About the OACYC

About Board of Directors Committees of the Board History



The Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care (OACYC) is the professional association representing Child and Youth Care Practitioners (CYCP) in the province of Ontario, Canada.

Over the past 50 years, the practice of Child and Youth Care in Ontario has expanded its professional competencies and strengthened its skills and is now considered the gold standard for working with the very special needs of children and youth. Child and Youth Care Practitioners are found in such professions as early care and education, community-based child and youth development programs, parent education and family support, school-based programs, community mental health, group homes, residential centres, rehabilitation programs, paediatric health care and youth justice programs.

The OACYC provides professional standards, regulations, support, and a Code of Ethics to its members thus ensuring integrity, accountability, and excellence.  The major difference between OACYC members and other CYCPs is one of professional and public concern that the children, youth, and families in Ontario are safe and cared for at the highest standard.

All professional OACYC members have:

  • Proven their initial educational/training qualifications to an external body
  • Are required to stay current in the field therefore Membership is conditional on the completion of annual professional development activities
  • Provide their signature of agreement to abide by the OACYC Code of Ethics
  • Are accountable to the OACYC Code of Ethics. The OACYC has a Complaints and Discipline process available to members and the public
  • Have access to the professional resources of the OACYC, including a network of over 1,000 practitioners in Ontario and beyond
  • Are dedicated to providing excellent care for children, youth, and families

The OACYC provides current professional development opportunities through conferences, resources, networking, and peer recognition to promote the improvement of professional knowledge and skills. We also distribute a members-only newsletter that identifies trends in the field, seminars and resources to keep members current in the profession. We encourage interested parties – both practitioners and supporting organizations – to join today in support of our mission.


We believe that all children, youth and families, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexuality, ability, trauma, oppression, or socio-economic status deserve and have the right to reach their full potential. We stand in solidarity with those with whom we work and their communities to support personal growth and social change. We believe in the transformational nature of utilizing daily life events to build genuine, respectful and caring relationships with young people and caregivers through which we are able to nurture strengths, abilities and foster overall change.


The OACYC is dedicated to addressing and seeking solutions for concerns regarding inequity and exclusion that are a result of the history and legacy of colonization, anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Black racism, ableism, and all other forms of oppression.

The OACYC’s Equity and Inclusion Committee (EIC) comprises OACYC members and non-members who strive to engage communities in meaningful dialogue encompassing anti-oppressive practices and cultural awareness, while addressing physical, attitudinal and communication barriers.

To this end the OACYC will:

  • provide members with resources that support increased engagement with inclusive and equitable practices, and we will work to engage members and future members who belong to communities that have experienced marginalization and oppression.
  • work to ensure that all Association activities, resources, and policies are inclusive and accessible by actively seeking out perspectives that have historically been excluded from our field and from this Association.

We acknowledge that OACYC practices are inheritors of this history and we strive to become more intentional and reflective in relation to current practices. This work can only be successfully undertaken with the full participation of Child and Youth Care Practitioners across the country and worldwide.


The information here is adapted from the work of Martha A. Mattingly, Program in Child Development & Child Care, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15260, USA, Fax (412) 624-6361, e-mail: mattgly+@pitt.edu.:

Professional Child and Youth Care Practice focuses on infants, children, and adolescents, including those with special needs, within the context of the family, the community, and the life span. The developmental-ecological perspective emphasizes the interaction between persons and their physical and social environments, including cultural and political settings.

Professional practitioners promote the optimal development of children, youth, and their families in a variety of settings, such as early care and education, community-based child and youth development programs, parent education and family support, school-based programs, community mental health, group homes, residential centres, day and residential treatment, early intervention, home-based care and treatment, psychiatric centres, rehabilitation programs, paediatric health care, and juvenile justice programs.

Child and youth care practice includes assessing client and program needs, designing and implementing programs and planned environments, integrating developmental, preventive, and therapeutic requirements into the life space, contributing to the development of knowledge and practice, and participating in systems interventions through direct care, supervision, administration, teaching, research, consultation, and advocacy.


The OACYC is governed by a volunteer board of directors which are appointed by the OACYC membership at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for a term of one year.  Each year, the board will be appointed to govern until the following AGM. Generally, board members make a minimum two-year commitment to the board.

Interested in joining the Board of Directors or one of our Committees?

Please check out the information below and contact office@oacyc.org for more details!

Call for Directors Poster

OACYC Committees Descriptions

For a readable document version of these graphics, please click here.






The professional association of Child Care Workers was incorporated on August 1, 1969, as the Child Care Workers Association of Ontario (CCWAO). With the development of standardized training programs in community colleges, degree programs, a professional journal, and provincial and national conferences, the profession expanded rapidly throughout Ontario. The role of the CYC also expanded well beyond the traditional residential worker in psychiatric facilities for children and adolescents. With these new roles and status came a new name the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Counsellors and the OACYC was officially born.

Key Highlights

January 1, 1970

Ontario’s first Child and Youth Care Association launched under the name Thistletown Association of Child Care Workers in Rexdale, Ontario.

January 1, 1980

Criteria and accreditation standards are established to become a full member in the CCWAO.

January 1, 1990

The Association adopts a standardized Code of Ethics.

January 1, 2000

Membership in OACYC passes the 2,000 mark.

January 1, 2005

A new and revised Code of Ethics is put into effect.

January 1, 2010

The CCWAO formally changes its name to the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care

January 1, 2017

A formal request for regulation of the Child and Youth Care profession is delivered to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

Click here to see the full historical timeline of the OACYC.