Rebecca is a Residential Child Care Counsellor

A Child and Youth degree prepares graduates to work with families, children and youth in distress. Rebecca is a Child Care Counsellor at a front-line shelter for women and children who have left the family home due to domestic violence. The mothers and children usually live at the transition house for up to six weeks.

When hiring a Child Care Counsellor, her agency looks for graduates with a Child and Youth Study degree as it offers a well-rounded and relevant knowledge base.

Rebecca says almost every course she took was relevant to her current work and she learned so much about child behaviour, child development, psychology, language development, and how to recognize the signs that may indicate a child has been abused or that family relationships may be troubled.

Most of Rebecca’s day is spent with the children in the playroom where she helps them sort out what’s going on in their lives; ‘healing through therapeutic play sessions. During these sessions children are encouraged to express themselves and to talk about what has happened as a way to help them heal and move forward.”

Rebecca also meets with the moms to discuss the affects that violence can have on the children, the mothers and on the mother/child relationship. Rebecca consults with teachers, principals, school social workers, hospital staff and mental health professionals on behalf of her clients. Rebecca’s work sometimes requires her to make decisions that have a great impact on children and families. “For difficult situations, the agency opts for co-worker collaborations,” shares Rebecca. “A teamwork approach often yields the best outcome for our clients. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that all of our clients leave the shelter with the appropriate support system in place.”

After doing a Child and Youth practicum placement at the agency, Rebecca worked at the shelter part-time. Next, she completed a Bachelor of Education degree and worked in the public school system. She soon realized that she was more interested in careers related to child and youth care. Because Rebecca’s child and youth training provided her with the skills that help her to identify school children suspected of experiencing abuse, she found her desire to advocate for children in need of help grew stronger. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to work as a Child Care Counsellor once again, she jumped at it.

“It’s the success stories that mean the most to me,” smiles Rebecca. “When a parent returns and says ‘we’re making it and the children are doing well’ or ‘I could have never done it without your help’ it motivates me. That’s what keeps me here.”