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YSED203 Building Relationships and Supporting Young People

Unit rationale, description and aim

It is commonly understood that youth workers will often work with some of society’s most marginalised, disadvantaged and at-risk young people. Specifically, many of the young people that a youth worker will work with will have experienced some form of trauma in their life. To work effectively and safely with such people, there is specific knowledge that is needed to underpin the development of an understanding of particular concepts, principles and theories, in order to develop skills and make informed choices of action. In this unit, students are introduced to Trauma Informed Practice. Students will explore frameworks that involve understanding, recognising, and responding to the effects of trauma in the lives of the young people they work with.

The unit will also emphasise the importance of physical, psychological and emotional safety for young people with a focus on helping young people rebuild a sense of control and empowerment. Various forms of traumatic experience, ranging from individual, social, collective and intergenerational trauma will be considered in this subject. This unit includes a Child Safe online module that will focus on responding to concerns and strategies to keep ourselves and others safe and support children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Utilising a case management approach, this unit aims to equip students with a sound grasp of what constitutes trauma-informed behaviour in a young person and how, as youth workers, they might adapt their practice to provide appropriate support in response.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Demonstrate an understanding of the importance, policies and strategies for building safe and supportive environments for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults (GA1, GA5)

LO2 - Identify the key principles and practices of trauma informed practice required to respond appropriately to disclosures and expressions of trauma (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO3 - Embed trauma informed care and practice in to youth work practice scenarios by drawing on examples from their own practice and work environment (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO4 - Prepare case notes and organise case files using the model of assessment, planning, implementation and review that underscore the role of case management and crisis management work within trauma informed practice (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO5 - Explain the nature of crisis, stages of crisis, and critical incidents including specific strategies to intervene and assist young people in unsafe situations. Demonstrate techniques in the prevention of crisis situations (GA1, GA3, GA4)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include:

  • Defining trauma-informed practice and the principles that guide a trauma-informed response
  • Understanding trauma and its impact on individual young people, families and communal groups.
  • Trauma-informed assessment and its importance in supporting the young person.
  • How to establish and maintain safe relationships and environments that provide support, safety, trust and respect for the traumatised young person
  • Current methods and elements of case management, case planning, casework and case closure
  • Cultural manifestations of trauma, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.
  • Theory and practice in responding to critical incidents and crisis
  • Theory and practice in dealing with challenging behaviours.
  • Building safe and supportive environments for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The hurdle task, the Child Safe online module, will take approximately 2 hours to complete. Successful participants will be given a record of completion.

This 10-credit point face-to-face unit provides hands-on learning, including collaborative learning. It takes the form of a face-to-face class incorporating activities through which students will gain a deep understanding of trauma-informed practice. Key learning activities will include debating, role play, reading, writing, group discussion, finding scholarly sources, and problem-solving. The lectures provide students with content and analytical frameworks necessary for understanding and analysing trauma-informed practice and assist students to synthesise a broad range of material related to theory and practice. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The hurdle task is an online module that satisfies the requirement that students demonstrate competency-based knowledge for working with vulnerable children, young people and adults. This online module is interactive and provides a scaffolded learning experience that supports the growth of the student’s awareness of what is required for supporting young people who may come from trauma-informed backgrounds. This assesses learning outcome one.

Assessment task 1 is a written piece that requires students to write an essay that demonstrates their grasp of the content covered across the semester. Much of this unit deals with specific content areas that collectively contribute to a broader knowledge base that will inform the development of trauma-informed youth work practices. This task enables students to demonstrate their grasp of this knowledge and their ability to apply it to a youth work setting.

Assessment task 2 is a written piece that utilises specific case examples which then create the platform from which students develop a comprehensive and supportive case management plan. Students will draw on their developing knowledge base garnered from the weekly topics across the semester to strategically and specifically display how they would provide case management support to a young person who presents with trauma-informed behaviours.

Assessment task 3 is a tutorial presentation that requires students to work in pairs. The tutorial presentation must include either a role play or a group activity that demonstrates engagement with a weekly topic or a presentation and activity that is based on extended weekly readings. This task enables the students to demonstrate mastery of a subtopic within the broader curriculum of the semester’s content. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Hurdle task: Child Safe online module

Online multiple choice or short answer questions in 4 sub-modules. Students will need to pass the first sub-module with a pass mark of 75% before progressing to the next sub-module.

Note: Completion of this module does not exempt students from seeking a Working with Children Card or a Police Check where this is appropriate or mandated.



GA1, GA5

Assessment Task 1: Written Piece

Students are required to write an essay on trauma-informed youth work.


LO2, LO3, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2: Written Piece

Students are required to undertake a risk assessment of a case study using a case management approach.


LO2, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment 3: Tutorial Presentation

Students are required to present a tutorial activity


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Baglivio, MT & Epps, NJ 2016, ‘The Interrelatedness of Adverse Childhood Experiences among High-Risk Juvenile Offenders’, Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 179-198.

Baglivio, MT, Wolff, KT, Epps, N, Nelson, R 2017, ‘Predicting Adverse Childhood Experiences: The Importance of Neighborhood Context in Youth Trauma among Delinquent Youth’, Crime and Delinquency, vol. 63, no. 2, pp. 166-188.

Brotherton, G & Cronin, M 2013, Working with vulnerable children, young people and families, Routledge.

Child Safety Commissioner, 2009, From isolation to connection: A guide to understanding and working with traumatised children and young people,

Craig, J. M., Baglivio, M. T., Wolff, K. T., Piquero, A. R., Epps, N. J. Y. V. & Justice, J. 2017. Do Social Bonds Buffer the Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Reoffending? 15, 3-20.

Frankel, A & Gelman, S 2019, Case management: An introduction to concepts and skills, 4th edn, Oxford University Press, New York.

Price, M & Dalgleish, J 2013, ‘Help-seeking among Indigenous Australian adolescents: exploring attitudes, behaviours and barriers’, Youth Studies Australia, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 10–18.

Perry, BD & Szalavitz, M 2017, The boy who was raised as a dog: And other stories from a child psychiatrist’s notebook: What traumatized children can teach us about loss, love and healing, Revised. Basic Books, New York.

Steele, W & Malchiodi, C 2012, Trauma Informed Practices with Children and Adolescents, Routledge, London.

Webb, NBE, & Dumpson JR 2006, Working with traumatized youth in child welfare, Guilford Press, New York.


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