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Stages of Child and Youth Care Worker Development

Jack Phelan

Level 1 – The Capable Care-Giver
The basic dynamic that drives this stage is the issue of Safety. This is a fundamental step in professional development that lasts for 12-18 months for the new worker.

The tasks for the Level 1 worker include:

The internal process for the new worker includes:

Supervisory strategies include:

Level 2 – The Treatment Planner and Change Agent
The challenge of this stage is for the worker to let go of the comfortable skill set that has been so useful in dealing with youth and to learn a new set of skills that will transfer control to the youth. The use of external control to create safety will be reduced and perhaps in some cases eliminated so that the youth can begin to develop the self-control needed to be successful.

The tasks for the Level 2 worker include:

Supervisory strategies include:

Level 3 – The Creative, Free-Thinking Professional
The worker at this stage has mastered the basic safety and caring skills, and has developed the ability to use relationships and the internal motivation of the youth to create a focus on self-control.

The tasks for the Level 3 worker include:

Strategic use of life-space interviews, experiential learning and development of competence are embedded in all of the interactions of this worker.This worker is articulate about the treatment that is happening and can design plans for both individuals and the group.The new challenge at this stage is to be able to develop innovative treatment strategies and to modify the program where needed to fit individual youth.This worker can use the experience gained with prior youth to fit new behavior into a context that isn’t formulaic but builds on this knowledge.This worker is convinced of the importance of self-awareness and discusses his/her own issues as often as the youth’s when creating ways to support change.

Supervisory strategies include:

 

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