North American Certification Project (NACP)

I thought that I would give a progress report on national certification in the United States and ask for some help from the CYC-Net participants.

For the past several years, the North American Certification Project [NACP] has been working toward the establishment of a credible, effective system for national certification of child and youth care workers in the United States. Most of the work has been conducted with substantial contributions from the Council of Canadian Child and Youth Care Associations [CCCYCA], several Canadian university programs in child and youth care work, and individual Canadian practitioners, although the CCCYCA does not have plans to implement national certification in Canada and has, consequently, limited its participation currently in the NACP.

A lot of excellent and unprecedented work toward the goal of national certification has been completed already. Martha Mattingly, of the University of Pittsburgh, led two large efforts that were essential to the establishment of certification, the establishment of a widely-accepted code of ethics for the field and assembly of the core competencies for the profession through a meta-analysis of the literature. The competencies document will be published in the next issue of the Journal of Child and Youth Care Work, which is at the printer today and which will be sent out soon. Many others, including Carole Stuart, Carol Kelly, Varda Mann-Feder, Peter Rosenblatt, and Karen VanderVen, just to name a very few, participated actively and contributed mightily in these two parts of the project. (My apologies to the many others who did so much but who were not mentioned here.)

The next step is to design, field test, and validate a certification examination that will be relevant, meaningful, and fair to the best of our abilities. A committee that includes a number of the individuals listed above and approximately ten more is meeting frequently to construct the examination and supporting materials. The committee needs the help of many practitioners at this point.

We are seeking case examples of real-life events from the field, to be used in the examination, in associated materials, and in publication and research. In order to be useful, these case studies should document an incident (or event) that actually occurred in child and youth care practice. The case study should either demonstrate an instance in which good child and youth care skills and knowledge were used or where good skills/knowledge could have (and should have?) been used, but were not. While we are not specifically seeking examples of best and worst practices, we are looking for situations that commonly occur and that the skills and knowledge of the practitioner did or could make a difference.

Please submit these case studies on the form provided  (see bottom of this page for download)  and fill in all of the spaces on the form. We will need to be able to contact you, both to give credit for your contribution and to clarify information if necessary. The form (NACP Case Study Form.doc) is in MS Word file format. It can be downloaded and filled in either in writing or by using your word processing program. You can mail it back to me or send it as an attachment to e-mail.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through e-mail:

You may also contact me through mail and telephone:
David Thomas
6500 Mapleridge
Houston, TX 77081
(713) 664-5518

Thank you in advance for your participation in this important project.

David Thomas


The case study form is downloadable here in
MS Word format
RTF format