Tuning into child and youth care: an audio drama inquiry with child and youth care practitioners who have lived in residential placement


Child and youth care (CYC) practitioners (CYCPs) who have lived in residential placement as children or youth represent an understudied and thus largely unknown cohort. This lack of knowledge has resulted in assumptions, generalizations, and unfounded claims impacting discourses, and potentially practices, within CYC. Based on the development of an original research method—audio drama inquiry—this sonic dissertation presents the first documented examination of the perspectives, experiences, and insights of 17 Canadian CYCPs “from care” (CYCPfC). Informed by research-based theatre, CYC theory, and care ethics, two audio drama series were created asking “what does residential placement experience do to CYCPs, and how do CYCPfC do CYC?” The resulting performances reveal frictions and desires related to working for, within, and at times against the same systems that one grew up in. CYCPfC articulate benefits resulting from their “lived experience,” such as identification, empathy, inimitable systemic knowledge, and motivations to initiate change within such systems. However, the audio dramas also reveal perils related to their personal histories, the institutions in which they work(ed), and the “the field” more broadly. Through greater understanding of CYCPfC, who provide insights, cautions, and learnings from their unique perspectives, this study advances our knowledge regarding what is done when doing CYC. Moreover, Tuning into CYC broadens existing frames of qualitative inquiry through explicating and demonstrating the theoretical and practical elements of audio drama inquiry.



care, children and youth, lived experience, audio drama inquiry, residential care, child and youth care