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Child and Youth Services Worker

Working with at-risk youth is a challenging, but rewarding career path which involves collaborating with other mental health and community service workers to help society's most vulnerable young people thrive. If you're looking to make a difference in the lives of youth, CDI College's Child and Youth Services Worker diploma program is for you.

Hands-on Services Worker Training

Child and Youth Services Workers are indispensable in Alberta's healthcare system. In a given day, you will be working under the supervision of counsellors, dealing with many different issues affecting children and youth.

The Child and Youth Services worker program gives you hands-on, job-ready training helping at-risk youth with family concerns, legal issues, access and success in education, physical and mental health, and addictions.

Top Community Worker and Child and Youth Services Training

Split into two parts, the Child and Youth Services Worker program first focuses on the community services worker part of your diploma, with courses in social service work, professional communication, working with families, diversity and social justice, as well as the fundamentals of poverty, addiction, and mental health.

The second part of the program focuses on child and youth services, and includes training in child development, including trauma, grief and loss, advocacy and empowerment of youth, the youth and social welfare systems in Canada, interviewing techniques, youth justice issues, and youth diversity.

Additionally, you'll take part in a 100-hour practicum placement, where you'll get the opportunity to test your skills in the field under the supervision of experienced child and youth services workers. 

External Certifications in:

  • First Aid/CPR,
  • Level 1 ASIST Suicide Intervention & Prevention
  • Level 1 Non-violent Crisis Intervention (NCI). 

Program Courses

SSS4 - Student Success Strategies
This course will introduce students to skills and concepts that will help them achieve personal, academic, and career success.
SSW101O - Introduction to Social Service Work
This course is designed to give the student an introduction to social service work in Canada. Social service workers and allied professionals play a pivotal role in improving the social welfare of individual people and whole communities. These helping professionals do so from a variety of contexts, but from a coherent “strengths-based’ values platform. Students will learn what social services workers do, how they do it, why they do it, and what good it does.
SSW102O - Professional Communications for Social Services
This course helps the student understand the basic elements of adult interpersonal communication. All professional communication skills (such as counselling skills, interviewing skills, and so on) are supported by a foundation of adult interpersonal communication. Focusing on the four main areas of communication -- verbal, nonverbal, interpersonal, and group -- the course gives the student opportunities to intensively practice basic communication skills via role-playing, feedback, and other practical exercises.
SSW103O - Diversity and Social Justice
This course presents diversity from a much broader perspective than just race and ethnicity, exploring a broad spectrum of cultural and diversity issues and their impact on the client-counsellor relationship. Students will have the opportunity to learn from external speakers with expertise in specific communities as well as an opportunity to hone their clinical skills via role-playing.
SSW104O - Professional Ethics for Social Services
This course outlines in depth the counselling process with a focus on the counsellor as a person and as a professional. Emphasis is placed on the stages of counselling, basic counselling skills, attitudes and values of the counsellor, and the importance of the counselling relationship. Some other topics explored include: introduction to professional ethics, self-exploration, integrative approach to counselling, the role of technology in ethics, legal issues and ethics for helpers, working with difficult clients, values and diversity in counselling, ethical relationship issues, boundary issues, managing stress, and self-care.
PCGO - Psychology
This subject provides the student with a basic knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts that can be applied in the subjects that follow. Subjects include Introduction to Psychology, History of Psychology, Biology and Behaviour, States of Consciousness, Learning, Developmental Psychology, Motivation and Emotion, Psychological Disorders, Therapies, and more.
SSW106O - Fundamentals of Poverty
The course explores the impact poverty has on the individuals who must cope with it as well as the impact on the community as a whole. Particular emphasis is placed on child poverty in Canada as well as de-bunking myths and stereotypes about poverty. Two special topics in poverty are also covered: poverty and homelessness and poverty, and Aboriginals and the impact of the Legacy. The importance of education and occupation is also covered. As one of their module deliverables, students construct personal resource binders of local agencies and organizations that support people coping with poverty. They will be able to refer to these for future projects and while on practicum.
FOAO - Fundamentals of Addiction
This subject provides the foundation for further in-depth subjects in the study of addiction. The basic pharmacological nature and effects of a range of psychoactive chemicals are presented with an emphasis on challenging the myths of which chemicals cost society the most in terms of economic costs and social burden of human suffering. Specific target populations are explored, focusing on women, children, adolescents, ethnic minorities, elderly, the disabled, and those suffering from mental illness. Assessment, intervention strategies, and treatment options are presented along with the most common problems encountered during treatment.
SSW108O - Fundamentals of Mental Health
This course explores basic questions regarding mental health. It explains the formal diagnostic categories of the DSM-IV-TR, common medications used in pharmacotherapies for mental health concerns, as well as the impact mental health concerns have on the affected individuals. Particular emphasis is placed on community-based interventions and supports for people living with mental health issues as well as the importance of the duty to warn. As one of their module deliverables, students construct personal resource binders of local agencies and organizations that support people coping with mental health. They will be able to refer to these resources for future projects and while on practicum.
SSW109O - Working with Families
This course provides students with an introduction to issues frequently encountered when working with families affected by addiction. Drawing on Bowen and Solution-Focussed family therapies, it provides tools that help social service workers understand various family dynamics. Basic strategies for interviewing families are reviewed. The concept of codependency is introduced, both in terms of the family life of clients, and the workers’ own risk for developing codependent behaviours on the job. A basic introduction to working with diverse family groups is provided.
SSW110O - Case File Management and Report Writing
This course is designed to give the student an introduction to case management, documentation, and report writing in the social work field. It covers the effects of deinstitutionalization and the importance of the case manager role. Types of recording in this course include process recording and summary recording along with intake summaries. The process behind intake interviews, service delivery planning, building case files, and service coordination are also covered. The course also examines ethical and legal issues giving students an idea of the various areas where competence improves with experience. Various roles in case management such as assessment, intake procedures, outreach, and resources are also covered.
SSW111O - Burnout and Self-Care
Helping professionals who work with traumatized or otherwise "at-risk" individuals are at risk themselves for developing secondary traumatic stress. The very qualities that led workers to the social service employment -- compassion and empathy -- are the ones that make workers particularly vulnerable to this. Murphy’s Law and the different types of stress are also brought to the forefront. This course briefly reviews the nature and diagnostic criteria of both post-traumatic stress and secondary post-traumatic stress. The primary focus in this module is practical, hands-on strategies that social service workers can use to prevent burnout and increase self-care.
SSW113O - Community Services Worker Certificates
In this module, students earn the three external certificates bundled into their program: Level 1 First Aid/CPR, Level 1 ASIST Suicide Intervention & Prevention, Level 1 Non-violent Crisis Intervention (NCI). Instruction will be provided by certified trainers in these specialties. Typically, the trainers will be College staff, but external trainers may also be used when that is expedient.
SSW200 - Child Development, Trauma, Grief, and Loss
This course introduces the student to the foundations of child development and the impact of adverse childhood experiences on a child’s development. The course will explore three main areas essential for support; child development, trauma and itrs effect on children and the impact of loss and grief on children and youth. Students will learn the age versus stage development expectations for children in a physical, intellectual social and emotional level. The course will also explore childhood trauma as a result of intense events that could threaten the safety or security of a child and impair the child’s abiltiy to trust and develop meaningful relationships with others, with emphasis on how childhood trauma impacts a child’s actions, social interactions, abilty to learn and care for themselves. The course will also explore the relationship between loss and grief and how grief is a response to loss. Students will gain an understanding of how grief is a normal response to loss. The course will provide the student with foundational knowledge on how the caregiver can support children in meeting their development potential in working through issues of trauma, grief and loss in a developmentally appropriate manner.
SSW301O - Advocacy and Empowerment of Youth
This course introduces the student to the foundations of advocacy and empowerment for young people. How to lay the groundwork for advocacy is explained as well as ways to build rapport with youth to facilitate effective advocacy. Different strategies based on education components to empower youth while learning through education and personal choices are covered. Finally, how to advocate for effective standards of professions and healthy meaningful programming is explored.
SSW302O - Youth and the Social Welfare Systems in Canada
This course is designed to give the student critical insight in to the social category youth and how the boundaries and definitions of youth are socially and historically determined based on the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), the impact of various social systems (justice systems, social services systems, education systems etc.) on youth identity formation is explored, as well as observing the differences in the Young Offenders Act (YOA) and the YCJA. The ways for youth to access social justice in these systems are outlined, as well as examining the growing inequalities around youth.
SSW303O - Interviewing Techniques: Youth
This course is designed to provide students with a foundation in interviewing techniques including the use of non-verbals, making effective inquiries, sharing and recognizing feelings, understanding others’ underlying beliefs, knowing what information to give and when to give it, and developing one’s own personal style. Effective communication is the foundation for one’s relationship with a client. Interviewing skills should be practiced in order to enhance one’s full potential. By the end of this course, students should have a grasp of the variety of these skills necessary to be a successful interviewer. The focus in this course is interviewing clients with various issues including substance or process abuse issues, so all role-plays etc. are designed with that client group in mind.
SSW305O - Introduction to Youth Justice Issues
This course is designed to give students an overview of the youth justice system of Canada as well as insight into the impact contact with justice system has in the lives of young people. Myths/stereotypes versus the realities of youth crime in Canada are presented. Community-based interventions, rehabilitation, and restorative justice options for youth are explored.
SSW306O - Youth Diversity: Culture & Subculture
This course is designed to give students an overview of the impact of culture and subculture on youth. The specifics issues and needs of immigrant and LGBTTIQ youth, Aboriginal youth are explored. The impact of associations, activity, and style subcultures on youth is also investigated.
CES4 - Career and Employment Strategies
In addition to learning career-oriented skills, students at CDI College also learn how to prepare themselves for successfully acquiring a job in their chosen profession. This course will assist students in planning, preparation, and job search execution. Students will prepare personal marketing collateral and will practice a variety of interviewing techniques.
AB-CYPRAC - Practicum
For this mandatory 100 hour (5 week) field placement, students are expected to act as employees in a workplace related to youth services, gaining the valuable “real world” experience that employers seek. Students are encouraged to find their own field placement site. The business organization providing the placement is not expected to pay for the services provided by the student during the practicum.

Start Training to Become a Child and Youth Services Worker!

Train for a career making a difference in your community as a Child and Youth Services Worker. 

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