Stevenson, Spencer Richard - Child and Youth Yorker

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[edit] Job title (Spencer Stevenson)

Child and Youth Worker

[edit] General overview

A job in Child and Youth work would entail the support and counsel of children or adolescents in various situations and circumstances. Child and Youth workers are trained to address a wide range of situations such as poverty, depression, aggression, abuse, etc. Workers benefit from training in forms of crisis management, treatment, counselling, and the development of children and youth [1] A child and youth worker assists children or adolescents in varying circumstances that all require additional counsel and support.

[edit] Job duties and responsibilities

Tasks that a Child and Youth worker must perform are counsel and assistance with the child/youth. Sometimes children need support in various situations and as such the main responsibilities of a CYW are to uphold respect and empathy for the child/youth as well as maintain authority so they know to listen to instructions. This authority must not overshadow the support and empathy that are required for the job and there needs to be a healthy balance [2] The worker may also be required to run informational seminars or groups for several children and youth to provide information on a mass basis. This information can be built upon in one-to-one sessions with a worker [3] Similarly, the worker is required to perform one-to-one sessions with youths. These situations focus on the specific problems the youth are encountering and is highly tailored to that individual’s needs. For this, the worker needs to plan activities that can help address the problems the youth is facing. This requires a knowledge about the youth, their problem, their preferred activities as well as some research on the efficacy of certain plans or strategies of addressing the problem the youth is facing. This information must be tied together and specified to help best fit the youth’s individual needs, preferences and personality. Should the need arise, it is also the responsibility of a CYW to contact the police, paramedics or other authorities. Distressed home life situations may bring risks such as threats, violence or injury, in which case it is the responsibility of the CYW to contact relevant authorities [3].

[edit] Typical workday

The typical workday for a child and youth worker is long and has some variation. However, usually the morning involves planning and preparation for the day’s activities, based on who the worker is seeing. This can be workshop planning for groups, or individual activities. Afternoons can be spent on one-to-one sessions where the worker is with individual children/youth. This support can come in the form of mentoring and advising on current problems. Administration duties may occur before and after these one-to-one sessions. In the evenings the job often continues as a worker may need to catch up on emails or issues affecting the youth community to better help combat the issues, should they arise with one of their clients. They need to keep positive and engaged and allow opportunities for exploration and confrontation of issues by the child or youth. Average number of clients per day can vary greatly depending on area of employment. Some CYWs may work in one-to-one settings whereas others may work with larger group settings, so an average client per day number is not available [3].

[edit] Educational requirements and other qualifications

In order to be a child and youth worker, an individual must have a post-secondary Child and Youth Worker (CYW) program certification. Following its completion, the individual can be eligible for full certification by the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Counsellors [4] Several programs and degrees/diplomas can make an individual eligible for Child and Youth Councillor certification:

1. A college diploma in the field of Child and Youth Work and about 1500 hours of experience in the field.

2. Relevant diplomas, in fields such as corrections, early childhood, social services, etc. with CYC degree experience

3. A CYW diploma can be coupled with a degree in fields related to CYW, such as a degree in psychology, social work, etc.

4. Advanced degrees (e.g. master’s) in fields such as psychology, education, social work, etc.

Also to be noted, as a child and youth worker, recertification is not necessary. However, there may be other certificates or programs that may need to be obtained and kept updated (CPR certification, first aid, etc.). Similarly since job turnover rate is high and CYW may move to different areas in the field, additional job specific certifications may be needed [5] However, there is no need to recertify the CYW diploma/degree itself.

The following link has current contact information all programs available for CYC diplomas/degrees in Ontario: [4].

[edit] Related skills, interests, and abilities

Networking abilities are needed as child and youth workers need to know when they may need to refer to different doctors or specialists for more extreme cases, for instance severe depression or abuse. Interpersonal skills to form relationships with the child/youth to add to the support and care that the worker needs to provide for them. Similarly, strong empathy skills are also beneficial because it is important to understand how the child/youth is feeling, and to support them in whatever situations arise. Scheduling skill is required as the worker needs to be able to plan activities for them and the client to engage in during the course of the visit. Punctuality is an important skill to have and demonstrate to the child/youth that being on time is important. Communication is an important skill as well, since the worker needs to be able to understand what the child/youth is saying and feeling while also needing to be able to communicate their instructions and guidance effectively to the child/youth. They need to maintain authority but still be supportive [2].

[edit] Relevance of Psychology undergraduate degree

Development and Lifespan courses have great relevance, specifically those related to childhood or adolescent development. These courses teach how humans develop across the early years of life and what influences development, as well as addressing potential problems in development. The Brock University Lifespan Development course offers a general introduction to theories of development. Erikson’s theories are addressed and the course discusses key points of development across the lifespan. In terms of child and youth work, this course introduces theories relevant to child and adolescent development. It is also a prerequisite course that is required for courses that further focus more specifically on children and adolescent youth.[6]

Brock University courses such as Adolescent Development and Psychosocial Problems in Adolescence offer information on what adolescents experience in growth and helps dispel myths surrounding development. For example a common theory is that adolescents are moody and hormonal, however, this is critiqued and revised. Through the dual systems model it is explained that emotion and limbic structures in the brain mature faster than the cognitive control centres in the prefrontal cortex, which accounts for the apparent flux in emotion. This is relevant as it dispels the myth of moody teenagers and removes bias derived from this myth, and instead accepts that adolescents may simply be more sensitive to certain stimuli.[6]

The Brock University course Introduction to Psychotherapy and Counselling is also an important class that offers some valuable information to the CYW profession. Being a child and youth worker involves counselling and this course gives a basis for understanding how to counsel. For example, this class teaches different therapy styles that may need to be implemented during work, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, which would give the worker some knowledge and base experience in assisting someone to change cognitive and behavioural processes to a benefit for the individual being counselled. Similarly, if the child/youth is coming from a poor family situation, use of certain family therapy skills could be helpful to handle harmful situations. For example if the child/youth starts acting defiantly towards the parent, the worker can use family therapy knowledge and methods to help bring the child/youth back down from an elevated defiance level.[6]

[edit] Salary potential

The potential entrance (0-5 years of experience) salary for a child and youth worker would be ~$35,000, middle career (5-10 years) ~$39,000 mid-late career (10-20 years) ~$45,000 and late career ( >20 years) salary of ~$48,000. These are averages across Canada and include all provinces and territories. [7]

For further information refer to for more specific breakdowns as well as related fields salaries for comparison.

[edit] Job outlook

Job prospects look good as the field of social work, which includes child and youth workers, has expanded greatly in the past few years. More specialized areas are being required and there is an increased availability for child and youth workers, as well as social workers [5], especially for males as they tend to be underrepresented in the field [7]. For employment trends, 62% tend to be employed in healthcare / social assistance, 15% in public administration, 14% in associations such as civil or social organizations, 4% in social advocacy programs [5]. There is a low unemployment rate, and the job market is able to absorb virtually all graduates in the field [5]. Seasonal unemployment may tend to occur during the months of July and August [5].

[edit] To know more

To know more, visit the Ontario Association of Child & Youth Counsellors webpage at Or visit the Service Canada website for the field of community and social work for extensive breakdowns of field demographics (e.g. ages of workers, average income, base educational requirements)

[edit] Notes and References

  1. Ontario Colleges (2015) Child and Youth Worker Programs At Ontario Colleges | Retrieved from:
  2. 2.0 2.1 Apprentice Search (2015) Child and Youth Worker (620A) Retrieved from:
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Black, F (2013) So What Does A Child And Youth Worker Do, Exactly? Retrieved from:
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ontario Association of Child and Youth Counsellors (2014) OACYC – Home Retrieved from:
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 The Government Of Canada – Service Canada (2013) Community and Social Service Workers – Service Canada Retrieved from:
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Brock University (2011) 2011-2012 Undergraduate Calendar – Psychology. Retrieved from:
  7. 7.0 7.1 Payscale (2014) Child and Youth Worker Salary (Canada) Retrieved from:
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