and how they function in various contexts.
The engagement and interview skills learned from the researcher’s graduate program in social work assisted the researcher during the data collection phase of this study and with the development of the interview and survey questions. Also, because of the researcher’s experience in the field, the researcher was able to connect and relate to the workers during the recruitment presentation. The workers agreed with the content and examples the researcher presented during the recruitment phase. Throughout this process, the researcher remained open to learning from the workers, and this chapter displays data from the youth development workers’ perspective only. Description of the Sample
The credibility of a sample in qualitative studies is based upon the sample size, the type of sampling, and data saturation. Data saturation is commonly used in qualitative studies and has become the gold standard for these types of studies (Vasileiou 66 et al., 2018). Data saturation has been achieved when there is no new information, codes, or emerging themes in the data. The order in which interviews are analyzed can affect saturation. Therefore, it is recommended to reorder and reanalyze interviews to confirm saturation (Vasileiou et al., 2018). The saturation of themes for RQ1 in this study occurred by the ninth interview; for RQ2 saturation occurred by the fifth interview, and for RQ3 overload occurred by the eighth interview. There was no new information presented in the data regarding training needs or the workers’ training experiences.
Purposive sampling was utilized in this study to provide an in-depth analysis of the research topic. The sample size in this study consisted of 10 youth development workers employed in a children’s residential setting. There were three males and seven females with a mixture of Caucasian and African American, Non-Hispanic participants. There were no withdrawals during this study. The youth worker’s experience in the field ranged from less than six months to 15 years. All participants had a minimum of a high school diploma or a GED. All participants were at least 18 years of age with the ability to speak and read English proficiently. The position titles consisted of youth development worker or case manager. Participants were excluded from the study if they provided services in a school-based setting, clinically licensed, or employed as an intern. See Table 1 for a summary of the participant demographics. Table 1
Number of Participants
Research Methodology Applied to Data Analysis
Qualitative research is the most appropriate methodology used for studies focusing on the participants’ experiences in the outer world (Percy, Kostere, & Kostere, 2015). A generic qualitative inquiry methodology was used for this study with data collection methods consisting of interviews, a survey, and observation. Generic qualitative inquiry can be used as a methodological approach when the research questions require qualitative or mixed-methods (Percy, Kostere, & Kostere, 2015). In this study, semi-structured interviews were recorded and transcribed through a transcription service. Semi-structured interviews consist of fewer than 20 questions and include open-ended questions that require an explanation instead of a brief response (Remler & Ryzin, 2015).
The discussions in this study contained a total of 14 questions. A total of 10 participants completed the interview process, and nine out of the ten participants completed the survey. Data collection methods such as interviews and surveys elicit participants’ interpretation of a problem or experience in their outer world (Remler & Ryzin, 2015). Reports were generated through Qualtrics to analyze the survey results. To protect the identity of the youth development workers throughout the study, participants’ names were exchanged for pseudonyms such as YD01, YD02, and so on. A step-by-step inductive analysis was completed to analyze the data. The data collected from the interviews, surveys, and observations were analyzed individually. The analysis started with the researcher reviewing and becoming familiar with each participant’s data through interviews, field notes, and survey results. The meaningful data was highlighted, and the research questions were used to determine if the data addressed the research question.
The inductive analysis does not create any categories or themes until all the data has been analyzed individually; all preexisting knowledge is set aside during the investigation (Percy, Kostere, & Kostere, 2015). Interview questions that addressed the research questions were used as an anchor for further analysis. There was an emerging theme in the study that was not related to the research question. This theme will be presented in chapter five. The remaining data that did not address the research questions were eliminated from the study. The data was coded and clustered to identify patterns. Coding is a process used in qualitative research that tags data by creating categories while reading and interpreting the data (Remler & Ryzin, 2015). The coding process identifies patterns and emerging themes. Each pattern in this study was described via a phrase such as a training experience. Direct quotes from the data were taken to highlight these patterns, and the patterns were reviewed to identify themes. Presentation of Data and Results of Analysis
The research questions were explored through semi-structured interviews, a survey, and observation of training.
*RQ1.* How do youth development workers describe their own training experiences aimed at youth development program design and implementation?
*RQ2*. How do youth development workers describe the decision-making process used in determining the design and implementation of youth development programs?
*RQ3*. According to youth development workers, how does training impact program design and implementation?
Coding and identifying themes were used to summarize the participants’ responses to the research questions that guided this study. The following codes were developed by assigning labels to the research questions: training experience, decision-making process, and mandatory training. An additional code labelled youth development worker’s role was developed due to the frequency of the system appearing in the data analysis. Several themes emerged from each set of codes. About RQ1, the themes, no prior training, prior training, and shadowing colleagues emerged from the code training experience. The themes for RQ2 consist of youth input, behavioural plan, worker’s personality, and program schedule that emerged from the code decision-making process. When exploring the workers’ thoughts on the impact of training about RQ3, the themes necessary and beneficial emerged from the mandatory code training. In response to interview question #1, the code youth development worker’s role was created, and the emerging themes of the mentor, role model, connector, pseudo parent, and educator were developed. Interview Questions
The interview process was not rushed; each participant was allotted 60 minutes to complete the interview. The researcher allowed time for the participant to think and process the question as well as providing space for the participant to ask clarifying questions. RQ1 sought to describe the training experiences of youth development workers. The findings of the study suggest the majority of youth development workers in this study did not receive training before being employed with the agency. These findings are consistent with the literature in regards to this field having a lack of the professional distinction, absence of licensing or certification, and several pathways to enter the field (Evans et al., 2009; Peluso, 2017; Walz & Tompkins, 2017). All of these factors can contribute to the lack of professional development opportunities available for these workers (Olsen & Burke, 2017). When reviewing responses to interview questions four and five it was noted that a few participants described their training as consisting of shadowing their colleagues to learn on the job responsibilities and some participants reported receiving training in life skills, group facilitation, and behaviour management before being employed with the agency. Sixty percent of participants reported having no training before being employed with the agency, thirty percent of participants reported receiving training before being employed with the agency, and twenty percent of participants described their training experience as shadowing colleagues. Table 2 provides a summary of data from participants in response to RQ1.
*Summary of Data from Participants in Response to RQ1*
Youth Development Worker
“I would say as far as the company they really trained us on how to interact with the boys because of our population, not to cause the behaviour, how to de-escalate and redirect the behaviour. And outside of the company I was taught life skills, managing groups, trying to find something that will engage the population you’re working with.”
“I don’t think I’ve had any to implement programs. The only training that we really have is when we first get hired and they go through what our company is. And then we get CPI training and first aid and CPR. And then we have an online system to take other online courses to stay up-to- date on ethics and different things like that, but that’s it.”
“My training- I don’t have training in terms of programming. I’m a case manager, so basically, you know, everything is based upon the individual plans of the kids, and then we kind of adapt around that.”
“So training wise I’ve just been shadowing, going by the rules of my other co-workers. I’d say they do a great job. I’m following their lead. So, they Basically they tell me to be myself. So, like I said with the sports thing, I love sports. So that’s something I know I’m comfortable in, so I carved that something that you can implement with the kids or whatever.” out by following their rule. They’re like be yourself and carve out
In response to RQ2, the youth development workers were asked to describe their decision-making process for designing and implementing programs. A consistent method for designing and implementing programs was not identified in this study; there was a lack of structure and consistency around the decision-making process. Various methods were utilized based on the worker’s preference. The findings of the study suggest that workers prioritize the youth’s input and behavioural plan when designing and implementing programs. Providing an opportunity for the youth’s voice to be heard enhances the youth-worker relationship and incorporates their interests in program design. This method is in alignment with the SDPM, which creates opportunities for engagement and building relationships through program components (Duerden & Gillard, 2011).
When reviewing the responses to interview questions three and six, it was noted 90% percent of the participants reported that they rely on the youth’s input to design and implement programs; 30% of participants reported utilizing the youth’s behavioural plan; 20% of participants reported that the worker’s personality determines the programs that are carried out, and 10% of participants reported following the youth’s program schedule.
*Summary of Data from Participants in Response to RQ2*
Youth Development Worker
“Oh, first I walk in and talk about it with them. Like, hey what it is that we want to do today?” And then we’ll discuss it with the girls and have them vote.
“One, I have to go by what I’m told here, their schedule. We do have some leeway with that schedule. Within the schedule say we’re supposed to do an art group or we’re supposed to do character building, for instance, is one of the groups that I do. Well, there are a lot of things we can do to build character. We can go out and help the homeless. We could go pick up trash around the neighbourhood, for instance, in the playgrounds, we’ve done that.”
“So, my decision making is pretty much based on which kids I’m going to take. I base it around them and what they like to do.”
In response to RQ3, participants were asked about their thoughts on mandatory training. All participants reported that mandatory training was necessary or beneficial; however, some participants did suggest that compulsory training should be more focused or tailored to a specific program or population. Based on the findings from the interview questions the overall consensus of the workers is that they would like more training on their specific population served in regards to diagnosis, medications, behaviour management, etc. The need for more training on physical restraints emerged as a theme as well. Participants reported that after the on boarding to the organization annual training is required. However, a refresher on specific topics is needed more frequently.
The survey results of question #3 support these findings with 44% of participants reporting that youth development worker training should occur monthly; 22% reported the need for training to occur quarterly, 11% prefer biyearly; and 22% reported annual 73 the training was sufficient. Table 4 provides a summary of the data from participants in response to RQ3.
*Summary of Data from Participants in Response to RQ3*
Youth Development Worker
“I think it’s mandatory. I think it’s necessary because some people might feel as though they know everything that they need to for that specific program or activity, and there might be something that they don’t, or just in case as a backup plan.”
“I think so, I think because it’s ever changing, you’re dealing with people as a whole, and everybody is different. I feel like with that and then how the state is changing its view on mental health. I think it’s beneficial to have everybody be on the same page and getting training so that treatment stays consistent and everybody’s as knowledgeable as they can be so that more harmful and serious mistakes aren’t made.
“I mean I can’t say I like it, it’s boring. But I think it’s required because all they require for this field is for you to have a high school degree, which you know, I certainly don’t agree with, but that’s why I think those trainings are required. You can’t come into a field like this just coming out of high school and not having any type of training and then work in this field. You’re going to fail.”
The researcher conducted a five-question online survey, generated on Qualtrics. I am utilizing a Likert scale. The survey was administered through email to the youth development workers and completed before the beginning of the interview. Nine out of the 10 participants completed the survey participants did not have any questions regarding the content of the survey the majority of the youth development workers strongly agreed that building positive relationships with youth will help increase resident participation. The workers also reported having the most knowledge about building relationships and the least knowledge around topics such as trauma and outcome measures.
The responses varied in regard to how often youth development workers should receive training. The majority reported monthly, while one participant reported biyearly. Overall, the youth workers agreed that their services are successful at increasing school engagement. The findings from the survey questions four and five were used to answer RQ1. Identifying the topics that the workers were the least and most knowledgeable can be used to describe their training experience. The assumption is that the knowledge or lacks of understanding of specific topics were obtained through training or work experience. Survey question number three was used to answer RQ3. How often the workers believe training should occur can provide insight into the workers’ thoughts on the importance of training and its impact on program design and implementation. Table 5 provides a list of the survey questions and the results.
*Youth Development Worker Survey and Results*
Survey Question and Results
Q1. Building positive relationships with youth will help increase resident participation
75% (6) Strongly Agree
12.50% (1) Agree
12.50% (1) Neutral
Q2. The youth development services I provide are successful at increasing school engagement (academic achievement and school attendance)
22.22% (2) Strongly Agree
33.33% (3) Agree
44.44% (4) Somewhat Agree
Q3. How often should youth development training occur?
44.44% (4) Monthly
22.22% (2) Quarterly
11.11% (1) Biyearly
22.22 % (2) Annually
Q4. Which topic do you have the least knowledge?
22.22% (2) Youth Development
33.33% (3) Trauma
44.44% (4) Outcome Measures
Q5. Which topic do you have the most knowledge?
11.11% (1) Youth Development
55.56% (5) Building Relationships
33.33% (3) Life Skills
The researcher observed training for youth development workers for a total of 16 hours over three days. Training occurred at the organization’s administrative office, and attendees included various positions (i.e., nurse, therapist, youth development worker, etc.). The observed training was mandatory training for all new hires. The week-long training covered various topics daily. There were full class sessions with about 20 participants in attendance. The physical environment was comfortable with decent lighting and appropriate temperature. The training room consisted of a classroom setting with trainees sitting at a table set up in a rectangle and the facilitator standing in the front of the room during the entire training.
The researcher sat on the side of the room at a computer table away from the group and did not engage with participants, nor was she introduced to participants. The technology was utilized during each session to support the information being presented. A PowerPoint presentation displayed on the projector and materials were distributed during each session. Some participants attending training without a writing utensil; however, pens were available. Two restrooms were located in the room with one restroom at each end of the room. The doors were closed for privacy, and snacks and drinks were available for each session. Three employees interrupted the training on three occasions for various reasons. However, it was not disruptive to the practice. Two sessions consisted of the same group of employees; the other course differed from the original cohort. If an employee was more than 15 minutes late to training, he or she had to reschedule for the next available training. It was mentioned during training that a new employee report card is sent to the supervisor to monitor the employees’ progress and ability to become acclimated to the organization and its policies and procedures.
During the observation, there were two facilitators who each provided a minimum of one full day of training. The facilitator was very engaging by calling on participants and asking questions. All participants were taking notes while some participants were very vocal, and others were reticent. The purpose of the observation was to measure the relevancy of training topics to the youth development worker’s day to day workflow. The primary focus of the training was a new hire orientation to the organization. It was stated that program-specific orientation occurs later at the assigned program after completion of further hire training. Further, hire training covered topics on the history of the programs, company mergers, the current state of the organization, and language (i.e., consumers versus patients or clients). Administrative items such as the chain of command, organizational chart, and whistleblower act, funding sources, timesheets, and login information for different databases utilized by employees were also covered. The mission, vision, values, and philosophy of the organization were described as well as a list of the various programs and services offered through the organization.
The training focused on the importance of the residential setting being the consumer’s home and providing consumers with the best life/treatment possible. The second session the researcher observed was titled “Foundations,” and covered items such as boundaries, technology, mental health, trauma-informed care, substance use, suicide prevention, and Relias e-learning. Relias e-learning is an online platform that provides free continuing education credits for employees as well as free training assigned as part of the program curriculum. An administrative level or supervisor level can assign training to an employee at any time using this system. It was announced that some preparation is required annually (i.e., crisis intervention training). The facilitator briefly reviewed boundaries about the consumer. Workers were advised to learn more about the consumer for care instead of the consumer learning information about the worker. Once the worker gets to know the consumer, then the discussion on how to build relationships may occur.
The observations provided the researcher with insight into the training experience of the workers. It allowed the researcher to review the topical areas of training to observe how training on the various topics impact program design and implementation. The observations also allowed the researcher to find the workers’ response to attending mandatory training. The researcher observed the workers’ reaction in regards to the questions asked, attendance, and overall engagement in the process. These observations contributed to the answers for RQ1, RQ2, and RQ3. Overall, the researcher agrees that the training supported the youth’s role in the children’s residential setting, but it did not specifically focus on how to engage youth and build relationships for successful outcomes with specific populations. Summary
Chapter 4 explained the researcher’s role and interest in the study as well as a more in-depth look into the description of the sample and data saturation. This chapter presented the research methodology applied to the data analysis and the results of the data for each data collection method. Most participants in the study have not received training for their role as a youth development worker before being employed at the organization. Youth development workers consider the youth’s input, program schedule, and worker’s personalities when designing and implementing programs.
Youth development workers agree that mandatory training is necessary and beneficial; however, it is recommended that training is more focused on specific populations and tailored to particular programs. Nearly half of the participants report that youth development training should occur monthly. Youth development workers reported being most knowledgeable about building relationships and least knowledgeable of topics like trauma and outcome measures, and youth development. Chapter 5 will provide further analysis of the data to determine if the research questions were addressed and provide recommendations for future studies.
*Chapter five: Discussion, Implications and Recommendations*
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APPENDIX A. STATEMENT OF ORIGINAL WORK
Academic Honesty Policy
Capella University’s Academic Honesty Policy (3.01.01 <www.capella.edu/assets/pdf/policies/academic_honesty.pdf>) holds learners accountable for the integrity of work they submit, which includes but is not limited to discussion postings, assignments, comprehensive exams, and the dissertation or capstone project.
Established in the Policy are the expectations for original work, rationale for the policy, definition of terms that pertain to academic honesty and original work, and disciplinary consequences of academic dishonesty. Also stated in the Policy is the expectation that learners will follow APA rules for citing another person’s ideas or works.
The following standards for original work and definition of *plagiarism* are discussed in the Policy:
Learners are expected to be the sole authors of their work and to acknowledge the authorship of others’ work through proper citation and reference. Use of another person’s ideas, including another learner’s, without proper reference or citation constitutes plagiarism and academic dishonesty and is prohibited conduct. (p. 1)
Plagiarism is one example of academic dishonesty. Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s ideas or work as your own. Plagiarism also includes copying verbatim or rephrasing ideas without properly acknowledging the source by author, date, and publication medium. (p. 2)
Capella University’s Research Misconduct Policy (3.03.06 <www.capella.edu/assets/pdf/policies/research_misconduct.pdf>) holds learners accountable for research integrity. What constitutes research misconduct is discussed in the Policy:
Research misconduct includes but is not limited to falsification, fabrication, plagiarism, misappropriation, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. (p. 1)
Learners failing to abide by these policies are subject to consequences, including but not limited to dismissal or revocation of the degree. Statement of Original Work and Signature
I have read, understood, and abided by Capella University’s Academic Honesty Policy (3.01.01 <www.capella.edu/assets/pdf/policies/academic_honesty.pdf>) and Research Misconduct Policy (3.03.06 <www.capella.edu/assets/pdf/policies/research_misconduct.pdf>), including the Policy Statements, Rationale, and Definitions.
I attest that this dissertation or capstone project is my own work. Where I have used the ideas or words of others, I have paraphrased, summarized, or used direct quotes following the guidelines set forth in the APA *Publication Manual*.
Learner name and date
APPENDIX B. INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE
Qualitative Interview Questions
1. How would you describe your role as a youth development worker?
2. How do you feel about your role?
3. Describe the youth development programs you have implemented.
4. Tell me about your training experience for designing youth development programs.
5. Tell me about your training experience for implementing youth development programs.
6. How would you describe your decision-making process (i.e. how do you decide which programs to implement)?
7. Describe a successful program?
8. What are your training needs to be able to design a successful program?
9. What are your training needs for implementing a program?
10. What do you think about mandatory training for youth development workers?
11. What topics should be the focus of mandatory trainings?
12. What challenges do you face when designing youth development programs?
13. What challenges do you face when implementing youth development programs?
14. Is there anything you would like to add about your training experience/needs for designing and implementing youth development programs?
APPENDIX C. YOUTH DEVELOPMENT SURVEY Youth Development Worker Survey
The purpose of this survey is to assess the youth development workers’ thoughts and opinions regarding the impact of their service delivery on youth served.
Youth Development Worker Survey:
Choose your level of agreement based on the following statements:
1. Building positive relationships with youth will help increase resident participation? Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, Strongly Disagree
2. The youth development services I provide are successful at increasing school engagement (academic achievement and school attendance). Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, Strongly Disagree
For the following questions – choose the option that best applies:
3. How often should youth development training occur? Monthly, Quarterly, Biyearly, Annually, N/A
4. Which topic do you have the least knowledge? Youth Development, Building Relationships, Life Skills, Trauma, Outcome Measures
5. Which topic do you have the most knowledge? Youth Development, Building Relationships, Life Skills, Trauma, Outcome Measures APPENDIX D. OBSERVATION PROTOCAL Youth Development Worker Training
The purpose of the observation protocol is to assess how the in-house training provided by the youth development worker’s agency supports their role in the children’s residential setting. The researcher will utilize a Likert Scale to record responses. (1-Strongly Agree 2-Agree 3-Neutral 4-Disagree 5-Strongly Disagree)
1. The topic presented during training focused on building relationships with youth. 1-Strongly Agree 2-Agree 3-Neutral 4-Disagree 5-Strongly Disagree
2. The training provided instructions on how to incorporate the content into program design. 1-Strongly Agree 2-Agree 3-Neutral 4-Disagree 5-Strongly Disagree
3. The training provided instructions on how to implement the content presented. 1-Strongly Agree 2-Agree 3-Neutral 4-Disagree 5-Strongly Disagree
4. The training is related to the youth development worker’s role in the children’s residential setting. 1-Strongly Agree 2-Agree 3-Neutral 4-Disagree 5-Strongly Disagree
5. The topic presented during training focused on the services provided by youth development workers. 1-Strongly Agree 2-Agree 3-Neutral 4-Disagree 5-Strongly Disagree