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Discussion Threads

Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

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CYC as a profession (2)

We are doing a research paper on "Is Child and Youth Care a profession?" Just wondering how people feel about this.

Elaine Barry

See Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies for a discussion on this topic this side of the world ...

Niall C. McElwee

Hi Elaine;
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!)

Mark Kelly

Elaine I did an M.A. thesis on this topic in an Irish context. See

John Byrne

NOTE: You will find a rich seam on this topic by going to CYC-NET at 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

Hi Elaine,
I am unclear how you want your query answered? Yes, Child and Youth Care is aprofession ... you ask us what we think about that: For me, Child and Youth Care is a "profession" based on the belief thatprofessionalismis necessary to any kind of work I am doing particularly inhuman services. I think professionalism is the more potent component simply because asI work I am not necessarily focussed on my "profession". However, I am at all times cognizant of my professionalism, if that makes sense. I thinkthere is acongruence between my beliefs and valuesthat 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. ThenI might ask is it my personalvalues that encompass my professional role or werethose values honed during my academiccareer as a Child and Youth Care student? It is agood question, one that has meruminating on the possibilities.
Thank you
Marjorie Mcquarrie

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 Kelly

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 valuesembraced byour 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 andthe 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:

- Eds.

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