What are the Duties of a Child and Youth Care Worker?

March 31st, 2022

Depending where they work and on the needs of their clients, the duties of a Child and Youth Care Worker (CYCW) can vary. Often, they wear a number of hats to meet specific needs. In this article, you’ll learn more about what a Child and Youth Care Worker is, their duties, and their salary in Canada. You’ll also learn how to become a Child and Youth Care Worker along with how Eastern College’s Child and Youth Care Worker and Child and Youth Care Worker with Addictions programs help you prepare for a rewarding career in human services.


Child and Youth Care Worker counselling family

Child and Youth Care Workers play a vital role in our Healthcare system. CYCW’s advocate for and counsel children, adolescents, and their families.


Child and Youth Care Definition

The human services field encompasses a number of roles and career paths, all of which are well-suited to those who want to see a direct and measurable impact of their work. This is especially true for Child and Youth Care Workers, who play an important role in advocating for and counselling children, adolescents, and their families. Being empathetic and nurturing are necessary qualities for this position as Child and Youth Care Workers often work with youth experiencing social, mental, emotional, or behavioural issues. In this role, Child and Youth Care Workers use a combination of knowledge, practical experience, and interpersonal communication skills to make a positive difference in the lives of youth.

What are the Duties of a Child and Youth Care Worker?

Child and Youth Care Workers can work in collaboration with school boards, government organizations, non-profits, or other community agencies such as group homes. This means that they have the opportunity to work with a diverse group of youth from all walks of life. Because Child and Youth Care Workers can have such a wide variety of clients, the day-to-day duties can be different depending on the needs of specific clients or organizations.

Typical day-to-day duties can include:

  • Reviewing client background information and interviewing clients to obtain case history and preparing intake reports
  • Assessing clients’ relevant skill strengths and needs
  • Assisting clients to sort out options and develop plans of action while providing necessary support and assistance
  • Referring clients to other social services or assisting clients in locating and utilizing community resources including legal, medical, and financial assistance; housing; employment; transportation; day care; and other services
  • Counseling clients living in group homes and supervising their activities
  • Participating in the selection and admission of clients to appropriate programs
  • Implementing life skills workshops, substance abuse treatment programs, behaviour management programs, youth service programs, and other community and social service programs under the supervision of social services or health care professionals
  • Meeting with clients to assess their progress, give support, and discuss any difficulties or problems
  • Assisting in evaluating the effectiveness of treatment programs by tracking clients’ behavioural changes and responses to interventions
  • Implementing and organizing the delivery of specific services within the community
  • Maintaining contact with other social service agencies and health care providers involved with clients to provide information and obtain feedback on clients’ overall progress
  • Coordinating the volunteer activities of human service agencies, health care facilities, and arts and sports organizations
  • May maintain program statistics for purposes of evaluation and research

Since CYCWs can often work with such a diverse group of people, it is important for CYCWs to be effective communicators to ensure that their proposed courses of action are clearly understood by youth of all ages and, often, their families. In addition to the duties above, Child and Youth Care Workers need to be empathetic, understanding, and compassionate due to the specific needs of their clients, which can be specific to behavioural, cognitive, or emotional needs.

Some of the duties related to specific needs can include:

  • Conducting individual and group counselling sessions
  • Implementing behaviour management programs
  • Providing suicide and crisis intervention

In addition, some Child and Youth Care Workers are trained to work with clients who suffer from addiction. This can add additional duties such as implementing substance abuse treatment programs.

Child and Youth Care Worker Salary in Canada

Your earning potential as a Child and Youth Care Worker varies based on the province and city you live in, as well as your level of experience in the field.

According to Job Bank, the national average is $23/hour. In Nova Scotia, the average wage is $20.25/hour, with more experienced Child and Youth Care Workers earning up to $34.87/hour.

How to Become a Child and Youth Care Worker

For those interested in a career as a Child and Youth Care Worker, a college diploma is often required.

Students learning to become child and youth care workers
A Child and Youth Care Worker diploma combines in-class instruction with hands-on experience.
A Child and Youth Care Worker diploma program combines theoretical knowledge with practical hands-on experience that lets you get the most out of your education. Students also receive certification in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (NVTCI) or in Theme-Centered Interaction (TCI), as well as a Food Handler’s Certificate. In addition, students receive training in First Aid/CPR, Fire and Life Safety, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems (WHMIS), and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).

Eastern College’s Child and Youth Care Worker program includes a 6-week internship that allows students to apply the knowledge and skills they’ve learned in the classroom into real-life settings, gaining valuable experience. The program is also recognized by the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services. Graduates are eligible to receive advance standing to Mount Saint Vincent University’s Child and Youth Studies program.

If you’re ready to begin a career in a field that lets you make a positive difference, get more Child and Youth Care Worker information by visiting our Child and Youth Care Worker and Child and Youth Care with Addictions Support Worker program pages.