Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Social service outreaches to children and youth in schools, hospitals, and community centres

Having the support to help during times of need is important to the person and his or her development, especially for the children and youth. Social services across the country are helping people manage their lives, but some workers are focused on the young and their health and development. A Child and Youth Worker aids various children with their daily lives, from child welfare to counseling to personal services. This profession has a diverse career opportunity, working with children at home and at school, with children with special needs, and with disadvantaged children.

Since the career and individual responsibilities of each worker differs with each environment, these workers must be adaptable but also equipped to work in different scenarios. An excellent college program, Child and Youth Worker (1205), offered by Centennial College determines the mandatory skills and experiences a student will need to prepare for in their career. It has three years of academic training, with an emphasis on childhood & adolescence development and mental health issues, and each year has a different field placement to provide hands-on training to the future professionals. All three practicums require a “C” grade to pass the placement and the program itself:

The first practicum is held in the second semester, where students visit a school setting and work with children or adolescents with special needs. Students will demonstrate a professional yet compassionate support the young ones need, including developing and implementing various programs, supervising groups of children, and monitoring their behaviours.

In the fourth semester, the second field practicum is held at a therapeutic residential setting where students will work directly with behaviourally-challenging children or adolescents. Students will complete similar tasks but with a different group of students, while managing group therapeutic activities to help with this particular group.

The third practicum is broken into two semesters in the last year of the program to extend the practice and on-the-job training. The challenges of the students advance as they deal with deeper issues of children and youth who are emotionally, behaviourally, and psychologically troubled. The third placement is set in an area with treatment service such as a hospital, community centre, or school program. Students can decide the place of their fieldwork where they are planning to pursue after graduation.

This program is mandatory for any social service professional working with children and adolescents. It requires time and skills to develop, in which Centennial College provides in its practicums and classroom lessons. “Some things that may seem like common sense before you come into the course, (but) once you get into the course, you realize there's a whole lot of theory and research behind (the program) and as to why we think this way and act this way," says Centennial student, Suanne Williams.

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