You are now in the main content area

Rebecca Ward-Bernst

Contract Lecturer
EducationBA, MA

Child and Youth Care (CYC) is my passion. Finding Child and Youth Care was like finding home. Relating to others in ways that promotes growth, development and strengths is my natural inclination, and at the core of CYC. These exact relational dynamics fostered my own development as a CYC student and professional - they still do. I have had remarkable experiences of mentorship with some of the most skilled and knowledgeable CYC practitioners in this country, and abroad. My commitment to CYC remains unwavering, as does my commitment toward Reconciliation. I continue to create opportunities for my students lives to be shaped by these same leaders, while creating exceptional learning opportunities in my classrooms.

Fostering learning in CYC practice is incredibly rewarding. Being involved in a student’s journey, to better understand themselves including their strengths and sense of resilience, is a gift. Creating opportunities for students to develop skills and capacities,  to support some of the most marginalized young people, is beyond rewarding. Learning is also a process in which both parties develop and grow. I am learning with my students all the time.

I graduated from Malaspina University College (Now Vancouver Island University) with both a diploma in CYC and then a Bachelors degree in CYC (1995 and 1999). In 2005, I graduated from the University of Victoria, with a Masters degree in CYC.

Prior to finding my passion for teaching, I worked as a CYC professional (frontline, management and training) for 20 years. My experience is rich and varied and includes exposure to most service sectors (Addictions, Children’s Mental Health, Youth Justice, School-Based, Early Intervention, and Child Welfare) in my quest to support children and families in finding the resources they need to reach their potential. My area of interest has been in assisting youth and students in celebrating their sense of resilience and strengths, in attempt to uncover their potential and manage reactivity in practice.

I have taught as a part time faculty for the school of CYC at Toronto Metropolitan University since, 2007 (Courses taught include: CYC 505, CYC 347, CYC 602, CYC 605, CY 605 Advocacy, and CY 48A/B). Since 2008, I have also been a full-time faculty member with Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario. From 2014 until 2018, I was a provincial  Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care board member, where I focussed my time on the professionalization of Child and Youth Care through research and legislation processes. I continue to publish in CYC and pursue conference presentation opportunities.

Nominated, Lt. Governor General  Silver Medal Award (2005).  University of Victoria, Victoria B.C.

Ward, R.  (2013).  The Importance of Congruence in Child and Youth Care Education, Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, 26(3)

Ward, R. & Macarthur. W. (2015) Podcast: Anti-Oppression in Child and Youth Care.  C2Y Podcast

Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care (2015). Safe Guarding the Other 23 Hours: Legislation of Child and Youth Care Practice in Ontario. Retrieved from:

OACYC Provincial Award of Excellence (2016), Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care. Retrieved from:

Ward, R. (2016) Congruence and Collective Meaning Making of Relational CYC Practice, CYC Online Journal, (214)

Ward, R.  (2016). Can Professionalization Legitimize Relational Child and Youth Care as a Best Practice? Relational Child & Youth Care Practice, 29(4)

Contact details