Appendix 4 Supervisor Certification


The Panel strongly recommends the development of a supervisor certification program in order to ensure that individuals with responsibility to provide supervision are qualified to do so and able to provide such supervision meaningfully and directly related to life space practice settings. Supervision is a core component of effective child and youth care practice in residential settings. The supervision process should ensure at least four continuous dynamics:

  1. Workers are provided with clinical guidance in their practice with children and youth in the every day context of residential care;

  2. The residential setting is fundamentally oriented toward relational practices and the empowerment and participation of young people in their every day experiences;

  3. Practitioners are supported in their experiences of working with very vulnerable young people in such a way that their resilience in relation to compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and burnout are mitigated;

  4. Practitioners have real and meaningful professional development and career planning goals that ensure on-going learning and skills development.

The current approaches to appointing individuals to supervisory positions are ad hoc in most cases and across sectors, with standards and required qualifications either absent or geared solely toward positive performance in front-line positions This is not adequate given the pivotal role of supervisor positions in residential services.


A supervisor certification process must be developed that ensures that anyone appointed to such a position is trained and has demonstrated competence in the following areas of practice:

  1. In-depth understanding of relational practices, including clinical, therapeutic and practice approaches;

  2. Capacity to support and coach front line practitioners in their capacity to deliver high quality services to young people and to maintain their relational engagement within the broader context of empathy;

  3. A thorough understanding of leadership in the context of collaborative team-based approaches to serving young people in residential services.


The Panel envisions a multi-module certification program offered through recognized leaders in the field of child and youth care with clear capacity to offer training for supervisors at the highest possible level.. The minimum education level for the delivery agents of the certification program should be a university-based degree in child and youth care practice. The Panel furthermore recommends that existing supervisors be required to complete the certification process within the first year of its availability; newly hired or promoted supervisors must complete the certification prior to beginning work in formal supervisory positions in any context of residential service provision.

The specific curriculum of such program should be developed in partnership between the field and recognized leaders in the field of child and youth care practice. MCYS should provide leadership in ensuring that a small group of such individuals is constituted in order to proceed with the development of this process as soon as possible.