Child and Youth Care Counsellor

Child and Youth Care Counsellor


Assist in the healthy development of vulnerable children, youth and families by becoming a positive role model who makes a difference in the lives of children, youth and families. Working with people can be demanding, but you will experience job satisfaction and the rewards are significant. Opportunities for employment include school programs, group homes, treatment centres and community programs.

To become a child and youth care counsellor, you need to be ethical and emotionally strong. The children, youth and families you will work with may have suffered physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect, and/or family breakdown. Some may also have behavioural or learning difficulties and mental health concerns that require your knowledge, skill and support.

Practical experienceThroughout the four-year program, experiential learning components in and outside the classroom allow you to put theory into practice and gain the valuable skills that will support you in your career. Community-based practicums help synthesize your learning and prepare you for the workforce, or graduate and professional studies.

CertificationThe Bachelor of Child Studies — Child and Youth Care Counsellor major prepares graduates to meet professional certification requirements through the Child and Youth Care Association of Alberta until such time as proclamation occurs and Child and Youth Care Counsellors are entered into the Health Professions Act, at which point Child and Youth Care will be a regulated profession.

The certification/licensing process is rigorous in relation to the strict practice and supervision hours, with an educational component, which is reflective of the complex nature of the work undertaken by the child and youth care counsellor.

You will gain knowledge and practical experience in a variety of areas, including:

  • counselling
  • psychology
  • child and youth development
  • intervention and assessment
  • treatment strategies

The Bachelor of Child Studies — Child and Youth Care Counsellor major equip students with foundational knowledge by building upon the curriculum and courses previously offered in the Child and Youth Care Counsellor Diploma program. The four-year degree gives students the option to add a minor to complement their major with a balance of general education courses and work experience components. Your job title could be:

  • child and youth care counsellor — provide counselling and planning activities for children, youth and families in a variety of places including shelters, community centres, group homes, treatment centres and schools.
  • family support worker — help families in need get back on track by supporting them through counselling and supportive interventions.
  • team leader/supervisor — provide leadership to frontline practitioners and develop programs to support them in having a positive impact on children, youth and families.

Research opportunitiesStudents are encouraged to participate in research in this growing field. Current faculty research topics include: