Friday, May 31, 2013

Child and Youth Worker Shapes Society

Children are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. They are susceptible to their parent’s actions and unable to change their own circumstances, no matter how dire. That’s where Child and Youth Worker professionals come in. These post-secondary educated people are in high demand by agencies serving troubled youth and their families as well as residential and day treatment programs, hospitals, young offender programs, crisis centres, community-based programs and shelters.

One respected Child and Youth Worker program is offered at Centennial College, whose graduates are well recognized because of their clinical focus and job readiness. This is achieved over three years of curriculum that is reviewed and revised annually to ensure that courses and assignments are based on current research and best practices. To apply for this Child and Youth Worker program, applicants are required to possess 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. It is worth noting that admission to Child and Youth Worker is “highly competitive” and program spots fills quickly. To be considered, applicants should apply prior to the Ontario Colleges equal consideration date of February 1 and submit transcripts or complete a skills assessment as early as possible.  

Thanks to its current and evolving curriculum, the Child and Youth Worker program focuses on the principles, philosophies and characteristics of relational child and youth work practice such as co-creating relationships, working developmentally and understanding professional boundaries, as well as developmental issues in childhood and adolescence, principles of psychology, child and adolescent mental health, professional recording, advocacy and law in children’s mental health, working with traumatized children and youth, and more.

To ensure that students have a good idea of what awaits them in the field, they have access to specially designed communications lab that are used to facilitate interactive learning activities, counselling simulations and small group observation and feedback. Supplemental training is also provided in Understanding & Managing Aggressive Behaviour. Additionally, Child and Youth Worker program students partake in three field placements that range between two and four days per week. Students must have a vulnerable sector criminal check prior to their field placements. 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. Certain criminal convictions will disallow placement in these agencies and program completion may not be possible.

Should grads of the Child and Youth Worker program wish to continue their education, they may apply to Ryerson University’s Child and Youth Care direct-entry degree program or receive credit towards their university degree in related disciplines. Child and Youth Worker graduates with a C+ average may also 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).

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