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5 Powerful Tips for Supporting Young People with Addictions

By October 27, 2023November 16th, 2023No Comments
Child and Youth Care Worker

The role you play as a Child & Youth Care with Addictions Support Worker can change, even save, someone’s life.

If you have a calling to become a family support worker, then the training you’ll receive in an addictions support worker program/youth service worker course, will provide a detailed and solid foundation for understanding and empowering young people and their families to systematically deal with addictions. But having a brief overview of the key areas to cover when looking to support a youth with these difficult challenges, can allow you to recognize if this career path is one for you.

This work in the world is essential and rewarding but takes a special kind of dedication. A review of these strategies, we hope, offers insight and empowers you to make an informed choice, in a training program and in the college you need to encourage you in the process of study and hands-on training.

5 Powerful Tips for Supporting Young People with Addictions


1. Self Educate & Self Care

  • In order to truly support someone else, we must be informed ourselves. The first step to being able to help another is immersing ourselves in understanding what addiction truly is, why it happens, the type of program and support that will be most effective and how to connect that youth with the resources and team they need. The more complex the situation, the more strategies and support that young person will require.
  • Your job, initially, is to learn all you can and then create a solid plan for how you will approach the situation for the best possible outcome.
  • Learn all you can about the various types of addiction; what the signs and symptoms are; how to approach and discuss the addiction with the individual and the family; how to communicate in the short- and long-term; and, the most effective treatment and support plans that can lead to success over time.
  • A mental health support worker program will not only walk you through this first step, but it will also hit home the necessity for self care. As a professional who will extend, not only your expertise but your heart to those you serve overtime, you will need to have strategies and to make a commitment to care for yourself throughout your career.

2. Address the Addiction Directly

  • A conversation with a youth experiencing addiction is a delicate one and must be considered and delivered consciously.
  • Speaking, and encouraging loved ones to speak, honestly about concerns and feelings, listening even when not in agreement, offering compassionate support and giving them an idea of the plan that will be developed to help them, all go a long way to creating a safe environment and building trust.
  • You’ll need to be prepared for denial and resistance but ensure the communication by all parties remains respectful, at all times. And you’ll certainly need to communicate to them and to their loved ones that it didn’t take one day to create the addiction and it won’t take one day to fix it. Expressing that you’ll be working with them on short- and long-range goals and strategies will help them to understand and prepare themselves for the work-to-heal ahead.

3. Develop the Right Program with the Right Resources

  • In an assistant youth worker program, you’ll learn about the various types of program options to best support that young person through their addiction.
  • Depending on the type of addiction and the psychological, social, emotional and physical challenges the youth is facing, you’ll need to determine the options that are right for them. Programs can cover some or all of the following options: crisis support for those needing immediate attention; detox to purge the body of drugs, manage withdrawal and gain stability; mental health care to determine and support the healing required; individual, group and family counselling; medication treatment to support withdrawal or recurring disorders; and, support groups for ongoing sobriety and success.

4. Treatment Centre Recommendations

  • In some cases, the best course of treatment is to recommend an environment that can support the young person through the process of overcoming their addiction. Within your Child & Youth Care with Addictions Support Worker (CYC) program you will learn about the treatment centres in your area and work alongside other professionals in your community to provide comprehensive services.
  • When considering a treatment centre the Canadian Mental Health Association asks us to consider these essential questions:
    • Is there a match between what the young person is hoping for and what the service offers?
    • Is the wait time manageable?
    • Is the service convenient—for example, located in your neighbourhood or available by transit?
    • Is the service affordable?
    • Is the young person available and willing to get treatment?

5. Create and Support Treatment Plans that Best Serve

  • A leading-edge CYC program will provide you with the knowledge and hands-on training to assess and implement appropriate prevention and intervention strategies aimed to inspire real and lasting change.
  • After assessing the needs of the young person you will then provide counsel and support, and develop strategies to foster healthy child development, address family dynamics and addiction. You will also work in close collaboration with other professionals in your field including medical and social workers, educators, correctional staff, and community partners.
  • Once an effective strategy has been identified, you will continue to work alongside the youth as they require support, helping them to manage their expectations and provide encouragement to them, and to their loved ones, with the hope that you will also be celebrating milestones in healing all along the way.


As you can imagine, working with young people with addictions takes a tremendous amount of courage, strength of character and mental, emotional, and physical stamina. But for someone who truly wants to help others and experience the tangible rewards of making a powerful difference in the lives of children and youth, and in the community, this career path could be for you.

If you’re still exploring your options, take the “Anderson College Child & Youth Care with Addictions Support Worker Discovery Quiz”.

If you’re ready to launch your Child & Youth Care with Addictions Support Worker career, we’re here to support YOU, all along the way. Why not book a virtual appointment with our Admissions team and join the next class? You don’t want to wait a moment when starting your first, or next, incredible career.

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