Professional Advocacy & Legislation

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The Legislation Committee is releasing its first one-pager titled “Regulatory College vs Professional Association. 

If you would like to join the Legislation Committee please email: legislation@oacyc.org

For the PDF Download of this one-pager, please click here.

An important step towards regulation is your voice!

Current CYCPs and CYCP students, please sign our petition here! Petition For CYCs
CYCP supporters, please sign the petition here! Petition For Residents

Join our ongoing campaign for regulation of CYC practice in Ontario!

As an organization dedicated to the care of the young, one of our top priorities has been to establish regulation of our profession. Currently, we are unregulated and anyone can call themselves a Child and Youth Care Practitioner, which is concerning as the children and youth whom we aim to support are put at risk if caregivers are insufficiently trained and monitored. Over the past few years, we have taken numerous steps to ensure a standardized set of competencies and qualitative standards are in place for all professional Child and Youth Care Practitioners.

As we seek to obtain regulation for our profession, the OACYC has:

  1. Adopted a professional child and youth care certification standard as a means of assessing competency. We feel this is foundational in ensuring that all practitioners have the necessary skill set to deal competently with children and youth.
  2. Drafted a Proposal requesting government recognition as a regulated profession in the Province of Ontario.
  3. Developed and obtained signed petitions from citizens of Ontario who are in support of regulating the child and youth care profession.
  4. Collected dozens of letters of support from across the province in favour of legislation.
  5. Requested all concerned practitioners and general public to continue building momentum to encourage the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to draft regulation.

Over the last two years, the OACYC has made the move towards legislated recognition a priority. To that end, we have reached out and consulted with provincial politicians, the office of the provincial advocate for children and youth and other stakeholders.  We have also consulted with the Child and Youth Care Association in Alberta, which has been working on this process for a couple of years.

As you are aware, Child and Youth Care Practitioners (Child and Youth Workers, Child Care Workers, Child and Youth Counsellors) provide front line supports to the most vulnerable children and youth, parents, and partners within residential treatment facilities, schools, and their communities.

Child and Youth Care Practitioners offer support in the life space and across sectors through:

  • therapeutic relationships
  • evidence based practice
  • life space interventions
  • social and life skill development
  • problem solving methods
  • restorative practices
  • crisis management

The OACYC has adopted a professional Certification program (CYCCB) to ensure a standardized set of competencies and qualitative standards. This, we identify as a necessary step towards becoming a regulated profession.

Presently our profession remains unregulated; as such, we are concerned that the very children and youth whom we aim to support are put at risk. As an unregulated profession, anyone can call themselves a Child and Youth Care Practitioner or Child and Youth Worker regardless of their training, skill set and experience – and be hired to work with vulnerable children and youth. Early Childhood Educators, Nurses and Social Workers are regulated to ensure that only trained professionals are able to provide services under these titles and that those who receive services are protected.  We would not want an unregulated Nurse tending to our medical care or a Social Worker without adequate education providing counselling. Regulation in Child and Youth Care is just as important. Without regulation, the future of our profession is in jeopardy. Our ability to aid in the therapeutic care of our provinces most vulnerable children and youth is compromised.

Please click here to read about The Proposal, to download and sign The Petition, to read more about Letters of Support and to find out how you can Get Involved!

Some of you have contacted us from across the province with questions and concerns about the role of CYW/CYCPs in the education sector. We wanted to share with you the communication we have provided to the Boards of Education in Ontario and the Ministry of Education, advocating the importance and increasing need for CYW/CYCPs especially given the current climate with COVID-19 and the anticipated challenges of reopening schools in the fall.

We have taken this opportunity to share with them details and information about our ethical standards of practice, scope of practice and professional development requirements (see links below).

We recognize that at the direction of the Ministry of Education, the Boards of Education in Ontario are adjusting their abilities to effectively support children, youth and families due to COVID-19 and we want to highlight the important role that Child and Youth Care Practitioners play within the education and mental health promotion of young people. To assist with meeting the needs of young people and school communities, and with the anticipation of reopening of schools in the fall, we have attached an information sheet that highlights important details about current roles and scope of practice of Child and Youth Care Practitioners within the education sector.

Please see the attachment here. The OACYC recognizes that many CYW/CYCPs are current members of the OACYC and we encourage all practicing CYW/CYCPs in the education sector to register and maintain membership; ensuring they are accountable to the code of ethics and to continue professional development that assists them in remaining current in the field.

The OACYC is very interested to be included in any conversations, policy development work and any other activities that include enhancing services associated with supporting children, youth and families. If we can assist within your board/workplace, please let us know by emailing office@oacyc.org

Scope of Practice: CYC Scope of Practice
Ethical Standards: CYCP Code of Ethics
Professional Development:OACYC Professional Development Guidelines

Sincerely,

Mardi Ennis-Gregory
Board President

The OACYC recognizes the challenges that Child and Youth Care Diploma and Degree programs are facing, especially in relation to student placements for the summer, fall and potentially winter semesters.  We understand that student placements are an integral part of Child and Youth Care programs and that the ability to learn and apply theory to practice is a pivotal component of their education.  We also recognize that organizations, agencies and community programs both support and rely on student placements to meet the needs of the young people, families and communities we support.

COVID-19 has left us all with uncertainty about the immediate future. Globally, we are all scrambling to problem solve and ensure we can maintain routine in the face of all of this, where we are able.  Given that academic institutions are currently discussing student placements for the upcoming academic year, the OACYC encourages faculty and administrations to consider the following recommendations:

  1. It is important to follow the Government of Ontario’s guidelines on COVID-19 in regards to essential workers and individuals working with high risk populations especially in any care-related facility or agency. Please check regularly with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities on their guidelines about student practicums as well as Public Health information .

  2. Medical forms and Police Checks must be completed prior to placements.  This protects both the young people, families and communities we support, as well as the student, themselves. We understand that obtaining a medical certificate and Vulnerable Sector Search may pose challenges in some geographical locations, however, we must continue to adhere to the Ministry of Colleges and University guidelines as well as the associated Ministry requirements of the specific placement setting  (i.e., MCCSS and Group Care/Treatment) .

  3. Institutions are required to acknowledge and address liability concerns, ensuring protection of all students and staff at all costs. The OACYC strongly recommends, alongside adherence to the provincial government and public health requirements for essential and nonessential workers, that any student scheduled for placement or practicum only begin their in-person learning experience after all medical screenings and files/paperwork have been completed. We believe that not doing so, even by a day, could pose an unnecessary risk to the students, the staff and vulnerable persons in the placement setting.

  4. Consider providing education related to proper use of Personal Protective Equipment and methods of adhering to physical distancing practices, both personally and professionally among students and staff of all settings that the placement students may come into contact with.

  5. In the event that placements are deemed in compliance with Public Health Guidelines and are able to facilitate in-person placement opportunities, institutions are advised to have a planned response in case of potential outbreak at a placement and share this plan with students and placement supervisors.

  6. The OACYC recognizes the benefits of regular opportunities for supervision (both formal and informal). Programs are encouraged to follow their usual supervision requirements and consider how this may occur in virtual spaces.

  7. Investigate and research alternative methods to carrying out practicums (i.e. community projects, presentations, online activities, virtual interventions, supports, etc.).

  8. Recommend additional training in Telepractice, virtual engagement and intervention, perhaps citing CYC literature on online relational practice and therapeutic intervention, including individual and group modalities.

  9. Students have a right to refuse unsafe work conditions. Ensure a process regarding how to identify, address and respond to any concerns that may arise during placements is clearly articulated to students, faculty and placement sites.

We are hopeful that students will be able to access valuable and safe opportunities soon and recognize that there have been losses for many due to the current pandemic. The OACYC is committed to the continued enhancement and advancement of Child and Youth Care in Ontario. The Association encourages all institutions, organizations, and practitioners to mindfully consider these recommendations. Student Placements are the nucleus of Child and Youth Care education. The Association is committed to protecting and advocating for the preservation of this high quality educational component.

You can download a PDF version of this letter here.

Thank you for your consideration,
Board of Directors,

Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care
c/o The School of Child and Youth Care
Ryerson University
350 Victoria Street
Toronto, ON M5B 2K3
Tel: 416-621-4340
Web: www.oacyc.org