Children’s Center Core Learning Program

This learning program consists of learning modules that introduce entry-level direct care workers to basic concepts and skills in professional child and youth care. The purpose of this program is to support new staff working at the Children’s Center in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to best serve the children and youth at the Children’s Center. The program is based on competencies for entry-level practice at child and youth facilities in ACS. These competencies represent knowledge and skills important to work in any of the major practice settings, including early childhood education, after-school, foster parenting, residential care, mental health, housing, recreation, juvenile justice, community youth services, and developmental disabilities. 


Who Should Attend?

 Entry-level direct care workers in ACS child and youth facilities.


Course Benefits

Learners will:

  •  Gain increased awareness, understanding and sensitivity to how children and youth develop.
  • Gain increased understanding of, and capacity to engage in empowering interactions.
  • Gain increased understanding of, and capacity to work within and across systems (teams, families, cultures and communities).
  • Enlarge their repertoire of activities and techniques for engaging youth in interactions and activities that will help them to develop skills essential to becoming independent.
  • Gain increased capacity to guide youth and resolve interpersonal differences.
  • Gain increased awareness of the fundamentals of professional practice in child and youth care.


Course Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this course.


Course Components

Once enrolled in the course, learners will complete:

  • A half-day orientation that was internally developed and provides an overview of the model of practice in use at the Children’s Center. Key components include:
    • An overview of the direct care worker’s role/responsibilities that are to be employed at the Children’s Center and related best practice, in treatment planning and implementation of model of care, as well as an introduction.
    • An introduction of the rest of the training program.
  • Six full, in-person days or 15 half-days of Child and Youth Care: Foundations from the Academy of Competent Youth Work that includes the skill sets required to support the model being used at the Children’s Center. Key components include:
    • Identifying key characteristics of the profession and the elements that connect practice settings in Child and Youth Care (CYC).
    • Appreciating the role and importance of relationships in human development and CYC Practice.
    • Using a variety of active listening strategies to improve communication.
    • Developing an intervention plan that takes into consideration both short- and long-term developmental needs.
    • Using relationships, teamwork and supervision to improve practice skills.
    • Knowing and understanding the concepts of maturation and learning.
    • Understanding stages of group development.

Completion of all components is necessary to receive a Certificate of Completion.


Continuing Education Units

There are no CEUs associated with this course.



ACS Human Resources and James Satterwhite Academy will register new hires and transfers to this course. For more information about the James Satterwhite Academy, please email 


Download the course flyer