Child and Youth Care Program FAQ

Q - What is a Child and Youth Care Practitioner/Worker (CYCP/CYW)?

A - Child and Youth Care Practitioners are specialists in facilitating change in children, youth and young adults who are experiencing a range of social, emotional and/or behavioural challenges. Children and youth respond to the impact of change, stress, loss, poverty, violence, abuse and neglect with a range of emotions and behaviours including confusion, anger, withdrawal, aggression, hopelessness, violence, and suicide. Many of the children or youth experience numerous challenges and may have a variety of diagnoses.

Additionally, increasing numbers of these youth are in conflict with the law and/or are receiving therapeutic intervention. Understanding the individual and the unique nature of his/her response is therefore an important first task. Child and Youth Care Practitioners are a valuable resource to children, youth and their families in this process. They commit themselves to understanding and interacting in therapeutic relationships with these children, youth, and their families to promote and facilitate positive change.

Q - What Vocational Learning Outcomes is the CYC program based on?

A - All graduates of the Child and Youth Care Program must have achieved the eight Vocational Learning Outcomes (VLOs) for Child and Youth Care programs as identified by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD).

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to…

  • Develop and maintain relationships with children, youth and their families applying principles of relational practice* and respecting their unique life space*, cultural and human diversity.
  • Assess and respond to the strengths and needs of children and youth, including complex responses impacted by developmental, environmental, physical, emotional, social and mental health challenges in order to promote positive change.
  • Analyze and evaluate the impact of the inter-relationship among family, social service, justice and community systems on children, youth and their families and use this information in the planning of holistic care and in the reduction of systemic barriers.
  • Plan, implement and evaluate interventions using evidence-informed practices* in the areas of therapeutic milieu*and programming, and group work to promote resiliency* and to enhance development in children, youth and their families.
  • Advocate* for the rights of children, youth and their families and maintain an anti-oppression perspective* and cultural competence in diverse cultural contexts.
  • Apply communication, teamwork and organizational skills within the inter-professional team and with community partners to enhance the quality of service in child and youth care practice.
  • Develop and implement self-care strategies using self-inquiry and reflection processes to promote self-awareness and to enhance practice as a child and youth care practitioner.
  • Use evidence-based* research, professional development resources and supervision models to support professional growth and lifelong learning.

Q - What Employability Skills is the CYC Program based on?

A - In additional to the above noted Vocational Leaning Outcomes, all graduates of the Child and Youth Care program must be able to reliably demonstrate the Essential Employability Skills required in each of the following six categories listed below:


  • Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken, and visual form that fulfills the purpose and meets the needs of the audience
  • Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication



  • Execute mathematical operations accurately


Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

  • Apply a systematic approach to solve problems
  • Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems


Information Management

  • Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems



  • Show respect for the diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others
  • Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals



  • Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects
  • Take responsibility for one’s own actions, decisions, and consequences

Q - What does a typical semester of classroom studies look like?

A - Each semester, the student will be registered in courses reflecting the eight program vocational learning outcomes. These courses incorporate a range of activities that provide ample learning opportunities to meet the standards. Classes vary by Faculty style, however, typically include a mix of lecture style instruction, class discussion, small group work, hands-on learning activities, guest speakers, and multimedia. Classes can be scheduled during morning, afternoon, or evening hours. Classes are typically 2-hr or 3-hr blocks, depending on whether the course is a 30 hr or 45 hr credit. Classes can be scheduled back-to-back, but students are provided chunks of unscheduled time which they can use for breaks, meals, and getting together with study groups. Students will be eligible to register in subsequent semesters based on the successful completion of all pre-requisites/co-requisites. Students are required to attain an overall grade of D (50%) in their classes.

Q - What does the Field Placement component look like?

A - Field placement is a major component of the program and offers the students the opportunity to apply their academic knowledge. It provides a safe setting for students to receive constructive feedback regarding their skills and aptitude for a career in Child and Youth Care. Most importantly, this on-the-job training offers students the benefit of knowledge, guidance and a wealth of experience by the many Child and Youth Care Practitioners who act as field placement supervisors in the community.

Students complete multiple Community Field Placement courses with the CYC program, following their first year of study. Please refer to the information found in the Program Outline portion of the program page.

Students generally have the opportunity to gain experience at two separate placement sites by the time they graduate. Specific field placement sites are not guaranteed, and some placements require specific criteria to be met (i.e. shifts required on evenings or weekends). Students work closely with Faculty through the field placement selection process, to find an appropriate match for each placement.

Students complete their placements in the Fall and Winter semesters (September-December and January-April), 3 days a week, for year 2 and 3 of the program. Each field placement course has a co-requisite seminar course, in which students are able to debrief and problem-solve placement related topics, and receive guidance and support.

2nd year students are in the classroom Mon/Tues and at placement *Wed-Fri.

3rd year students are in the classroom Thurs/Fri, and at placement *Mon-Wed.

By graduation, each student has successfully demonstrated their skill competencies at a total of 4 Community Field Placement Courses (and corequisite Seminar courses), spread over 4 semesters, at two separate placement sites.

(*Variation in placement days would be location specific.)

Q - What kinds of jobs and /or educational opportunities are available once a student graduates from the CYC program?

A - Child and Youth Care graduates have a wide variety of employment opportunities from which to choose. Some of these career choices are: community-based agencies, recreational programming, hospital settings, counselling services, life skills training, addiction and other specialized treatment centres, youth criminal facilities, outreach and support services, homelessness prevention, employment services, educational support, home care, community development, group homes, emergency shelters, transitional services, and street work. This is not an exhaustive list, so students are encouraged to explore their options.

Students also have opportunities to further their studies at a variety of post-secondary institutions. St. Lawrence College works collaboratively with colleges and universities with CYC programming and specialized graduate studies. Examples of existing educational pathways for graduates include pursuing your Bachelor's Degree at Humber College. You can find more information about current articulation agreements and transfer protocols on our CYC program page. Follow the Ontario Transfer link found below to begin exploring your options.

Look up articulation and transfer credit information at

Q - Who is the Program Coordinator for the CYC program?

Tanea Fortin