It Matters to Me: Informing Youth Services Delivery

IT MATTERS TO ME: INFORMING YOUTH SERVICES DELIVERY 26 Three members of my inquiry team were instrumental in organizing the focus group. One member, who had government care experience, was responsible for identifying and inviting up to six community members whom they considered a champion youth ally. Another inquiry team member, who was also an MAL colleague, vetted questions that research participants may have had prior to engaging in the group. Another member, whose training expertise was facilitating groups on Indigenous cultural competency and who was also a trained parent-teen mediator, was responsible for creating a safe and welcoming place for research participants with the inclusion of Indigenous land acknowledgement. As a way to reduce issues of harm, the group-based method was tested by a member of my inquiry team, who was a child and mental health therapist for a government agency. Focus group participants were encouraged to attend one 3-hour session and engage in a knowledge exchange dialogue for the purpose of informing the design of a Surrey YISH. The invitation explained that participants would enjoy a meal together as a way for group members to get to know each other and also to give a gesture of appreciation for their time. Participants were informed that bus tickets would be provided if required. The maximum of seven people rsvp’d to attend the focus group, which ended my recruitment process. Six individuals participated in the session (one confirmed guest did not show). The session was held in a private meeting room. Five focus group participants identified as having some government care experience, and one participant identified as a parent who supported their child who struggled with mental health issues. To remove any power-over issue and to encourage participants to speak freely, I did not participate in the session. To enhance participants’ engagement, several strategies were implemented. I recruited a skilled facilitator, who also had a history of facilitating groups that included vulnerable

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