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Child and Youth Care

Available as an advanced diploma in five semesters

This is a new and unique five-semester advanced diploma program.

Child and youth care practitioners offer life-changing support to vulnerable children and youth. Prepare for a rewarding career helping young people by engaging with them in their everyday lives, building on their strengths, and empowering them to make positive changes. As a child and youth care practitioner, you have the opportunity to help youth find their own voice and make a profound difference in their lives.


  • Credential
    • Ontario College Advanced Diploma (CYAS)

  • Start Date

    September entry

  • Location
    • Belleville campus

Find your career

Child and youth care practitioners work front-line with children, youth and their families as part of a multi-disciplinary teams.

Settings include:

  • School-based programs
  • Child welfare and protection
  • Group homes and residential treatment facilities
  • Community mental health and children’s mental health programs
  • Youth outreach centres
  • Community-based child and youth development programs
  • Home-based care and treatment
  • Parent education and family support
  • Hospital-based services
  • Youth justice programs
  • Private practice

Our grads get great jobs

  • Child and Youth Worker, Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board

  • Enhanced Support Worker, Military Family Resource Centre

  • Program Manager, Applewood Academy

  • Child and Youth Service Worker, Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child & Family Services Agency

  • Direct Support Professional, Community Living

  • Professor of Child and Youth Care, St. Clair College

  • Manager, Children’s Mental Health Services, Belleville

  • Enhanced Support Worker, Abigail’s Learning Centre

  • Child and Youth Counsellor II, Lutherwood Children’s Mental Health

  • Child and Youth Worker, Children’s Mental Health, Belleville

  • Program Manager, Boys and Girls Club

Is it for you?

Child and Youth Care Practitioners support people to live their best lives. To do this, they need:

  • Empathy and good people skills
  • The ability to be open minded, accepting and non-judgmental
  • A strong desire to help others
  • A willingness to learn

What employers say:

"Strong relationship building skills. Excellent flexibility in thinking. A commitment to the profession. This is what we have seen in the Loyalist CYC grads that we have hired."
-Jeffrey J. Waplak, MA, RP, Clinical Director

“Our relationship with the Child and Youth Care program at Loyalist College has become integral to our organization's recruitment strategy. Loyalist graduates are exceptionally well prepared for a career in working with this province’s most challenging and vulnerable children and youth.”
-Todd Powell, Director of Residential Services
Bayfield Treatment Centres

"We hire Child and Youth Care Loyalist graduates and value their work ethic, professionalism and knowledge base. We are an organization that supports diversity in many ways and having a complement of staff with a diverse skill set enhances our mandate to offer people the best quality of services."
-Sharon Wright, Manager of Community Development and Volunteer Services
Community Living Belleville and Area

This program is delivered in five semesters, including a final block placement. It is completed in an accelerated program structure, allowing students to graduate with an Ontario College Advanced Diploma in less than two calendar years.

Experiential learning

  • Participate in engaging and relevant learning experiences that prepare you for the child and youth care field. Develop the required knowledge, a rich skillset, and a strong sense of self through learning in both classroom and practicum settings.
  • Caring faculty guide learners in developing relational skills and a deep understanding of the wide variety of issues that young people face today.
  • Explore the impact of mental health issues, trauma and loss, abuse, violence and poverty on children, youth, and families and learn how to provide inclusive, non-judgmental support to young people from varied backgrounds.
  • Loyalist graduates are eligible for professional certification with the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care.
  • Learners connect with the local community through practicum experiences, field trips, and class guests sharing professional knowledge and lived experiences.
  • Enjoy the benefits of small class sizes and a low student-to-teacher ratio which allows for discussion-based and active learning opportunities.
  • Portfolio development offers students one-on-one time with faculty who guide them in setting and achieving their educational goals.
  • Personalized guidance from the CYC Practicum Coordinator assists in finding practicum opportunities based on each learner's career aspirations.
  • During their time in the program, students can earn industry-valued certifications to add to their professional portfolios, including Triple P Parenting, Living Works START suicide prevention, and DLE (Daily Life Events).
  • Authentic learning opportunities and practical workplace experience build confidence in our students and strengthen community partnerships. Students have completed practicums in elementary and secondary schools, specialized classrooms, Bayfield Treatment Centres, Quinte Children’s Homes, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Quinte West Youth Centre, and Children's Mental Health, among other organizations.

Outstanding faculty make the difference

  • Faculty with a depth of knowledge in the field share their insights based on current evidence-based practices 
  • Professors have worked extensively in individual, group and family counselling, crisis intervention, inpatient mental health programs, restorative practices, alternative education, behavioural therapy for children and youth, critical incident impact assessment, and evidence-based interventions concerning sexually aggressive behaviour.
  • Learn from teachers’ personal experiences working in mental health and educational settings; correctional and residential treatment facilities; the Children’s Aid Society; Hospital for Sick Children, international experiences; and ongoing private practice
  • Highly qualified faculty have experience providing clinical supervision for front-line Child and Youth Care Practitioners. They possess industry certifications including Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Instructor; Trauma and Loss School Specialist; Restorative Practices Trainer; Personality Dimensions; Intercultural Communication, Daily Life Events (DLE) Trainer, Certified Trauma and Resilience Practitioner, and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training
  • Community partnerships support our faculty in facilitating authentic learning opportunities, fostering academic goals and career planning

Peer Mentors

Peer Mentors Child and Youth Care

Loyalist CYC recognizes the importance of feeling like you belong and that you can easily access supports when needed. Faculty work hard to help learners feel connected and cared for. Another layer of support comes from our unique CYC-specific Peer Mentor program. Select Year 2 CYC’s act as Peer Mentors to help us welcome incoming students and provide encouragement and support throughout their first year. Peer Mentors help incoming students to feel comfortable in their new learning environment and share advice based on their own experiences in the program. Peer Mentors are another essential support to help us build a strong and welcoming CYC community.

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