Youth Justice Worker: Practicum I

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
YJWD 1240
Youth Justice Worker: Practicum I
Youth Justice
Applied Community Studies
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
5 weeks in block format.
Max Class Size
30 ratio 1/8.5
Contact Hours
140 hours practicum per semester 10 hours seminar per semester
Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities
  1. Community placement and supervision
  2. Seminar
Course Description
This course will provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate an ability to translate theory into practice. Each student will spend 140 hours in a youth justice professional work site under the supervision of the practicum supervisor and site manager. A series of integrative seminars (10 hours) will complement the site experience and allow students the opportunity to critically evaluate their experiences working with youth in the justice system.
Course Content

Learning Experience 1: Provide a written overview of a client’s involvement with the criminal justice systems (both formal and informal) from earliest contact to date.

Your account should outline the following:

  • All criminal justice agencies
  • All social service agencies

Your account should follow the client through the system and should also critically evaluate the following “systems” issues as related to your client:

  • Early intervention
  • System Barriers
  • Cross-agency communication
  • Service duplication and service gaps

Learning Experience 2: Site Research and Observation.

This learning experience is designed to help you become familiar with the policies and procedures of your practicum setting and how those policies and procedures impact on the clients it serves.

Part A

  • You are to review the structure, mandate, history, philosophy, policies, job descriptions and protocols regarding confidentiality. You are also to review the emergency procedures of the site.

Part B

  • In written form describe:
    • procedures you would follow in case of a fire/earthquake
    • how the physical set up and environment of the site relates to the services it provides
    • from the client’s perspective, the process of involvement in the agency from first contact to last contact
    • a situation you have dealt with in which you were required to implement agency policy or procedures

Learning Experience 3: Problem Solving.

The role of a Youth Justice worker is often a challenging one. As much as we plan and prepare, our clients often have their own agendas. This learning experience asks you to focus on an experience during your practicum where you had to deal with a crisis and problem solve creatively.

In written form describe the situation including:

  • the context and description of what happened
  • what your concerns were during the incident
  • what you were feeling before, during and after the incident
  • what was most stressful for you during the incident
  • how you would handle a similar situation in the future
  • what you have learned about your ability to function during a crisis

    Learning Experience 4: Personal Wellness.

    This learning experience is designed to help you consider the impact of personal wellness practices and values on either your own coping skills or those of a client. You may select one of the options outlined below.

    Option A: Select a situation from your practicum experience where you feel that your personal wellness practices influenced your actions.

    In written form describe the situation including:

    • the context and sequence of events
    • how your personal wellness practices influenced your actions
    • what your concerns were
    • what you found particularly significant about the situation

      Option B: Select a client who is struggling with an area of balance in his/her life.

      In written form describe the situation including:

      • what the issue(s) of balance is(are)
      • your understanding of how the imbalance was created
      • a plan to aid the client to achieve balance.  (You do not have to implement your plan but you should describe how you would implement it.)

        Learning Experience 5: Helping skills with individuals


        • This learning experience will allow the student to demonstrate an ability to view the world of a youth through the eyes of that youth and to effectively communicate that understanding to both the client and to the student’s supervisor.


        1. Tuning-in
          • Based on file information, conversations with the client, and discussions of the client with co-workers, parents and other professionals involved with the client, the student will construct an understanding or image of how the client views his or her current life circumstances and how he or she feels about these circumstances.
        2. Final Evaluation
          • Working from prepared notes: (please be prepared to share these with your site and college supervisors upon request)
          • Identify specific examples of where the student has utilized the following skills in working effectively with the client: active listening, primary accurate empathy, advanced accurate empathy (e.g., putting client’s feelings into words), partializing, responding directly to indirect cues, confrontation/demand for work, moving from the general to the specific and checking for underlying ambivalence.
          • While recognizing that all of the above skills may not be utilized in any given working relationship, the student should attempt to identify and illustrate as many as possible.

        Leaning Experience 6: Practice philosophy

        Even as a beginning Youth Justice Worker, you are working from a set of beliefs, values, assumptions and experiences that determine what you will do in any situation. The purpose of this learning experience is to help you make those factors explicit. The question you need to consider here is not what you do; but why you do what you do. The clearer you can be about your own underlying assumptions the more you will be able to keep your practice open to change and growth.

        1. Part one:
          •  Before your practicum begins write two or three paragraphs describing what you see as your beliefs, values and assumptions and how they relate to your practice. Describe what you see as the function of the Youth Justice Worker in relation to the needs of the client.
        2. Part two:
          • Select two situations from your practicum experience; one that supported your practice philosophy and one that challenged it.  Describe in writing; the setting and events
          • how the situation either challenged or supported your practice philosophy
          • any changes to your practice philosophy that resulted from the situation
        Learning Outcomes

        This course will integrate into practice theory from courses in Semesters I of the Youth Justice Department: 

        1. Learning from experience is a characteristic of exceptional practitioners.  Practicum settings create opportunities for students to refine their skills of reflection and adaptation in response to their practice experience.
        2. Learning in a practicum setting provides opportunities to examine assumptions and to explore creative modes of inquiry that are not available in classroom settings.
        3. Field settings provide opportunities to synthesize personal, classroom, and previous practicum/work experiences and create openings for new learning.  Learners gain both insight and practice knowledge from field experiences.
        4. Observing, participating with, and receiving guidance from experienced practitioners is crucial for effective practice.
        5. Practitioners who regularly and accurately assess their performance and who set goals for their ongoing professional development are effective in their work.
        6. Knowledge shapes practice and practice shapes knowledge.  Learning from the previous practicum and the classroom are reflected in current practice.
        7. Experience in the field settings allows learners the opportunity to demonstrate and enhance their abilities to problem solve, be flexible, think creatively and take responsibility for their actions.   It provides them the opportunity to demonstrate increased skill and initiative.
        8. Reflecting on and evaluating  practicum experiences with peers, mentors and instructors maximizes field based learning experiences.
        Means of Assessment

        Selection of evaluation and assessment tools for this course will be based on:

        1. Adherence to college evaluation policy regarding number and weighting of evaluations, i.e., a course of three credits or more should include at least three separate evaluations.
        2. A combination of evaluation instruments that includes opportunities for students to demonstrate different ways of knowing, i.e., oral, individual, group, narrative, research
        3. A developmental approach to evaluation that is sequenced and progressive
        4. Evaluation being used as a teaching and learning tool for both students and instructors
        5. Commitment to student participation in evaluation through such processes such as self and peer evaluation, participation in instrument design and program/instruction evaluation.
        6. Evaluation on this practicum is two staged and designed to produce a letter grade in accordance with Douglas College grading policy.

        Stage I: An evaluation of the student’s ability to meet basic work expectations. The mastery level for this stage is 80% (32/40). This stage is valued at 40% of the student’s final grade.

        Stage II: Providing the conditions are successfully met in Stage I, the student’s final grade will be arrived at by adding the mark achieved in the Basic Work Expectations to the mark achieved in the learning experiences. This stage is valued at 60% of the student’s final grade.

        Textbook Materials

        No text required


        YJWD 100 or YJWD 1100 (concurrent) or Department Permission

        Which Prerequisite