This page is dedicated to the domain of professionalism. Professionalism in itself is a broad term, and within it fits several sub-domains that add into the main word.
Ethics is the first sub-domain, revolving around the professional code of ethics that all CYCPs follow, and how a practitioner may feel personally about decisions that must be made in everyday practice; this includes ethical dilemmas, issues that involve conflicting morals and values (Stuart, 2009). These values may be those of the practitioner and a client or their family, or even between the professional and personal sides of the practitioner. In general, practitioners can always expect to run into at least one case or client that forces them to question their own values or morals to some degree.
Professional development, next on the list, is the idea that practitioners are always learning and developing (Stuart, 2009), even after post-secondary and working in the field for years. As the clients one encounters are all different and offer various stories that engage the practitioner in new experiences, the practitioner is always taking in new information from those stories and developing professionally, and personally as well. This makes a lot of sense, especially in this field, because the young people that CYCPs work with are constantly changing and growing. In that respect, the people who occupy their lifespace and work with them would be changing and growing, too.
The next sub-domain is supervision, which, surprisingly, focuses on the CYCP’s own supervision, and not the way that they may supervise clients or their families. Supervision can come from more experienced coworkers, supervisors (for obvious reasons) and other professionals in the community who work in similar fields. Ethics and development, sub-domains I had discussed above, are products of supervisors and higher-ups promoting growth of these skills in practitioners. The practitioners must then retain these skills, and put them to use in practice with clients, regardless of whether or not they are supervised.
The last sub-domain is diversity, which simply focuses on the respect and understanding all practitioners must have for the different cultures that their clients may come from. Advocacy is very important in relation to diversity, as CYCPs have a certain power that they may be able to use to get the voices of their clients to be heard. With the over-representation of some ethic and cultural groups (e.g. Indigenous children making up an estimated 7% of the population of Canadian children but over half of all children in child welfare systems nationwide [Kassam, 2017]) in child welfare and justice systems, for example, and not enough representation of practitioners in the field coming from the same backgrounds as these children and youth, it is hard to find someone who can be an authority figure who has lived experience with racial discrimination, religious discrimination or the like who can boost the voices of these young people. It is hoped that, by paving a way to kindness, understanding and respect for diversity and culture in this field, young people will not have to fear systemic oppression from a place that is supposed to be helping them, not hurting.
All in all, professionalism is a large domain that encompasses a lot, if not all, of the things that practitioners do in this field. Each sub-domain is just as important as any of the others.
EDIT (March 29th, 2019): Professional image for CYCPs is more important now than ever, as the Association of Child and Youth Care and other affiliated organizations are continually working to get the field accredited and certified. The strongest and most effective way of ensuring a bright future for our profession and the youth we assist is through education and advocacy.
Evidence of Competency
SUPERVISION: Supervision as a sub-domain in CYC is quite important, as it depends on the practitioner themselves and their ability to work effectively as they’ve seen done by their higher-ups. Additionally, practitioners must seek supervision when they know it is necessary.
Seeking supervision for myself has been a struggle and a half in my first year of college. It is, however, something that I’ve been improving in myself greatly throughout the course of the second semester. It was difficult to admit when I needed help with an assignment in my first semester, and I often was that someone who would wait until a crisis erupted before I contacted professors and asked for the help that I could have used so long before that point.
Now, I am aware of the repercussions that come with waiting for that crisis to roll along before one asks for assistance, and I am usually the first person in any class to raise their hand and voice concerns or questions related to assignments and anything of the sort.
ACYCP. (2019). Association for Child & Youth Care Practice, Inc. | Practice Standards. Retrieved 29 March 2019 from https://www.acycp.org/practice-standards
Kassam, Ashifa. (2017, November 4). Ratio of indigenous children in Canada welfare system is ‘humanitarian crisis.’ Retrieved 30 November 2018 from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/04/indigenous-children-canada-welfare-system-humanitarian-crisis
Stuart, C. (2009). Foundations of Child and Youth Care. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company.
Image taken from islamidia.com.