Certification Overview

 

Child and youth care work practitioners (CYCs) are employed in a variety of settings. These settings include: early childhood education, residential treatment, group care, community youth services, foster homes, juvenile justice, and programs for developmentally and physically disabled youth.  

Child and youth care work practitioners (CYCs) are known by many names, including: foster parents, youth workers, recreation leaders, teaching parents, child care workers, group leaders, house parents, detention workers, probation officers, teacher's aids, shelter workers, child life specialists, mental health workers, psychiatric technicians, community youth workers, school crisis counselors, street outreach workers, behavioral health professionals, and many others.  

All of these practitioners:  

  • Are entrusted with the on-the-spot, hour-to-hour, care, education, treatment or development of children and youth.  
  • Share ethical values and use a common body of knowledge and skills.  
  • Provide nurturing, management and guidance to healthy or at-risk children and youth.  
  • Work in a variety of child serving organizations.

Unified System

The CYC Institute is working with the Child and Youth Care Certification Board (CYCCB), CYW Workforce Coalition, Texas Headstart Collaboration, Texas After School Association, and others to develop a national linked professional development system. The system is designed to work across practice settings to expand existing education, training, and certification programs to better meet the needs of communities and child and youth care work practitioners. Over the next five years professional development programs will be expanded and established. Each of these programs will be based on the core competencies identified by CYCCB as critical to professional practice. The goal is to expand access to a full range of education, training  and development supports beginning with pre-service training and extending through advanced practice.  

 

Scholarship Programs
 
The CYC Institute is seeking funding from a variety of public and private sources to help offset the costs of professional development. Many practitioners and employers do not have adequate funding to participate in quality training and education programs. CYC Institute planners believe that proper training is critical to success. The CYC Institute acts as a clearinghouse for funding and scholarship money to increase local access to education and training.

Applying for Certication

Determine Certification Level:
Explore the certification levels and determine which one best describes your experience, education and training. You can test at whichever level is the best fit. It is not necessary to complete testing at a lower level before taking a higher level exam. You cannot be certified unless you meet all of the requirements for a specific level.

Schedule Testing:  
Proctored testing is available in New England, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Wisconsin, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, & Wyoming. On-line testing is available nationally in proctored test sites. Testing is also available in Canada.  Testing opportunities may be available in states not listed above.  Call the CYC Office (979-764-7306) or email cycofficemanager@aol.com

Complete Testing: Upon completion of testing, practitioners will be notified of test results. Practitioners who pass the exam can apply for certification.

Complete Application: To complete the certification process, practitioners who have completed testing submit:

  • Complete application
  • Pay application processing fee
  • Sign eligibility statement
  • Sign agreeing to use the Standards for Practice ethics code
  • Submit references
  • Submit training/education documentation
  • Document professional association membership
  • Complete supervisory assessment (Associate & Profressional levels only)
  • Submit electronic portfolio (Professional level only)
Training Sources
The certification program recognizes training received from a variety of sources, including:

  • Agency in-service training.
  • College and university education programs.
  • Seminars, conferences and regional training events.
  • Courses offered by the Academy for Competent Youth Work.

Applicants have up to 6 months (Professional) or 1 year (Entry & Associate) following date of testing to submit an application. Submission time for a Professional application can be extended to 1 year by paying an additional fee.

The Academy for Competent Youth Work was created by the Texas Youth and Child Care Worker Association in 2001.  This group is establishing regional networks where employers and practitioners can access professional development supports. Academy courses are taught in local universities in Pennsylvania and Maine. Through this cooperative venture between practitioners, trainers, and educators, high quality competency-based professional development is made available locally to support professional CYC practitioners. This is expected to have a significant impact on the availability of qualified workers to staff the many programs serving children and youth throughout the United States.

Why certify?

The advent of certification marks the beginning of a viable career path for child and youth care work practitioners (CYCs). Many employers recognize credentialing as a key indicator of employment readiness and commitment.  Increasing numbers of organizations require staff to become certified.  The CYC Institute is frequently contacted by employers that recognize the certifications and offer increased salaries and benefits to credentialed practitioners.  As certification becomes more widely accepted, quality education programs emerge:

Children and youth have:  

  • Access to well prepared practitioners who have the broad-based knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality care.

Practitioners have:  

  • Increased career flexibility and options because their credential is nationally recognized by employers across the entire CYC field.
  • Expanded opportunities to combine experience, in-service training and formal education to qualify for advanced positions.  
  • Increased recognition from the community and other professionals as providers of quality services to children and youth.
  • Access to scholarships and loans that make higher education accessible.

Administrators have:

  • A larger pool of qualified, experienced workers available to fill positions.  
  • A more reliable way to differentiate between qualified and unqualified applicants.
  • Increased program credibility and safety, which will lead to lower program liability and reduced insurance costs.
  • Support in developing quality in-service education programs.

What is certification?  

Certification is a national credential for child and youth care work practitioners. It is based on a three-tiered system developed by the Texas Youth and Child Care Worker Association in collaboration with the national CYC Certification Board.  It begins at the Entry Level and extends through the Associate, and Professional   Levels.

The certification programs are based on competencies drawn from all major practice settings within the field of child and youth care. The competencies were identified by the North American Certification Project (NACP) of the Association for Child and Youth Care Practice (ACYCP). NACP conducted an analysis of 78 competency sources (the largest review conducted to date).

The   competencies   included in the certification program describe core elements of practice that were found to span all practice sectors. They provide a basis for the training, education and credentialing of personnel so that they are prepared for employment in all practice environments within the field. The complete set of competencies is available at   www.cyccb.org .  Certified practitioners follow ethical practices outlined in recognized codes of ethics. The child and youth care field contains multiple codes of ethics (e.g., NAEYC, NJDA, NAA, etc.).
 
The certification program uses the unified code of ethics contained in the Standards for Practice of North American Child and Youth Care Professionals. Testing is based on this code. Certified practitioners can use multiple codes but must agree to subscribe to this code.

Certification allows practitioners to demonstrate their development as professionals and participate in true career development. Over time, practitioners can combine in-service training, formal education and work experience to qualify for increasingly advanced positions. Or they can continue to work in the same setting with the ability to meet a wider range of youth needs.

Certification allows practitioners to take their place as co-equals working with other professionals serving children and youth.  Certified practitioners are recognized by their colleagues and by the public as credentialed professionals.

Copyright c 2014 Child & Youth Care Worker Certification Institute, Inc.

Copyright c 2014 Child & Youth Care Worker Certification Institute, Inc.

What is certification?

Certification is a national credential for child and youth care work practitioners. It is based on a three-tiered system developed by the Texas Youth and Child Care Worker Association in collaboration with  . . . (more)

Why certify?

The advent of certification marks the beginning of a viable career path for child and youth care work practitioners (CYCs). Many employers recognize credentialing as a key indicator of employment readiness and . . . (more) 

Who are practitioners?
 

Child and youth care work practitioners (CYCs) are employed in a variety of settings. These settings include: early childhood education, residential treatment, group care, community youth . . . (more)

Unified System

The CYC Institute is working with the Child and Youth Care Certification Board (CYCCB), CYW Workforce Coalition, Texas Headstart Collaboration, Texas After School Association, and others to develop a national linked professional development system. The system is . . . (more)

Applying for Certification

Determine Certification Level:
Explore the certification levels and determine which one best describes your experience, education and training. You can test at whichever level is the best fit. It is not necessary to complete . . . (more)

What does certification mean?

Certification means that a practitioner has gained recognition as a professional who has:

  • Documented required experience;
  • Demonstrated professional knowledge and skills required to work in their chosen field;
  • Demonstrated to colleagues and the community the knowledge and skills required to effectively and successfully work with children and youth.

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