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CYC Definitions

Through a commitment to caring for and about young people, Child and Youth Care practice (CYC) focuses on the developmental needs of young people and families with a commitment to social justice that recognizes oppression due to race, ethnicity, sexual-orientation, gender, disability, and socio-economic status.

Our practice involves the equitable, active, and engaged relationship between individuals to facilitate meaningful change that improves the lives of young people. Child and Youth Care Practitioners engage young people in their daily life spaces to facilitate and support growth and development through the relational interplay between Self and Other.

Child and Youth Care Practitioners value individuals as capable agents of their own desired and positive change.


Garfat, T. (2013). The meaningful use of everyday life events in child and youth work. In T. Garfat, L. Fulcher, & J. Digney (Eds.) Making moments meaningful in Child and Youth Care practice (pp. 1-7). Cape Town: Child and Youth Care Net Press.

Gharabaghi, K. (2008). Boundaries and the exploration of self. Child & Youth Services, 30(3-4), 165-184.

Krueger, M.A. (1983). Careless to caring for troubled youth. Wawatosa, WI: Tall Publishing.

Linton, T.E. & Forester, M. (1988). The Child and Youth Care workers: Who needs them? The Journal of Child and Youth Care, 3(4), 1-10.

Stuart, C. (2009).Foundations of Child and Youth Care. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.

Last updated: August 2017.

The 1992 meeting of the International Child and Youth Care Education Consortium originally adopted the following definitions of Child and Youth Care practice:

Professional Child and Youth Care practice focuses on the infant, child and adolescent, both normal and with special needs, within the context of the family, the community and the life span. The developmental-ecological perspective emphasizes the interaction between persons and the physical and social environments, including cultural and political settings.

Professional practitioners promote the optimal development of children, youth and their families in a variety of settings, such as early care and education, community-based child and youth development programs, parent education and family support, school-based programs, community mental health, group homes, residential centers, rehabilitation programs, pediatric health care and juvenile justice programs.

Child and Youth Care practice includes skills in assessing client and program needs, designing and implementing programs and planned environments, integrating developmental, preventive and therapeutic requirements into the life space, contributing to the development of knowledge and professions, and participating in systems interventions through direct care, supervision, administration, teaching, research, consultation and advocacy.

The International Child and Youth Care Network

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Incorporated as a Not-for-Profit in Canada: Corporation Number 1284643-8

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