What Does a Child and Youth Worker Do?

Child and Youth Workers (620A) work to improve the physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of troubled children and adolescents. 

Job Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • Consulting with health and social agencies, physicians, dietitians, family in regard to mental, physical & emotional health, nutrition or medication
  • Building relationships with children and/or adolescents in order to support them build self-esteem and work towards improving behaviour
  • Gaining a thorough working knowledge of relevant Acts and codes, such as the Child and Family Services Act, Young Offenders Act, Criminal Code, Canada Food Guide etc.
  • Communicating with children, adolescents, families and co-workers; collecting, analyzing and presenting verbal and written information appropriately
  • Acquiring good knowledge of community resources and cultivating community relations
  • Implementing strategies such as planned daily activities, coordinated treatment interventions, organized recreational and social activities
  • Helping develop and maintain individual and group treatment programs

Additional information on training standards for this particular trades in the Service sector may be found on the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website at: http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/wp-content/uploads/Child-and-Youth-Worker-620A-EN-TS4.pdf

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

You will need to complete high school, preferably with senior credits in English/Communications; coop experience in a social services setting or volunteer work with youth would be an asset prior to completion of  an apprenticeship composed of 5280 hours of on-the-job training, as well as 960 hours of in-school training. This is the minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the (OCTAA) Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades.

What’s Your Future as a Child and Youth Worker?

Most Child & Youth Workers are employed wherever troubled children or teenagers are housed - be it a government facility or private home, emergency shelter, treatment centre - wherever community treatment centres are located. They may actually live in the facility or divide their time between an office, residential facility and field visits with clients. Some will work shifts, in a job that can be physically and mentally challenging. Experienced Child & Youth Workers may advance to supervisory or management positions. With additional education they may go on to become a Social Worker, Psychologist, or Marriage and Family Counselor. Most are employed by:

  • Provincial government departments
  • School Boards
  • Private agencies (treatment centres, group homes etc.)
  • Community Youth programs

Wage Rate

  • Apprentices generally earn less than fully qualified Journeypeople
  • Wages increase as your ability and productivity increase
  • Fully qualified Child & Youth Workers earn from $24,000 - $36,000 per year


Ask Yourself: Is Working as Child & Youth Worker for You?

Are you willing to work days, evenings, nights, and even seven days a week?

Yes      No

Do you have excellent communication skills, good problem solving skills and the ability to make decisions quickly?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy working in a team environment with children, families and other social service personnel?

Yes      No

Do you have the maturity and desire to engage in constructive but intense relationships with young people?

Yes      No

Are you creative and flexible enough to come up with new methods of treatment?

Yes      No

Are you reliable and consistent in your own work habits?

Yes      No

Would you be able to pass a police reference check?

Yes      No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, a career as a Child & Youth Worker May be for You!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Early Childhood Educator
  • Teacher Assistant
  • Psychologist
  • Social Worker
  • Rehabilitation Specialist


Wildcard SSL Certificates