Nurturing a young life and helping a child to grow is one of the most rewarding acts of humanity. Child and Youth Care Workers perform these acts every day, providing help, counseling and support to youth and their families who are facing difficult situations. The work they do providing support to youth is essential for healthy emotional and behavioural growth and is a fundamental part of positive mental wellbeing. Child and Youth Care Workers play a crucial role not only for the youth and families they support, but for our society as well.
“We support children, youth and families who have social, emotional or behavioural challenges or challenges within their family,” said Julie Scheffel, program coordinator for the Child and Youth Care program at Mohawk College. “Our program focuses on teaching students therapeutic skill based on relational practice, so the ability to build relationship as the foundation for supporting people that need support.”
While the goal of the Child and Youth Care program (CYC) is to teach students how to best support and care for youth, Julie has another goal: supporting students and their growth the best she can. To that end, the Child and Youth Care program at Mohawk College has recently partnered with the Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Studies program at Brock University to provide graduates of the Mohawk College program with a transfer pathway for further education.
"We recently received the great news confirming the transfer pathway to Brock and we are very excited about it," said Julie. "Once a student completes our program, they're awarded eight credits to the three-year Child and Youth Studies program, so what's left is about two and a half years of that degree program. So, you can complete our diploma, complete their degree program, and get the best of both worlds in terms of post-secondary learning."
Julie continued, “The combination of diploma and degree is just fantastic in terms of readiness and being prepared to enter the field.”
Having options to choose from after graduation is something that Khaini Srikanthan, a student in the Child and Youth Care program, deeply appreciates. “The options available to CYC graduates are a lot of different pathways in various workplaces and opportunities. In this program, with further education you can work in a hospital, in schools, and group homes,” she said.
Making sure students are prepared to enter the field is important to the CYC faculty team, and the amount of hands-on learning opportunities available in the program reflects this ideal.
“We feel very strongly that through the combination of our academic in-class pieces, our experiential learning, and our focus on working with projects in the community, we give students a sound and realistic experience in our program that prepares them for when they enter the field. Students get a lot of field experience as well,” said Julie.
Students in the Child and Youth Care program receive an abundance of experience working in the field before graduating. “We have over 1,000 hours of field placement experience, students go out to field placements in semesters two, five and six,” said Julie. “In semester five they’re out for 32 hours a week, it’s basically a full-time placement experience, and in semester six they’re out 36 hours a week.”
“These placements are unpaid, but we encourage and prepare students to treat it as a four-month job interview,” she continued. “Our employment rate is high. Typically, supervisors of our placements want to keep them within their agencies, and that’s our goal, we want them to be sad when our student leaves so they’re more inclined to hire students back on when they’ve completed their education.”
To make sure students placements are effective and educational, they’re placed where they’ll work directly with youth every day. “Our students have placements where kids are,” emphasized Julie. “Students can be placed in a school environment in a kindergarten or specialized classroom. They could be placed in a community centre, such as a Boys and Girls Club, or an out of home care setting such as a group home or shelter. We have students placed in hospitals. If you can think of where kids are, that’s where we try to place our students.”
Khaini has spent time working in one of the placement positions she must complete as a student, and she has loved her experience so far. “I’m working with a class of grade four and five students,” she said. “I’m excited to work with this age group, and I’m excited about the experience I’m going to gain while working with these youth.”
The programs dedication to experiential learning continues even in the classroom. “In terms of in-class, our focus is on hands-on learning,” said Julie. “We focus on experiential, hands-on learning that allows students to apply theory and course content to practice. We've recently incorporated interactive virtual simulations in a lot of our courses as well."
The Mohawk College Fennell campus is well-equipped to help students make the most of their hands-on learning opportunities. “We use resources that are within the college to engage in practicing CYC specific skills,” said Julie. “There’s what’s called a tactical house in the college, which looks like an apartment and is set up to represent what’s considered an out-of-home care setting, where a youth might be removed from their home and placed in more of a residential setting. We try to replicate as much as we can using hands-on learning what they may experience in the field.”
“We work hard to get to know our students so students can get an idea of where they like to be placed. We combine that with what we know about the student, and we try to place them accordingly to enhance their success and according to their goal areas and where they want to end up,” said Julie.
Building up students and providing them with the tools needed to support youth is Julie’s goal. She believes the pathway to Brock is an excellent option for students to further expand their toolbelt, and one they can take advantage of painlessly through the seamless pathway transfer system.
“One big benefit to this pathway is ease of transition. This pathway very clearly lays out which eight credits students get credit for, and what’s remaining to complete in the program,” she said. “This is a really clear, well mapped out option, which helps when you’re ready to graduate and trying to figure out what your next step should be.”
Khaini recommends anyone who is interested in working with kids or helping others to consider the Child and Youth care program. “Child and youth care is not a common job, but it’s a job that regularly impacts lives,” she said. “We can assist youth in different skill-building activities, talk to them about behavioural problems, and help make their learning process a little bit easier. When you get into this field and see the difference you’ve made in a youth’s life, it definitely feels rewarding.”
Join us on campus at Mohawk’s in-person Open House Events
Join us from Tuesday, March 28 to Wednesday, April 5 at our in-person Open House Events. Come and explore our campuses, meet with faculty and staff and learn about the many student services and supports available to Mohawk students to help you succeed. Register for Open House today.
A Mohawk College Credential gives you options.
Graduates of the Child and Youth Care (Advanced Diploma) with a weighted grade point average (GPA) of 72% are eligible to apply for the Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Studies degree program at Brock University. Eligible graduates will receive a maximum of 8.0 credits (approximately 1.6 years) towards the Bachelor of Arts – Child and Youth Studies program.
Questions about this and other pathways?
Explore all our transfer agreements with other colleges and universities on the Pathways beyond Mohawk page. Do you have questions about specific pathways? We're here to help! Connect with a Transfer Advisor.
Looking for help applying to a Mohawk College program?
We're here to help you research various education pathways at Mohawk College. Contact us to take advantage of resources and one-on-one support.