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Maine Association of Group Care Providers Professional Development

Proposed Model: Dimensions of Certification and Professional Recognition of Child and Youth Care Practitioners

Child and Youth Care Practice: A model for the academic preparation, credentialing and professional recognition of the Youth CareWorker

Professional Development Committee
April, 2002



The Maine Association of Group Care Providers, in conjunction with the University of Maine Augusta (UMA) is proud to have developed a proposal for the academic and professional preparation for people entering, or currently working in the field of Child and Youth Care Practice. The accompanying curriculum was developed to prepare the Child and Youth Care Worker with a broad-based foundation of academic coursework.

It is designed to address the professional preparation needs of the Child and Youth Care Practitioner in residential treatment facilities, group homes, juvenile corrections, neighborhood centers, foster Care, early childhood education, hospitals, shelters, community outreach services and other services that target youth. These practititioners have much in common. They are expected to provide:
  • On-the-spot, hour-to-hour physical and emotional care, safety, education and development of children and youth

  • Nurturing, management and guidance to children or youth, healthy or disabled

  • Work with child serving organizations, public or private, day or residential

  • For the teaching of social, life, and leisure skills in addition to the values, norms and ethics of society as well as the organization for which they work.

  • Are held accountability for their decisions and expected behavior in the execution of their job responsibilities.

  • For the discharge of their job responsibilities in a consistent and professional manner, maintain high standards of appropriate boundaries while building healthy relationships.

  • Be aware of, and execute job responsibilities within all rules/policies of the employer and those of regulatory and accrediting agencies.
This Certificate Program is intended to be the "jumping-off" point for a statewide Child and Youth Care Certification model. The MAGCP would set up a mechanism for the certification process. A 1999 Youth Care Worker survey indicated results that strongly suggested an interest and need to raise the professional recognition in this field. High staff turnover was due to low pay and lack of recognition. The professional development committee has researched models of other professions. We have attempted to replicate, or borrow certain components of these mechanisms when appropriate.

Also, in the fall of 1999, the MAGCP joined the Association of Child and Youth Care Practice (ACYCP.) This is a national organization committed to providing a national presence for the Practitioner as well as developing standards of practice, a Code of Ethics, research, competencies, professional recognition and a national certification program. They work within a variety of states that have started down the path of developing professional preparation and certification programs. All of the initiatives of the MAGCP professional development committee have been consistent with the goals of the ACYCP.

April, 2002 Update

  1. The MAGCP has integrated the Core Competencies of the North American Certification Project into both the 30-credit certificate program at the University of Maine as well its annual training program.

  2. The role of the state is critical. While no state endorsement has been made, MAGCP continues to educate and advocate around this initiative. A consistent, a broad base of support, a commonly recognized curriculum and standards of practice among youth care workers can only enhance services to children and youth. In turn, a professional identity is developed for the practitioner who can then take pride in the value of their work and commitment to the profession.

  3. Within the last three months, the Professional Development committee has recently presented to other youth serving agency associations within the state. The goal being to bring all the agencies and associations to the table to learn about the MAFGCP certification initiative, and to determine if those agencies would be willing to further explore the possible relevancy/interest of this to their own workforce issues of training and professional development.

  4. The University of Maine's 30-credit Child and Youth Care Practice Certificate Program is firmly established. Its broad-based, multi-disciplinary curriculum reflects an understanding the Child and Youth Care Practice is a profession that draws on the strengths and insights that other disciplines have to offer disciplines. In doing so, the many and varied understandings of the human condition can be synthesized into a platform for the Youth Care Practitioner. The academic program provides both the foundation for work in human service, with a focus on child and adolescent development and the many challenges faced by families and youth in today's society.

  5. The MAGCP still provides for the development and coordination of training initiatives. The NACP Core Competencies provide the orientation and direction of the training program. As the UMA curriculum could be thought of as providing a theoretical foundation in Youth Care Practice, the MAGCP training content focuses on the more practical "hands-on" training needs. The "how tos", if you will. The Core Competencies are: Professionalism, Cultural and Human Diversity, Applied Human Development, Relationship and Communication, and Developmental Practice Methods (ACYCP, NACP, 2002)

  6. The Professional Development committee will be hosting its third Annual Child and Youth Care Conference this year in Portland, Maine on May 9th. Expected attendance is 200 participants.

The Model (Diagram)

Diagram Image

Univ. of Maine at Augusta
Child and Youth Care Practitioner Certificate Program

30 credit Certificate Curriculum

The proposed University of Maine's at Augusta Child and Youth Care Certificate Program offers several benefits:
  1. The program will be delivered statewide to over 101 sites and centers, whereby students will not have to travel any farther than a maximum of 20 miles. While all courses will be offered via interactive television, some are web-based, allowing students to take courses wherever computer access is available. Through interactive technologies (Phone Bridge, e-mail, ITV and the web), students and faculty can conference with one another throughout the semester. The isolation promoted by geographic distance is minimized by these technologies

  2. Through the Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) mechanism, staffs that have substantial work experience can earn up to 15 credits in the 30 credit Certificate program and the Associates Degree in Human Services program. A student can earn up to 30 credits for a Bachelor's degree. The APL process is a direct recognition of the work and training experience for those currently in the field of Youth Care Practice. This component of the certificate program should not be underestimated.

  3. If students matriculate in the A.S. in Human Services, they are eligible for financial aid if they take two courses during any given semester and if they are income eligible. All courses in the certificate program lead toward the A.S. in Human Services and the B.S. in Mental Health and Human Services.

  4. Earning the certificate is considered important in the development of a career ladder as well as documentation that could verify a credential to state agencies. Additional academic courses could be developed for career advancement. Ascending levels of Practitioner such as I, II or III could be recognized and utilized by employers to assess expertise, compensation and advancement within the agency.

  5. The university environment offers a rich resource for Child and Youth Care Workers to study and research current trends and developments in the field. It also creates a forum for the exploration and refinement of how the "practice" is growing, developing and unfolding.

  6. Future growth in the curriculum will need to include coursework in Professionalism and Developmental Practice Methods, the Core Competencies #I and #V of ACYCP's North American Certification (NACP) Project. Discussions with the University of Maine have included the further evolution of this curriculum into a 60-credit Associate's Degree program.

Core Courses for Child and Youth Care Practitioner Certificate

An introduction to social welfare systems and their functions as they relate to social needs and problems within the political, social and economic contexts. An overview of the history and development of social welfare systems, the range of current social services and the knowledge and skills necessary for responding to human needs. CR 3

This is a basic course in the psychology sequence. Topics covered in this course include background and methods, learning theories, brain and nervous system, personality, perception, intelligence, motivation, emotions, thinking and problem solving, human development, abnormal behavior and social interaction. CR 3

A general study of people in society, with emphasis upon nature of culture, social institutions, social interaction, and social units, and the influence on the individual. An overview of sociological concepts and perspectives is also presented. CR 3

An interdisciplinary applied course that expands on the physical, emotional, intellectual and social growth processes. Addresses positive mental health and explores prevention, detection and rehabilitation programming. CR 3

Building upon an understanding of the social systems model, the course examines the various approaches to case management in mental health and social service settings. Content areas address history and concept, stages of engagement, assessment, planning linkage, coordination, advocacy, disengagement and organization supports. Prerequisite: PSY 218 or HUS 101. CR 3

An interdisciplinary applied course that integrates physical, emotional, intellectual and social aspects of adolescent development. Explores prevention, detection and rehabilitation programs. Emphasis on interrelationships of the physiological, psychological and cognitive systems. Prerequisite: HUS 120 or permission. CR 3

An introduction to crisis theories and an overview of various types of crises. Students will learn to identify behaviors indicative of people in crisis, effective intervention skills, and appropriate referral procedures. Ethical, legal, and social issues related to crisis intervention will also be addressed. Prerequisite: PSY 100 or permission. CR 3

Concerned with verbal and nonverbal communication that takes place among individuals during interpersonal interaction. Typical areas of concern are perceiving others, presenting one's self, conversation and barriers to communication. Activities may include games, exercises and role-playing. CR 3

This course is designed to be part of the professional preparation for students who will be working with children and their families in a variety of careers-social work, education, child care, nursing, etc. A broad range of childhood issues and difficulties are addressed, with specific considerations of helpful interventions. CR 3

Choose one of the following:

This course provides descriptive and analytical dimensions of violence syndromes occurring within the family. Types of husband, wife and child abuse and neglect are considered from a perspective of symptom recognition and treatment both legal and therapeutic. CR 3

Presents the experience of incest/sexual abuse from the perspective of survivors, perpetrators and others involved. Treatment techniques and community responses involving both survivors and perpetrators are viewed within the context of various modalities. Prerequisite: HUS 101 or PSY 100. CR 3

This course integrates the study of adolescent development, alcohol and other drug use, abuse, and dependency, and criminality among adolescents and young adults. Case studies and group projects address problem definition, strategies for intervention, and rehabilitation issues. Prerequisite: an introductory social science, human service, or criminal justice course. CR 3

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