Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Child and Youth Worker Program Offers Options

Having choices when you finish a college program is crucial to your success. With Centennial College’s Child and Youth Worker program, students can rest assured that they will be supported even after their diploma is handed to them. That’s because not only does the program equip students with an Ontario College Advanced Diploma but also engages them in pre-graduation experiences to ensure their resume stands out among the slew of Child and Youth Worker professionals. Additionally, those who complete the Child and Youth Worker program 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).

In order to get to this point, students spend three years studying curriculum that is reviewed and revised annually to ensure that courses and assignments are based on current research and best practices. Currently, the Child and Youth Worker program emphasizes principles, working with traumatized children and youth 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, professional recording, principles of psychology, child and adolescent mental health, advocacy and law in children’s mental health, and more.

To obtain hands-on experience prior to graduation, Child and Youth Worker students complete assignments in 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.

Meanwhile, off-campus aspects of the Child and Youth Worker program that allow students to apply what they have learned include 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.

Applicants to this Child and Youth Worker program must have completed 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.  

Child and Youth Worker professionals 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. Specific organizations hiring Centennial College Child and Youth Worker grads include: Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Services, Children's Aid Society of Toronto, East Metro Youth Services, Ontario Shores Mental Health Sciences, York Region District School Board and more.

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