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Child and Youth Counsellors

CYC job description at SickKids


Summary of Main Function and Purpose of Job:

Provides direct care to children and their families experiencing acute crisis, in accordance with Paediatric Emergency Crisis Service (PECS) protocol as well as Eating Disorder protocol. Develops and implements a plan of care in collaboration with the child/family and other health care team members.

List of Duties and Responsibilities:


As part of the interdisciplinary team, responds to all situations where patients present in a state of potential (or actual) danger to themselves to others, or are in a severe state of emotional stress.

  • contributes to the history taking process by obtaining information pertinent to the mental status
  • provides data to assist in the assessment of suicidal risk
  • contributes to the identification of symptoms for assessment purposes
  • anticipates emergencies and, in consultation with other health care team embers, takes appropriate action
  • based on initial assessment, and in consultation, advise the client, legal guardian, and/or referral agent of available and appropriate crisis response options
  • triages referrals according to criteria
  • Documents on, and participates in the development of an individualized plan of care in collaboration with the child/family and other health care team members.


Assists in the psychotherapeutic intervention in accordance with PECS treatment plan in individual and family therapy. Assures safety measures to protect patients, family, and staff are adequately in place. Advocates for the needs of patients/families experiencing crisis. May escort patients to external agencies when required as per the ambulance transfer policy or when patient safety is in question. Organizes referrals and follow-up plans using guidelines, as appropriate.


Evaluates and revises the interdisciplinary plan of care in collaboration with the child/family and the health care team to ensure child/family needs are met.


Assists SickKids staff with management of aggressive patient/parent-related situations. Provides consultation to children/families, SickKids staff, community agencies and network partners.

Research/ Education: 

Identifies research opportunities. Participates in and/or develops and promotes research. Contributes to the development of PECS research protocols. Engages in evidence-based practice and initiates changes to improve the quality of child & youth worker interventions. Shares new knowledge and best practices with professional colleagues. Participates in hospital/departmental/university teaching programs as required. Educates children/families, students and health care professionals both within SickKids and in the community.

Organizational Responsibilities:

Develops performance goals and objectives to align with strategic goals and objectives of the programs and SickKids. Adheres to hospital standards, policies and procedures in all aspects of providing care. Participates in Quality Management, including Clinical Resource Management activities. Engages in reflective practice and participates in the Performance Management program. Participates on hospital/departmental committees as required. Participates in ongoing professional development.

Minimum Requirements:

Minimum Education Required:

Certified Child and Youth Worker/Counsellor Diploma from a recognized community college. Baccalaureate degree in related field preferred.

Professional Registration Required:

Ontario Association of Child and Youth Counsellors membership.

Previous Job-Related Experience Required:

Broad experience in mental health services for children and Adolescents with five years of dedicated experience in Crisis management preferred.

Special Skills/Aptitudes Required:

Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, problem-solving, critical thinking and decision making, teamwork and collaboration, reflection and commitment to continuous learning required.

Relationship and Responsibility:

Reports to:
Clinical Leader, Child and Youth Counsellors

Degree of Supervision Received by Incumbent:
Accountable for own practice.

Supervision given by the incumbent to other employees:
Child and Youth Counsellor Students

Advisory or Staff Responsibility:
Resource to all SickKids staff.

Contact with Hospital Employees:
Significant interactions with all members of the health care team

Contact with Public:
Significant interactions with children/families

Regular Hours of Work:
37.5 hours/week Irregular Hours of Work: Shifts as required

Work Environment (unusual hazards, irritants, etc.):
Exposure to infectious diseases, involved with restraints