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Social Services Worker - Foundations

The Social Services Worker Foundations program has been designed to prepare the graduate for positions in the community social services field with attention to the specific needs of three populations: youth, Aboriginals, and people affected by addiction.

The program is structured with a core set of courses that provide a general overview of contemporary issues and values in social services work in Canada. Students can also specialize with additional training in the needs of specific populations such as people in recovery and youth.

Social service professionals are able to apply their skills to a wide range of situations. Whether it’s helping families through a crisis or working with victims of trauma, their roles within society are very important.

Admissions Requirements

Students must meet all of the pre-requisites listed below, meet their financial obligations with the college, and acknowledge their understanding of the college’s policies and procedures provided in the student handbook, prior to starting classes.

  • High school graduation or equivalent, or mature student status.
  • Pass college’s admissions test.
  • Criminal record check (in accordance with the Criminal Records Review Act).
  • Immunization report (form provided by the College).
  • Complete ‘Student Declaration – Social Services Worker Programs’ form (provided by the College).

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.
SSW199 - Practicum
This practicum will place students in actual workplaces related to their field of study where they are expected to act as a regular employee for the set time periods in order to gain the valuable real-world experience, often sought by employers who are hiring. Students are encouraged to find their own work experience; however, once placed, continuation in the placement is a mandatory diploma requirement. This practicum is an unpaid work experience.
SSW114O - Professional Development
During this module, students earn their certification in First Aid/CPR, ASIST suicide prevention training, and Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (NVCI). Students also learn WHMIS, FoodSafe ®, and Medication Administration for Support Workers.
SSW112O - Community Resources and Networking
This course is designed to give students some hands-on experience with networking and with assessing and improving their job readiness skills. It is also intended to educate students about the local community agencies and organization (who they serve, what they do, how clients access the services, etc.). This course is not designed to empower students for career readiness. In other words, instructors should not be developing opportunities for students; rather, instructors should be coaching, training, and motivating students to learn how to develop opportunities on their own.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SSW107O - Fundamentals of Addiction
This course is designed to provide students with basic information regarding common drugs and processes of abuse. Furthermore, it's designed to give students some hands-on tools for analyzing addiction as a complex bio-psychosocial model. Included in this course is the etiology of addiction, maintenance and relapse prevention, cross cultural counseling, gender-specific addictions, the psychological models used in addiction, and working on a multidisciplinary addictions treatment team.
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.
SSW1054 - Psychology
This course is designed to give students an overview of several fundamental concepts in psychology. The purpose is to give students the knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts that can be applied to their chosen field of study. This course provides an introduction to the principals of psychology including human development, motivation, social psychology related topics relevant to community service work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ITC4 - Introduction to Computers
This course is a broad-based introduction to using a personal computer. It teaches the fundamentals of an operating system and the most popular application software including word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. You will also learn about the Internet, Web browsers, electronic mail and antivirus software. The course is based on the Windows 7 operating system, Microsoft office 2013 and a variety of popular software programs for the Internet-related and security-related applications