Sunday, July 3, 2011

Become a Professional Child and Youth Worker in Three Years

"A lot of what attracts people to this field is that they've had horrible situations and they want to change things,"says Colleen Camps of the Child and Youth Worker program at Centennial College. Camps is correct as this field entails professionals protecting children while encouraging their growth. Therefore, compassion, professionalism and personal experience can actually benefit those who want to work as Child and Youth Workers. However, training must first be obtained by attending a post-secondary institution such as Centennial College.

A three-year program, the Child and Youth Worker undertaking teaches students everything from learn principles and philosophies to characteristics of relational child and youth work practice such as co-creating relationships, working developmentally and understanding professional boundaries. "I've learned a lot about therapy, behaviour, why kids or people in general behave the way they do,"says Sue-Ann Williams, a student in the offering. "Some things that may seem like common sense before you come into the program, once you get into the program, you realize there's a lot of research and theory behind it. ”

Williams is referring to the wide-range of courses in which students partake, including: Developmental Issues In Childhood and Adolescence (examines, identifies, and describes child and adolescent development from a chronological perspective, beginning with conception to the periods of infancy, childhood and adolescence); Principles of Psychology (goal is to enable learners to view their lives and interactions from a psychological perspective, employing scientific methods and research information); Multimodal Therapies in Child & Youth Work (designed to explore a variety of approaches to the treatment of children and youth. The course will focus on a cognitive behavioural based framework, within which diverse modes of treatment will be introduced including such topics as art, children's literature, music, movement, Television and other media); and more.

The other vital aspect of the Child and Youth Worker program is that all three years feature field placements that vary between two and four days per week. Centennial College requires students to 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. The varying placements give students the advantage of experiencing a multitude of job settings by the time they graduate. In addition, supplemental training is provided in Understanding & Managing Aggressive Behaviour (UMAB).

Applicants to the Child and Youth Worker program must possess an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Also required are compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment or equivalent. Lastly, English proficiency will be considered and a program admission session will be required. Possession of minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the Child and Youth Worker program.

Upon graduation students are employed with agencies that work with troubled youths and their families are in desperate need of professionally trained child and youth workers. These agencies include: residential, day treatment, community-based and young offender programs, hospitals, crisis centres and shelters as well as schools.

Centennial College: Child and Youth Worker Program

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