My brother came out to my family when I was 19. While trying to help him access community supports, I realized I wanted to work in a field where I could help people in the same way. I have been a Child and Youth Worker (CYW) for 25 years now, five of those years at Peel CAS.
As a Child and Youth Worker, I work intensely with parents helping them gain understanding about their own experiences of being parented, apply this new insight to their current parenting, learn new skills and work towards reunification with their children.
I love watching parents transform as they learn new ways to interact and parent their children. As they go through our program, I watch them have “aha” moments and gain confidence in their skills. Two years ago, I worked with Donovan*, a parent that had migrated to Canada from Jamaica. While in Canada, Donovan had unexpectedly had a child that was eventually brought into the care of Peel CAS. Despite having many obstacles stacked-up against him such as being new to Canada, having childhood trauma and being unable to read or write, Donovan did everything possible to have his daughter return to his care. Donovan was open to learning, and you could see his heart and soul was in the process. During our time working together, I watched him grow and change. He was eventually reunited with his daughter. Donovan’s story is a testament to doing whatever it takes, if you want something badly enough.
My job as a CYW is to help parents see the good that they have in themselves. Often they come to us feeling defeated. My role is to use a strength-based approach to support them and build their skills as parents. I want them to build on their confidence so they can be the best parents they can to their children.
*name has been changed
May 6-12 is International Child and Youth Care Workers Week
At Peel CAS, our CYWs support, direct, encourage and advocate for our children and youth. They’re driven by the good in every child and have an endless commitment to pick kids up when they fall. There are several programs within our Permanency Department that our CYWs currently support: Residential, Placement and Admissions, Access Programs, Adolescent Success, Family & Youth Support Services, Crisis Response and Family Placement.
During Child and Youth Care Workers Week we would like to thank our CYWs for their compassion, commitment and ability to creatively respond to the ongoing needs of our children, youth and families