Child and Youth Counsellors
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Our history

1801 - The first professional CYC, Jean Marc Gaspard Itard, commissioned by French government to work with Victor (“The Wild Boy of Aveyron’) starting January 1, 1801. Itard was part of the “Moral Therapy” Movement, which saw a humane approach and milieu as the best way to treat psychological problems (basis of CYC approach).

1850s - Residences for “incorrigible” children and orphans established in Ontario: Kingston, 1857; St. Agatha (near Kitchener-Waterloo), 1858; Toronto, The Boys Home, 1859. Few staff, many children, but treatment considered humane.

1859 - “Young offender” facility started, Upper Canada Reformatory Prison started in Penetanguishene, with boys 9 to 20. Occupational skills a major part of program. Boys actually built the building which is still in use today. Superintendent of the reformatory was said to be familiar with, and inspired by, the Moral Therapy Movement.

1893 - First laws for the care and protection of children, resulting in the establishment of the Children’s Aid Society in Toronto.

1905 - Major step in adapting the physical milieu to aid learning, Maria Montessori adapts furniture, learning “toys,” room arrangements, etc. to aid street kids and then developmentally handicapped, in Italy. Translated Itard’s reports into Italian.

1917 - First attempt to create an entire therapeutic “colony” or social structure by Makarenko, a Russian teacher-social worker (CYC?) for the roving street gangs left after the Russian Revolution.

1945 - Formal CYC training begins in Europe, the psychoéducateur model, to train workers to help socialize European street kids left homeless after World War II – emphasis on therapeutic activities, normalization, healthy relationships and milieu.

1950s - Major texts outline the basis of the profession in North America, Bettelheim on therapeutic routines, relationships, mileau (1950); Redl & Wineman (1951, 1957), group dynamics, therapeutic activities, behaviour management techniques, life-space interview; Erikson (1950) on stages of psycho-social development and the developmental meaning of disturbed behaviour and play.

1957 - First formal CYC training program in North America, The Child Care Worker Program at Thistletown Hospital in Rexdale (Toronto). Lon Lawson produces, “Training Notes on Milieu Therapy and Child Care Work” (first “home-grown” CYC text in Ontario).

1959 - First meeting of the OACYC, then called the Thistletown Association of Child Care Workers, in Rexdale, Ontario.

1967 - first “branch” of the OACYC (CCWAO) formed in Ottawa - beginning of the CCW training program in Colleges of Applied Arts & Technology, at the Provincial Institute of Trades/George - Brown College; a 3-year diploma program that spreads rapidly to 19 colleges in the province, to become the largest integrated system of CYC training system in North America.

1968 - “Conference on Professional Practice,” the first provincial conference specifically for CYCs, sponsored by the Lions Club for the CCWAO, in November in Toronto

1969 - incorporation of the OACYC, as the Child Care Workers’ Association of Ontario (CCWAO), letters patent granted by Provincial government, August 1

1974 - “College of Child Care Work” proposal submitted to provincial government (but not accepted) for a regulatory college that would, among other things make it an offence for anyone other than a trained Child Care Worker to use that term for themselves.

1976 - CCWAO leadership in Ministry of Education DACUM to establish standardized curriculum for Child Care Worker Program in Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology

1977 - first CCWAO Student Awards given to students from 13 college CCW program

1979 - criteria set for accreditation of Full Members in the CCWAO

1980s - Major professional developments in Canada:

    • First Canadian national CYC conference, held in Victoria BC, 1981\
    • Journal of Child Care, first issue in 1982
    • BA program in CYC started at University of Victoria BC
    • First International CYC Conference, held in Vancouver BC, 1985
    • Child and Youth Care Workers’ Association of Alberta develops first government supported CYC certification program.

1982 - official CCWAO membership certificates first issued

1983 - for the first time, CCWAO host a national CYC conference, the 3rd National, Toronto, June 8-10 - CCWAO becomes a founding member of the Council of Canadian Child and Youth Care Associations, the national professional association for CYCs in Canada.

1985 - final adoption of Code of Ethics for the Association, in March

1989 - official changing of our name from CCWAO to OACYC, granted through supplementary letters patent, November 3 - approval for a Bachelor level program in CYC in Ontario, at Ryerson Polytechnical University - first Ontario CYC to be killed on the job – Krista Sepp, while working in a group home in Midland, Ontario.

1997 - OACYC co-sponsors first International CYC Conference in Ontario –the “5th International” in June, in Toronto - OACYC first CYC association to offer professional liability insurance to members, September - First full-time Executive Director hired by OACYC (1st such position in North America)

1998 - beginning of major employers recognizing professional CYC staff,

    • Kinark Child and Family Services, makes OACYC membership part of their employment criteria, 1998
    • Upper Grand District School Board is the first Board to make OACYC membership a requirement for employment, 1999
    • Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board is the first Board to have 100% of their CYC staff with professional credentials, 2001

1999 - with over 600 professional members, OACYC becomes the largest CYC association in North America

    • first OACYC conference exclusively by and for CYCs, called “Heroes Within,” to celebrate 40th anniversary of the OACYC, held in Kingston,June 2-4, and attracts almost 400 registrants
    • use of “CYC (Cert.)” professional designation conditions in place (April 30, 1999) in that all Full Certified members have complete documentation submitted to Provincial Office

2000 - First time an entire class of CYW students joins the OACYC from St. Lawrence College in Kingston

    • major expansion of membership services: toll-free phone line, payment by credit card, newsletter expanded from 8 to 12 pages, newly designed membership certificates to recognize long-standing members, rebates to members for referrals, etc.

2001 - OACYC Web site begun (January 17) www.oacyc.org makes its debut on the World Wide Web - OACYC celebrates 200th Anniversary of the profession with a major Provincial Conference in London, Ontario; recognition of 5 OACYC members with 25-year-plus memberships

2002 - Profession Development Credits required by all Full Members to maintain their professional membership in the OACYC (January, 2002)

    • First OACYC Conference devoted to one sector of the profession, the “School-based CYC Work” Conference at Mohawk College, Brantford (May 31, 2002)
    • OAYC “Branches” become “Committees”; beginning of the move to expand Board of Director
      representation from geographical to include “sector” representation (e.g., school-based CYCs, CYC educators, etc.), June 2002

2003 - First OACYC Conference in northern Ontario “Making a Giant Difference” in Thunder Bay is so successful the program has to be extended from one day to two and a half days to accommodate presentations (November 6-8, 2003

    • 25th Anniversary of longest running OACYC Branch/Committee, Kingston (covering the Belleville to Brockville area)
    • Total membership (all categories) passes the 1,500 mark

2004 - CYC WEEK in Ontario set for the first full week in June; for the 15 years or so prior to this, CYC Week date determined by the date of OACYC conferences

    • “CYC” approved as the second professional designation for Full Professional members (those without a CCW or CYW diploma)
    • Official CYC “Scope of Practice” statement adopted by the OACYC:
      The practice of Child and Youth Counselling is: “The assessment of maladaptive behaviour patterns and social-emotional functioning in children, adolescents, and young adults and the prevention and treatment of conditions in the individual, family, and community, in order to develop, maintain, and promote emotional, social, behavioural, and interpersonal well-being within the context of daily living.” ©Adopted March 2004

2005 - CYC WEEK moved to first full week in May to coincide with international CYC Week recognition of first CYC Instructor in Ontario, William T. “Lon” Lawson, on the 90th anniversary of his birth, at the OACYC provincial “Teaching & Learning” Conference in Hamilton (June 1-3).