Child And Youth Care Worker

Make a difference in the lives of youth and their families by supporting the different aspects of development and wellness.

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64 Weeks


6 Weeks

Program Outline

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About The Program

The Child and Youth Care Worker (CYCW) diploma program prepares students with the skillset they need to work with adolescents, children, and families with diverse needs: including social, emotional, behavioural and mental health concerns. This program is recognized and aligned with competencies as per Nova Scotia Department of Community Services and graduates are eligible to receive admission with advanced standing to the Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) Child and Youth Study Degree Program. CYCWs work with their clients and other stakeholders/institutions to ensure the best course of action is taken to promote the wellbeing of children, youth and their families.

Career Opportunities

The Child and Youth Care Worker Diploma program will qualify grads to pursue positions such as Family Support Worker, Outreach Worker, Child Life Worker, Direct Support Professional, Youth Wellness Counsellor, Residential Program Worker, Disability Worker, Family-School Liaison Worker, Case Worker, Corrections Worker or Counselor.

Employers Who Have Hired Eastern Grads

  • Strongest Families Institute
  • Chisholm House
  • Akoma Family Centre
  • Youth Society
  • Family SOS
  • Halifax Regional Centre for Education


98 %

Employment Rate

$ 21

Average Wage/hr**

$ 32

High Wage/hr**

*Employment Rate based on 2019 contactable Eastern graduates employed in a related field.


NOC Code: 4212 - **Wage data rounded down to the nearest dollar, and based on Nova Scotia data. Local (or regional) income may vary. Last updated in July, 2021.

Program Details

Can you see yourself empowering young people and their families to overcome their daily challenges? If you said yes, the Child and Youth Care Worker diploma program at Eastern College can prepare you for a career in this rewarding field.

Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCWs) help to counsel and advocate for children, adolescents, and their families dealing with social, emotional, behavioural and mental health issues. CYCWs can work in conjunction with school boards, not for profit organizations, the government, court systems, and other community agencies. In this multidisciplinary program you will learn about the psychology behind human behaviour and develop strategies to foster resilience, preventative measures and healthy development in children and young adults. This program is uniquely designed where practical experience/opportunities are built throughout the program, culminating in a 6-week field placement. Students receive both theoretical and practical preparation to excel in the field as Child and Youth Care workers.

Students enrolled in this program receive:

  • Field trips to multiple community agencies
  • Certification in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (NVCI) or Theme-Centered Interaction (TCI)
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)
  • Food Handler’s Certificate
  • Fire and Life Safety training
  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems Training (WHMIS)


Education Pathways through Mount Saint Vincent University

Graduates of the Eastern College NS Diploma in Child and Youth Care Worker are eligible to receive admission with advanced standing to the Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) Child and Youth Study Degree Program. Students must meet the requirements for admission for transfer students described in the MSVU calendar.


Course Listings: Nova Scotia
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Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Activity Programming
During this module students will explore different components of activities programming. Students will learn how to be effective leaders when facilitating individual activities. Participants will explore the steps involved in planning and designing programs that will be facilitated in a community recreation organization. Students will also learn what it means to “take initiative.”
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Career Planning & Preparation - Level I
This module introduces tools for planning and preparing for a successful job search, so that students can maintain a career-focused approach throughout their education program. Students will learn about the "Hidden" Job Market and ways to access it in their upcoming job search, how to research opportunities and network for industry contacts, and use appropriate etiquette when communicating with prospective employers. Students will identify their personal skills, values and preferences for the workplace, begin preparation of a professional resume and references, and organize proof documents for their career portfolio. Class discussions on various self-management topics introduced in Student Success Strategies will round out this module, which is a pre-requisite for Career Planning and Preparation - Part II.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Career Planning & Preparation - Level II
This module continues to build on the concepts and skills introduced in Career Planning and Preparation - Part I. Students will learn how to conduct an effective job search and identify various methods of applying for work with today's technology. Students will create a personal list of "Top Employers" and target current industry opportunities, while finalizing their professional resume, portfolio and career correspondence. Students will learn to identify the different types and forms of interviews, practice responding to typical questions, and practice follow-up, evaluation and negotiation techniques they can use to ensure success. Self-management topics from Career Planning and Preparation - Part I will be reviewed, with a focus towards on-the-job success in both learner placements and post-graduate employment.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Child & Youth Care Approaches
Over the past several decades, child and youth care has developed a distinct identity as a unique field of professional practice with a focus on children and youth using strengths-based, holistic, and ecological approaches that includes active engagement with children, youth, and families across multiple and diverse settings. In response this child and youth care practitioners are required to employ a wide range of therapeutic techniques and strategic intervention and prevention approaches. Throughout this course, students will discover and apply strength based approaches used in the field of child and youth care such as, Solution Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy, cooperative and competency based approaches, The Zones of Regulation, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Trauma Informed Care (TIC), Functional Analysis, and the ABC’s of behaviour. Students will also learn alternative therapeutic methods such as music, art, and Aboriginal approaches to child and youth care.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Child & Youth Care Issues
This module focuses on exploring attachment issues; sexual abuse and trauma; Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) and AIDS; street trade and human trafficking; and domestic abuse. Students will learn about the issues of homelessness and will be able to identify the causes and effects of substance abuse. Students will discuss the issues facing the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning (LGBTQ) community. Students will learn about the adolescent sex offender and the intervention strategies applicable. This module also covers autism, fetal alcohol syndrome and related issues.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Child & Youth Care Practice
Throughout this module students will learn to develop intervention plans, treatment plans and examine personal narratives and their impact in the treatment process
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. CYCW Professional Observation
This module aims to introduce students to a Child and Youth Care work environment through a placement opportunity. Learners will have the opportunity to shadow a Child and Youth Care practitioner through the routines of their day, to gain a better understanding of the professional environment. Students will enjoy a blended experience of theory and practice, by being in the field and coming back into the classroom during the course of their professional observation block.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Profession of Child & Youth Care Worker
Child and Youth Care professionals adhere to a professional Code of Conduct while engaging in a full range of prevention, intervention and treatment strategies. This course familiarizes students with professional competencies required of child and youth care practitioners. Students will explore topics including; statutes that impact/influence child and youth care work nationally/provincially; the federal Youth and Criminal Justice Act; the Child and Youth Care Code of Ethics; professional boundaries; and advocacy. Students will explore practical and ethical dilemmas in child and youth care practice. Upon completion of this course, students will gain an understanding of the professional expectations of child and youth care practitioners.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Diversity, Equity & Advocacy
As a foundational principle, the profession of Child and Youth Care values family, community, culture and human diversity as integral to the developmental and interventive process. As the ever-changing landscape of the Canadian population becomes increasingly diverse, there is a need for CYC practitioners to develop a diversity consciousness that enhances professionalism and promotes harmony. This course will define diversity, discuss challenges experienced by diverse populations in Canada and help students identify personal biases and strengths. Topics explored include class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and religion. Upon course completion, students should be able to analyze the evolution of diversity issues and how they affect personality development, inequality, belief and value systems.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Family Issues
This module focuses on the issues that impact the families that Child and Youth Care Workers interact and work with directly and indirectly. Students will explore different styles of parenting and how parenting plays a role on the individual and the parent-child relationship as well as sibling relationships. It will also look at parenting children with different temperaments and challenges. Students will also explore conflict within family relationships including spousal violence, power and decision making, child abuse, neglect and addiction and the impact these issues have on the family system. Students will look at the trauma that can exist within perpetual crisis within the family systems by studying the WAR cycle. The module will also look at the resilience’s within families and students will develop and explore ways to foster their resilience’s and use them to better the life of the family. This module will also look at diversity issues among families such as cultural considerations and socio-historical factors that contribute to family conflict and stress. For example, unique problems facing indigenous families, refugee families, and economic statuses impact on family relationships.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Family Ties
This course introduces students to the idea that their families have played a large part in their identity development and that we are not able to understand the individual without understanding the family as a whole system. Students will directly apply the knowledge from this module to themselves and their families to truly grasp how their families have shaped their identity. Students will be challenged to shift their thinking from one of an individualized framework to a family framework. Students will learn that systemic attention is needed when dealing with children and youth to provide an all-encompassing healing experience. Students will explore what a family is, and family structure and the family lifecycle, they will learn about family systems theory and how to read, use and build genograms, ecomaps and timelines to create a picture of a family. Students will also explore roles and rules of the family, triangulation and its impact on self, birth order and its impact on identity, and differentiation of self.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Family Work Practices
This module introduces and explores the different frameworks and theories child and youth care workers use pertaining to assessment, preventative early identification and subsequent intervention, as well as intervention strategies when working with families in diverse settings. Students will apply their past knowledge of a strength-based approach, human development, family life cycle and family systems theory to the approaches discussed in this module. Students will be introduced to a variety of interventions used to promote positive ways of improving family patterns when challenges arise. Students will explore and practice creating family intervention plans and recognize the importance of developing these plans in collaboration with the family to provide developmental supports and/or interventions.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Field Placement - Child And Youth Care with Addictions Support Worker
This program includes both practicum and 6 weeks of field placement. The student will need to meet a minimum of 500 combined practicum/placement hours upon completion of the program. Practicums run concurrently with all core Child and Youth Care modules. At the end of the first year students will spend time in a group recreation, group care or community program setting. During the second year students will spend time in a group care, community treatment program, or family support program or foster care setting. During each field experience students keep a detailed journal used to write a personal reflection paper to highlight applied learning. Out of Town Field Placement: You may be required to go out of town for your field placement. You may incur additional costs associated with this (i.e.: travel, accommodations, etc.). At this time, field placement occurs only in Canada.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Group Work
During this module students will study the characteristics of group counselling and understand the stages of group work development. Students will explore group dynamics; ethical issues and confidentiality; leadership skills; challenges that arise in group work; and how to apply strategies to address those challenges. Students will also develop a group work program to be implemented in a child and youth care workplace.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Human Growth and Development
This course focuses on human growth and development from conception, through childhood, adolescence and adulthood thru to death. It also identifies some potential challenges that could occur during various stages of development. The emphasis is on the physical, cognitive, emotional and social aspects of development as a knowledge base for child and youth care practice with children, youth and families. Students will become aware of the major theoretical frameworks of lifespan development and outline factors which will support and foster resilience and healthy development throughout the ages. During the module students will be required to apply these theories to problem solving practical scenarios with children, youth and families.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Individual Approaches
This module is the second of three counselling modules. Students are introduced to essential interviewing skills and will integrate these skills with counselling foundation skills previously learned in the Interpersonal Communication module. Students will apply skills and theory from Child and Youth Care Approaches. Students will have the opportunity to apply critical reasoning when selecting appropriate counselling responses. This module is practical in nature. Students have the opportunity to integrate both old and new skills in small and large group role-play scenarios.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Interpersonal Communication
This module introduces students to basic interpersonal counselling skills, such as attending behaviours, verbal intervention techniques and SOLER skills. Students will demonstrate practical knowledge through the development and analysis of role-play scenarios.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Mental Health Practices Awareness
This module is designed to introduce students to the signs, symptoms and causes of emotional and social behavioral disorders. Students will learn the various preventative and intervention strategies. This module covers the effects of childhood trauma on individual and families and the effects of psychotropic medication. Various behavioral techniques will be discussed.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Professional Etiquette
In this course, students will develop a professional persona by applying industry standards of conduct and self-regulated behaviour. Topic exploration includes, overcoming workplace challenges, effective workplace communication and developing an understanding of 'self' as a professional practitioner. Students will use varying methods of evaluation including self-discovery, group work and peer review methods. Areas explored include the elements needed for developing a professional work ethic; strategies for presenting oneself professionally; the importance of various interpersonal skills to function effectively in the workplace; and the value of developing problem-solving and critical-thinking skills for job performance success.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Self-Awareness/Personal Growth
Human beings are complex and diverse . The purpose of this module is to support CYCW students develop an understanding of themselves in many areas in order to become an effective practioner in the field of human services. Key areas for self-awareness include our personality traits, personal values, habits, emotions, and the psychological needs that drive our behaviors.With a sense of who CYCW students are and a vision of the person they want to become, a plan for professional or personal development will be developed. Self-awareness will allow learners to motivate themselves and manage their stress better, in order to be able to lead and motivate others more effectively.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Software Lab - Computer Fundamentals
Through a combination of theory and hands-on-practice, this module examines the role and use of the computer in today’s workplace. Emphasis is placed on those computers outfitted with the Microsoft Windows operating system. Students will review basic computer concepts, Windows OS usage, and complete hands-on training exercises in business-standard software applications, including Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Word. Keyboarding skills are also honed via daily keyboarding exercises and drills
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Social Issues
Many Canadian children, youth, and their families face multiple barriers that impede healthy development and success. Introduction to Social Issues will provide CYCW students with introductory concepts, tools and frameworks from within the field of sociology that will help illuminate the causes of social issues and their impact on individuals, families, and communities. Students will learn how to critically analyse, research, and discuss field related social issues. This course will allow students to apply sociological tools and concepts with the purpose of interpreting social issues and their relationship to the personal self, children, youth and their families.
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Social Training
As an adjunct to classroom learning, students are required to obtain several critical field related certifications. Training covered in this module includes: Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (NVCI) or Theme-Centered Interaction (TCI); First Aid/CPR; and Acquired Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).
Icon-Quiz-Small Created with Sketch. Student Success Strategies
In this orientation module, emphasis is placed on thinking about achieving success from Day One. This module stresses the importance of developing non-technical skills to enhance personal, academic, and career success. This includes understanding learning styles and honing practical study skills, such as memory, reading, note-and test-taking techniques. Personal exercises will focus on teamwork, decision making and problem solving skills, setting SMART goals and maintaining a positive attitude; techniques for managing change, stress and conflict will also be explored.
Admission Requirements
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  • Grade 12 or equivalent
  • Personal interview
  • A written personal profile
  • Clear Criminal Record Check
  • Clear Vulnerable Sector Search
  • Clear Child Abuse Registry Check

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Success Stories

“The material that is taught is always hands-on and allows students to stay ahead of the ‘curve’ in their career choice. A great atmosphere and caring staff make for an exceptional vocational college.”