Module 2: perspectives on working with young people: facilitator's guide

7.1 Basic guidelines for developing working relationships with young people

Page last updated: 2004

Brainstorm activity
Task - writing and group exercise

Brainstorm activity

Question - What are some basic principles that should underlie strategies used by workers and organisations to engage with young people?

Possible answers include:
  • understanding the factors that influence young people's lives

  • being aware of young people's rights and responsibilities

  • referring to your organisation's code of ethics that guides workers' practice

  • adhering to confidentiality and duty of care principles (refer to the module 'Young People and Drugs – Issues for Workers' for more information)

  • respecting young people's identities, culture and diversity

  • understanding the developmental issues that young people face

  • remaining curious about young people's experiences

  • using creative and innovative approaches in dealing with issues young people face.

  • creating a service that is youth-friendly by including young people in the organisation and developing systems and environments that meet the needs of young people

  • being genuine and honest in your dealings with young people

  • understanding your role and the role of your agency - do not cross boundaries.
It is important to understand the interplay between the different systems influencing young people. By doing so workers can develop a wide range of strategies and interventions in working with young people.
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Task - writing and group exercise

Ask learners to consider their responses to the following question in small groups then discuss them with the whole group.

Question - What is an AOD issue facing young people in your community? List a range of individual, family, peer, school, community, societal and political interventions that you could use to tackle this issue. (Think about the possible cause or source of the AOD issue before answering.)


Overhead transparency

  • It is important to work systemically with young people.
  • Individual workers and organisations need to develop a code of ethics as well as policies and practices that guide their work with young people.
  • Creativity, youth participation and sound ethical practice help create good working relationships with young people.