Youth Justice

The Youth Justice program prepares students to work alongside young people who face multiple vulnerabilities.  Through a combination of Criminology and Child and Youth Care courses that blend theory and practice, you will learn how to be attentive and responsive to the unique needs of young people and to reflect on your relational practice to continually develop as a youth worker.  Youth workers engage with young people in a variety of contexts – schools, community centres, custody centres, residential services, mentorship programs, social service agencies – to support varied and often intersecting challenges – mental health, trauma, substance use, criminal justice involvement, being unhoused or transient, and limited connection to positive, stable supports – in a holistic way.  We critically examine how historical, social, cultural, political, and economic systems shape the development of young people in families and communities.       

Our mission is to develop reflective, ethical, and effective youth justice workers, who are empathic, self-aware, relational, and demonstrate strong critical thinking skills to navigate the complex and dynamic responsibilities of youth work.

The Youth Justice diploma prepares students to work in the field of youth justice and/or to continue with related educational opportunities (e.g., Bachelor of Arts degrees in Criminology or Child and Youth Care, Bachelor of Social Work degree).  Upon successful completion of the program, our students should be able to:

  • Illustrate self-awareness and apply personal and professional values to ethical and effective practice.
  • Use developing literacies (reading, writing, disciplinary, digital) appropriately in practice. 
  • Demonstrate interpersonal relational skills, sensitivity, and openness to the experiences and perspectives of others.
  • Apply critical thinking skills to allow for purposeful and intentional practice in novel and complex situations. 
  • Actively integrate learning into practice and demonstrate curiosity and commitment to ongoing learning and development. 

Program Highlights

Unique Program

Unique in British Columbia, Douglas College’s two-year Youth Justice program blends studies in child and youth counselling, criminology and youth justice, with a focus on behaviour theory, public policy, skill development and professional practice, as they relate to youth and the youth justice system.

Hands-On Experience

You’ll put what you learn in the classroom into practice through two practicum placements at social-service and other agencies, where you’ll also develop your understanding of the roles professionals play in real-world settings.


Demand for grads with a credential in youth justice studies is high. Once you graduate, you can expect to find employment in social-service, government, health, school and justice-system settings.


Advancement Opportunities

If you want to complete a bachelor’s degree, the diploma will allow you to enter the third year of Royal Roads University’s Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies program or Douglas College’s Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care, or the second year of Douglas’s Bachelor of Social Work. You can also complete additional courses to enter into Douglas College's Bachelor of Applied Criminology.

We recommend that students applying for fall intake submit their applications and accompanying documentation as early as possible for consideration; our first review of applications occurs in January.


Student Success Story

Persistence helped Youth Justice grad Gloria Shen embark on her dream career.

Student Success Story Gloria Shen Landscape

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Application Requirement Change

The 60 hours of volunteer/work experience hours, normally required for application, have been temporarily suspended and two Reference Documents can be submitted instead. Please find the reference form on the right of this page or email for it to be sent to you for your reference to fill out.

For information regarding applications, program delivery, or any other questions regarding the Youth Justice Diploma Program, email

Want More Information?

For information about admission requirements, courses, intake dates and more, visit the Program and Course Catalogue.
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