What It Takes to Become a Child and Youth Worker?

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    Sep 01, 2014
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What It Takes to Become a Child and Youth Worker? Photo by Natalie Carrigan

Child and youth workers help children and adolescents with a whole range of issues from emotional disabilities to new experiences, behavioural difficulties and teenage pregnancy. Traditionally, these practitioners have been playing a standalone role in the society. However, nowadays they play a dominant role in a breadth of jobs and sectors, facilitating personal, social and educational growth of children and youth.

The child and youth work is aimed towards:

  • Developing supportive relationships with young people
  • Helping them understand new experiences in their lives
  • Fostering confidence in them
  • Promoting self awareness among youngsters
  • Establishing friendly communication with children and youth
  • Enhancing the growth and development of children and youth within a range of therapeutic contexts

Responsibilities of Youth and Child Workers

The role of youth and child workers varies greatly, depending upon their employment and experience. However, there are a few work activities that every practitioner is expected to do, regardless of their job profile. These include:

  • Developing and maintaining therapeutic relationships with children and youth
  • Fostering and utilizing therapeutic environments, promoting their overall well-being and facilitating positive change for them
  • Developing and implementing strategies to enhance psycho-social development in children and youth
  • Understanding their special needs and developing intervention strategies to meets their goals
  • Regularly monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of child and youth-care programs
  • Mentoring and coaching individuals to facilitate physical and emotional fitness

Requirements for Becoming a Child and youth worker in Toronto

In order to seek employment in this field, you will need to have undergone a post-secondary program in child and youth work at least. You will need to learn 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 in-depth understanding of developmental issues in childhood and adolescence, principles of psychology, child and adolescence mental health, group dynamics, multimodal therapies in child and youth work, advocacy and law in children’s mental health, working with traumatized children and youth, child abuse and crisis theory and interventions is also required.

Apart from this, employers are keen on hiring child and youth work graduates with excellent communication, interpersonal, counselling, coaching and professional writing skills, in addition to the required knowledge.
Becoming a Child and Youth Worker

Centennial College’s two-year program child and youth work prepares you to work with traumatized, abused and troubled children and youth and their families. It equips you with a diverse skill set that permits movement across multiple roles and various contexts in this field. You will be prepared to work in community based programs and shelters, crisis centres, young offender programs, residential and day treatment programs and hospitals.

You will also be trained in understanding and managing aggressive behaviour (UMAB) during the program tenure. Additionally, an industry field placement allows you to apply your learning into practice and gain relevant industry contacts.

Child and youth workers are high in demand in Canada because of their contribution in the lives of Canadian youngsters. This may be the right career choice for those who want to help troubled youth and lead them to the right path.

Author's Profile

The author of the article, discusses the roles and responsibilities of child and youth worker program and their changing role in modern society. He also writes about how Centennial College’s youth work program prepares high school graduates for careers in this field.

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