Get Into the Child and Youth Worker Field in Three Years

Becoming a Child and Youth Worker is a decision made with the understanding that you must commit yourself to helping children who come from troubled backgrounds and require special support and guidance. These professionals aren’t psychiatrists or social workers. They have formal training in counselling young people, but their role is more like a combination of counsellor, parent, mentor and friend. Among a Child and Youth Worker’s duties are: using different types of “talk therapy” to change and manage clients’ attitudes and behaviours, coordinating activities for the groups of young people with whom they work, organizing sports, arts and theatre groups, or local trips or tours; helping unemployed youth find jobs and stay employed; monitoring clients’ progress carefully, keeping records and writing reports; and providing support and information to the clients’ families.

If you’re looking to attend a reputable Child and Youth Worker program that not only prepares you for a career but allows for a smooth transition into further education, look no further than Centennial College. The three-year undertaking in this area teaches its students the principles, philosophies and characteristics of relational child and youth work practice such as co-creating relationships, working developmentally and understanding professional boundaries.

In addition, the Child and Youth Worker program offers its graduates a variety of options. For one, qualified graduates of this program may apply to continue their education with Ryerson University’s Child and Youth Care direct-entry degree program or receive credit towards their university degree in related disciplines. In addition, Child and Youth Worker graduates with a C+ average may apply to Vancouver Island University for direct entry into the third year of the Child & Youth Work degree program. A child protection specialization is also available for a limited number of students. Lastly, students may apply for membership in the Ontario Association of Child & Youth Counsellors (OACYC).

But how exactly does this Child and Youth Worker program prepare its students for these options? First of all, the curriculum is reviewed and revised annually to ensure that courses and assignments are based on current research and best practices. In addition, a specially designed communications lab is used extensively for interactive learning activities, counselling simulations and small group observation and feedback. Finally, supplemental training is provided in Understanding & Managing Aggressive Behaviour (UMAB). Specific topics covered in the Child and Youth Worker program include: developmental issues in childhood and adolescence, child and adolescent mental health, principles of psychology, group dynamics, child abuse, professional recording, advocacy and law in children’s mental health and many others.

Students of the Child and Youth Worker undertaking balance their in-school learning with field placements in all three years that vary between two and four days per week. However, students must have a vulnerable sector criminal check prior to field placement. Certain criminal convictions will disallow placement in these agencies and program completion may not be possible. Students must also possess a standard first aid and heart saver AED (C) certification. Lastly for placement, a medical certificate of health is necessary to ensure freedom of communicable disease.

In order to apply to this Child and Youth Worker offering, applicants must have completed at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or are 19 years of age or older; and have a credit in the compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment or equivalent.

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