See the Courses tab below for details on program delivery.


Request information  Apply now



Sometimes life isn’t easy. There are families struggling with difficulties in their daily lives; maybe you even know a few. Your heart aches to reach out and help, it only you knew how.

Imagine being able to enhance the development and lives of children, youth and families. With a diploma in Child and Youth Care, you can. The two-year diploma program provides you with the know-how to follow your heart and reach out to those who are struggling. You’ll learn how to make a difference through a blend of theory and hands-on exercises. And your theoretical knowledge will come to life during practicum experiences that put you in the middle of this rewarding career before you even graduate!

Follow your heart by applying for the Child and Youth Care program today!

Career opportunities

When you graduate, you’ll be ready to work with children, youth and families in a wide variety of settings, including:

  • Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Drop-in Centres
  • Family Support
  • Foster Care Work
  • Group Homes
  • Hospitals
  • Independent Living Programs
  • Recreation & Community Centres
  • Residential and Treatment Programs
  • Safe Consumption Sites
  • Schools
  • Women’s Emergency Centres
  • Young Offender Centres

Alumni Profile - Justine Schmidt

Justine found Lethbridge College’s Child and Youth Care program in a time of need. It turns out the program was just what she needed to find a career path she was passionate about. Now Justine is graduating and ready to work in the field as well as further her education with a direct transfer to a degree.

Starts In: September, January
Application Deadlines:

For current application status, terms being processed and application deadlines visit the Program Application Status page.

Duration: 2 years
Credential: Diploma

Athabasca University

Diploma graduates are eligible to receive up to 60 credits towards the Bachelor of Professional Arts in Human Services major or the Bachelor of Professional Arts in Governance, Law and Management major at Athabasca University. Diploma graduates are awarded up to 30 transfer credits towards year three or four into the Bachelor of Management degree (Major) at Athabasca University.

BC CYC Consortium

CYC diploma graduates with a B average (3.0 GPA) or higher will receive 60 block transfer credits (30 units in UVIC model) towards the Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care offered at Douglas College, University of Victoria, University of the Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island University.

Griffith University, Australia

CYC diploma graduates may enter into the fourth semester of the Bachelor of Child and Family Studies, Bachelor of Human Services, or the Bachelor of Social Work degree program. Please visit for more information.

Institute of Technology Carlow, Carlow Ireland

Graduates from the diploma in Child and Youth Care will be accepted for entry into Year 2 of the Honours Degree in Applied Social Studies – Professional Social Care. Please note, scholarships may be awarded. Please refer to website:

Lethbridge College

Students who complete the Child and Youth Care diploma are eligible for entry into the Bachelor of Applied Arts in Justice Studies at Lethbridge College. Some bridging courses may be required on an individual basis.

MacEwan University

CYC diploma graduates with a GPA of 2.7 or higher may be eligible to receive up to 60 credits and entry into year three of the Bachelor of Child and Youth Care degree.


Delivery Format

A blended course is intentionally designed to include continuum of both face to face/on-campus and online delivery. This includes both synchronous (in real-time on a set schedule) and asynchronous learning strategies (learning that does not occur at the same time or same place). Communication, instruction and assessment components of a blended course provide consistent information but go further by enhancing and supplementing each other. Students may complete some of their lessons online and may also be required to come to campus.


Online courses are instructor led. Communications, teaching and assessment components are delivered solely online, and do not have any on-campus elements. They are taught through a learning management system and may be either synchronous (in real-time on a set schedule) or asynchronous (learning that does not occur at the same time or same place). Students complete all their work online and are not required to come to campus.


Learning does not occur at the same time or same place. Instructor provides materials including online readings, recorded lectures or presentations, posted lecture notes, video content, assignments and exams for online completion. Students access the course materials within a flexible timeframe prescribed by the instructor.


Learning happens in real time. Student and instructors interact and engage with each other in a specific virtual space, through a specific online medium, at a specific time. This can include video conferencing, live chatting, and live-streaming lectures.

Experiential learning elements

This is the application of theory and academic content to real-world experiences – the what and how to do things. This can be done in a classroom, within the community, within a workplace environment or the virtual classroom. Examples could include group work, participation in class debates, mock trials, role-plays, lab experiments and creating prototypes. Experiential learning happens when students engage in an activity related to the roles they will fill as graduates and also through reflection.

January intake 1st year, 2nd semester students Second year students
You can expect to experience a blended program. If you are in the January intake of Child and Youth Care, your courses will be delivered in a blended format, with remote face-to-face synchronous classes (in real time with other students and your instructor) with experiential learning that applies academic content to real-world experiences. We are planning to schedule one face-to- face on campus section for CYC 1194: Activity Leadership for those interested providing schedules allow. We have flexible plans on how best to support you for your placement experiences. You can expect to experience a blended program. For first year students continuing into Winter semester from this fall, you will continue to have classes in a blended format, with remote face-to-face synchronous classes (in real time with other students and your instructor) with experiential learning that applies academic content to real-world experiences. We are planning to schedule one face to face on campus section for CYC 1194: Activity Leadership for those interested providing schedules allow. Classes will run for 10 weeks and then, if you are scheduled for practicum in the Winter semester, you have a 6-week placement as long as Covid-19 restrictions do not interrupt plans. Second year students can expect to experience a blended program. Your classes will continue to be delivered in a blended format, with remote face-to-face synchronous classes (in real time with other students and your instructor) with experiential learning that applies academic content to real-world experiences. Your classes will run for 6 weeks and then you will go into practicum to complete the required number of weeks to complete your diploma.


Learning Environment

For the upcoming Fall 2020 semester students in Year 1 Term 1 will complete courses in two blocks during the term.

Courses in the first block will be completed Online with Experiential elements.

Courses in the second block will be taught in either an Online or Blended/Hybrid format with Experiential elements.

Year 1 Term I
Course Code Title Credits
Year 1 Term II
Course Code Title Credits
Year 2 Term I
Course Code Title Credits
Year 2 Term II
Course Code Title Credits


New students are accepted into the Child and Youth Care program for the Fall (September) term. Students wishing to enroll for the Winter (January) term may take courses in a revised curriculum based on course availability. This admission results in a five term curriculum for the completion of the diploma.

General admission requirements

All applicants must meet the general admission requirements for Lethbridge College programs as indicated in the Admissions section of this calendar.

Practice-based experience (PBE) requirements

This program has a required practice-based experience (PBE) component coordinated by the Placement Office. The college dictates the legal terms and conditions governing the practicum experience.

Applicants are advised they will be required to provide a Criminal Record Check and an Alberta Children’s Services Intervention Record Check (IR Check) before entering the PBE component of the program. The existence of an IR or criminal record may affect practicum placements, program completion and employment prospects.

The consequences of a prior criminal conviction will be examined and discussed on an individual basis. The logistics for obtaining a Criminal Record Check and an IR Check will be discussed with students during program orientation. Cost of the Criminal Record Check is approximately $75 on each occurrence. Students are advised that it is necessary to have these checks completed at least once per year. Applicants will be required to have St. John Ambulance Standard First Aid and CPR (or equivalent) certificates prior to their practicum experiences. The cost for this certification is approximately $125.

Find out more about pre-placement requirements for your program.

Prior learning assessment (PLA)

If you have experience working in this field of study, you may be eligible for prior learning assessment.

Applicants who lack the required academic admission requirements can apply to the Academic Upgrading program to upgrade their academic skills.


Upon successful completion of all program requirements, students are awarded a Child and Youth Care diploma.

Academic Year Tuition Fees Books & Supplies
Year 1 $3,935.00 $1,277.00 $1,550.00
Year 2 $3,450.00 $953.00 $1,075.00

Our Budget Wizard is a free self-service tool that can help you make sense of your finances and the cost of your education. Give it a try!

Budget Wizard

  • Costs for supplies may vary considerably depending on what students already have or where they purchased their supplies; cost provided is on the moderately high end.
  • Students will be charged a medical/dental benefit fee unless they opt out by demonstrating alternative coverage prior to the end of the first week of class.
  • Tuition for international students is $14,735 for Year 1 and $12,795 for Year 2. The cost of additional fees, books and supplies is the same for all students.

Learn from the best

We’ve always known our Child and Youth Care program was among the best in Canada. So when the opportunity arose to apply for accreditation through the Child and Youth Care Educational Accreditation Board, we jumped on the chance. And our belief was validated by the results – we received accreditation and are recognized as a premier program in Canada.

But what does that accreditation mean for you? Well, it means:

  • receiving high-quality, relevant education: Accreditation ensures that our program delivers a high-quality, relevant curriculum that follows current industry best practices.
  • learning from the best: You’ll receive your education in a program that has been and continues to be examined by a nationally-ranked accrediting body. This scrutiny ensures that we continually work to remain among the best CYC programs in Canada.
  • being the best: When you graduate and look to enter the industry, employers will know that by hiring you they’ll be getting a graduate from a credible program who meets the highest standards in Canada.

A student perspective

A program to be passionate about

“It’s everything I wanted in a program and more.”

Building strong families and strong communities

“No matter where we are in our lives, family is so important.”





New country, new experience, new career

“I’ve heard that the Child and Youth Care program is one of the best programs.”

The many faces of CYC

Hear from former students as they describe their day-to-day lives in child and youth care.


From here to there: alumni updates

Lethbridge College isn’t just a place to go to school – we’re a community that is here to support you from your initial interest in our program through to the moment you cross the stage at Convocation and beyond. Just take a look at where an LC education has taken some of our graduates.

Alysia Kuzma

“I love my job. I truly do not think I would be where I am today without those experiences at Lethbridge College. I am pretty much doing all of my practicum placements in one. I'm in a residential setting where the residents are like a second family to me, I get to do some outreach work and connect with community resources as well as deal with crisis situations often, and I get to help provide care to children who need it and support their parents. I am very proud of what I do. Thank you Wendy, Donna, Allan and Ron for making my experience at Lethbridge College what it was – for challenging me and not giving me the answers to all of life's problems but for making me figure it out and supporting me through the tough situations.”

Anna Hodgson

“I went into the CYC program knowing that I wanted to help others, and everything about the CYC program has helped me do that. … In my 13 years as a child and youth care worker, I have been a crisis counsellor at a women's shelter, a youth counsellor at a secure treatment facility, a youth counsellor with children who were at risk of, or were, being sexually exploited within the PSECA act, and I am currently in the role of a youth development counsellor at an elementary school in Calgary. There have been some breaks in those 13 years. There was a year of travelling, a summer of thinking I wanted to be a flight attendant, a few winters working at the ski hill, more education in my degree in psychology, and a year maternity leave. Child and youth care work has always been what I have come back to.”

Amanda McMahon

“I am proud to say that I am a graduate of the Child and Youth Care Program, Class of 2010. I feel like this program fundamentally changed and influenced my life and further set the framework for my career path thus far. Graduating from the CYC Program has allowed me to experience a depth and breadth of career options, which is one of the highlights of this education. ... In my current professional role, I manage a program called Project SPARC within Lethbridge School District 51; in that role, I help at risk youth ages 16-20 or youth that self-identify wanting extra support in navigating career and or educational pursuits. … I am proud to promote the Child and Youth Care program any chance I get to those that might share this passion and interest. The instructors are not only outstanding at what they do, they are empathetic, compassionate and passionate about the work they do and it shows. Not only did the Child and Youth Care faculty go above and beyond when I was a student in school, they continue to do so even though I graduated over seven years ago. It was through this program that I decided that I wanted to continue my education where I later earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services.”

Katlynd Boucher

"When I reflect on my time in the Child and Youth Care Program, it feels like my heart is getting a big hug. This program was a safe space not only for myself but for other students in the program to engage in self-exploration, to feel vulnerable and also to feel empowered. Throughout my time in the program, the therapeutic relationship was a common theme; it was a subject in numerous classes, it was practiced in our student practicums and our instructors modelled the therapeutic relationship daily amongst the students. Today, when I communicate with my clients, coworkers and staff, I often carry the gentleness in my interactions with them in the present while simultaneously reflecting on the gentleness that I felt in the past within the Child and Youth Care program."

Change the world in CYC

Child and Youth Care program

Get a glimpse into the training that our students receive in the CYC program.


Teaching excellence develops distinguished alumni

Greg Schmidt: 2009 Distinguished Alumnus

For his commitment to the child- and youth-care profession, Greg Schmidt, Executive Director of Family Ties Association, was chosen by Lethbridge College as its Distinguished Alumnus for 2009.

After obtaining a Communication Arts diploma from Lethbridge College in 1986, Schmidt returned to Lethbridge College where he quickly distinguished himself with the Child and Youth Care faculty for his leadership skills, commitment, vision, sense of humour and advocacy.

Since his graduation, Schmidt has employed those virtues in his field. He was hired by his practicum agency, Sifton Family and Youth Services, before taking on his position at Family Ties and later the post of executive director.

"As I look back, what permeates my view is the commitment, dedication and loyalty of all those involved in ensuring students are able to immediately step into a position after graduation," says Schmidt. "I felt very prepared and ready to start work and feel the same of students that join us at Family Ties Association."