We are doing a research paper on "Is child and youth care a profession?" Just wondering how people feel about this.
See Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies for a discussion on
this topic this side of the world ...
Niall C. McElwee
The short answer to your query is YES! The longer answer includes a discussion of training, certification, professional expectations, understanding of unique child and youth needs, professional settings and a commitment to the field, etc, etc.
I would love a longer discussion over a few emails, as I am a child and youth care professional, swamped with work (as we all are!)
Elaine I did an M.A. thesis on this topic in an Irish context. See http://www.cyc-net.org/pdf/byrne-thesis.pdf
NOTE: You will find a rich seam on this topic by going to CYC-NET at www.cyc-net.org and then using the Google search of our site. Enter the words: child youth care profession in the search box, and take a picnic lunch with you! - Editors
I am unclear how you want your query answered? Yes, child and youth care is a profession ... you ask us what we think about that: For me, child and youth care is a "profession" based on the belief that professionalism is necessary to any kind of work I am doing particularly in human services. I think professionalism is the more potent component simply because as I work I am not necessarily focussed on my "profession". However, I am at all times cognizant of my professionalism, if that makes sense. I think there is a congruence between my beliefs and values that shows up in my "professional stance." For instance I am in the child and youth care profession and yet it is my personal values regarding respect for myself and others that drives my work with youth. Then I might ask is it my personal values that encompass my professional role or were those values honed during my academic career as a child and youth care student? It is a good question, one that has me ruminating on the possibilities.
In my mind Youth Care is absolutely a profession. I have dedicated almost fifteen years of my life to this field. I have a certificate, a degree and a multitude of workshops under my belt. If one refers to the dictionary, a higher education as well as mental labor rather than physical is listed to describe a profession. We certainly fall under those criteria. We are also a collective body, we have standards that need to be followed and we are held accountable by these standards.
Charlene Snell, YCW
In response to Elaine's question ...
Your question is one that has been extensively discussed by Child and Youth workers for several years. One notable discussion, "Beyond Professionalism: The Child and Youth Care Worker as Craftsman" (Eisikoits, Z., Beker, J.: Child Care Quarterly (1983), 12, 93-112); and H. Maeir's response "Should Child and Youth Care Go the Craft or the Professional Route?" Child and Youth Care Forum, (1983) 30 (6), 435-440. provide some food for thought.
While the dictionary definition has not always applied to Child and Youth Care, our discipline is increasingly fitting that criteria as education requirements for becoming a CYCW are better defined, as we participate in specialized higher education programs, create professional organizations and develop standards for practice. While these parameters for defining a profession are adequate within the corporate framework, I believe that Child and Youth Care has added dimensions that define us as a profession. These dimensions incorporate more than theories, concepts, advanced education and standards; and probably resemble craftsmanship, dedication and passion for the work we do. There has been a school of thought that suggests that the latter dimensions detract from 'professional status'. For me, a combination of the corporate framework and the added dimensions ('craftsmanship', dedication, passion) go hand in hand to make our discipline a profession. So yes, Child and Youth Care is a profession, but I believe we won't be recognized or embraced by other professions until we ourselves acknowledge that we are.
Maxine, thanks for your response.
I agree and believe we must keep this notion alive if we want to choose our own path to professionalization and honor the values embraced by our profession. It is interesting to note that when one does this, great innovation can occur around traditional structures such as certification and legislative recognition. B.C has been focusing on this for many years and the association has worked diligently in the development of a draft certification document which, in my opinion, upholds the principles of quality care and provides a unique structure for this element of the traditional certification processes. Unfortunately, as associations experience time and time again, funding has been a major stumbling block in moving this initiative forward. Who would have thought that I would still get energized by this discussion after 20 years!
Leanne Rose Sladde
Have a look at a discussion in this group from a couple of years back: http://www.cyc-net.org/threads/profession.html