Support people can be instrumental in assisting young people to achieve their goals. Where a young person has scheduled pro-social activities and identified attitudes and behaviours that can help them achieve their goals, support people can provide vital reinforcement and encouragement.
Identify persons in family, social, recreational and educational / vocational settings that the young person feels have previously, or could potentially, support them in working towards their goals. Then identify individuals that the young person will approach, and those the practitioner might need to approach.
A meeting should be organised with potential support persons to confirm their willingness to help and to discuss how they can help the young person work towards their goals. This involves understanding what activities, attitudes or behaviours need to be reinforced and what their role is.
This should be communicated in an honest and direct way to the support person by either the young person or the worker (with the young persons permission). For example, the young person may ask a family member to spend time with them during a part of the day which was previously occupied with drug use.
Once support people have been recruited and briefed, it may be necessary to regularly review how they are going in that role, and changes may need to be implemented where things are not working out.
Where a young person’s drug use or other behaviour has been part of on-going family disruption, it may be necessary to hold one or more family meetings in order to get every person actively participating. Please see the Working with Families module for details on conducting family meetings.
Finally, in examining the young person’s family and social connections, it may also be necessary to ask “who is going to make it hard?”. Take the time to identify which people may work against the young person’s prosocial changes, and develop strategies for minimising their impact.