Becoming a Child/Youth Worker in Ottawa After CSW Training

Updated December 2022

Working with disadvantaged and endangered children is truly a special calling. At-risk youth are one of the most vulnerable populations in our society.

Children facing trauma and crisis require skilled advocates—professionals who are trained to offer protection, support, and services that are specially designed to protect their safety, and create long-term solutions for health and wellbeing.

Interested in becoming a child and youth worker in Ottawa? Are you considering Community Services Worker (CSW) training to specialize in this branch of social services?

Take a few moments to explore exactly what a child/youth worker is, the responsibilities you'd have in this role, and the skills and training you'll need to get started.

By the end of this post, you'll have a clearer idea of whether this career is right for you, and which steps to take next.


What Exactly is a Child/Youth Worker?

Child and youth workers provide special assistance to kids and teens who are going through difficult situations. These challenges may include everything from bullying, academic, and social problems, to domestic abuse, mental illness, and addiction.

At its core, the role of the child/youth worker is to protect the safety and well-being of the children they serve.

They assess where help is needed, coordinate the appropriate program or service, and follow up on progress, offering emotional support and assistance whenever it's needed.

Whether the child needs protective housing and foster care or counselling and treatment for a mental health issue—the child/youth worker helps to organize and deliver those services.


Responsibilities for Child/Youth Workers

How exactly do youth workers help at-risk children? There are a wide range of techniques, services, and support systems they offer, depending on the situation and the unique needs of each child.

These are all skills taught in community services worker training, including:

  • Crisis intervention
  • Interviewing children and teens to conduct assessments and identify problem areas
  • Developing and carrying out personalized interventions and treatment plans
  • Providing individual counselling
  • Conducting group therapy sessions
  • Participating in family meetings
  • Coordinating with colleagues, health care providers, and legal professionals as needed
  • Providing ongoing monitoring of children's safety, well-being, and progress through therapy/treatment programs
  • Performing clear, accurate charting of each child's mental status and behaviour


Key Skills for Child/Youth Workers

If you're planning to become a child and youth worker after CSW training, consider the special skills and natural characteristics needed to excel in this role. Those key skills include:

  • A non-judgmental, compassionate attitude
  • Being passionate about advocating for, and protecting, children and youth in your community
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • The ability to build trust and rapport with children
  • Keen attention to detail and excellent observation skills
  • The ability to work with a team
  • The ability to stay calm and focused in stressful or volatile situations

Jobs in child/youth work require a Community Services Worker diploma or similar kind of post-secondary training.

Many positions ask for first aid and CPR certificates as well, which should be included in your CSW training.


Where are Child/Youth Workers Employed?

Child and youth workers find employment in a number of settings. You will find opportunities in hospitals, family resource centres, mental health centres, and youth services organizations throughout Ottawa. 

The Government of Canada Job Bank shows good demand for child/youth workers in the Ottawa area. The latest report gives youth worker four out of five stars for employment opportunities, citing "employment growth will lead to several new positions."

With high-quality Community Services Worker training and a strong commitment to child welfare, graduates can expect healthy demand for their services throughout the entire province of Ontario.


Getting started with Community Services Worker Training

If you're passionate about helping at-risk youth and live in the Ottawa area, what next steps should you consider to launch your career as a child/youth worker?

Your first step is to research quality Community Services Worker programs near you. We strongly recommend speaking with admissions to narrow down which school and program is right for you.

At Herzing, we conduct personal interviews with candidates to ensure they're truly suited for CSW training before they enrol. We also offer campus tours, a no-risk trial of the CSW program, and several other resources for creating a personalized study plan and organizing financial aid.

Chat live with an admissions advisor right now. Or click below to explore the CSW program in greater detail. We're here to help!

Explore the Community Services Worker Program


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