Interested in Childhood and Youth Services (CYS) at King's? Visit our Future CYS Students page to learn more.

The Childhood and Youth Studies (CYS) department focuses on often-overlooked child competencies, with questions about our understandings of childhood, and an exploration of the changing status of children and childhood in Canada and internationally. We take a critical view of the social institutions around childhood, such as the home, schools, and the legal system. Issues of children as advocates, children’s rights and children’s agency feature prominently in our courses. Students will deepen their knowledge in the subject area and will gain skills in critical thinking and social and historical analysis, as well as understanding how childhood is experienced by children.

Courses and topics in the CYS department are focused in two core areas: rights and advocacy, and law and policy. Students can draw from either or both areas to extend their knowledge.

The department is open to any student at King's who meets the admission requirements. Students registered in the degree program have the opportunity to earn a certificate in the following areas:

Certificate in Childhood and the Justice System: In the past decade, there have been significant changes in the legal status of children in Canada in both civil and criminal law. This program examines those changes and what they mean for court practices and procedures, as well as the supports required to implement the new legal developments.

Certificate in Advocacy and Childhood: Child advocacy is a growing field within Canada and around the world, with Child and Youth advocacy offices in each province, and many agencies that work with children and youth performing advocacy activities. This course of study examines ways of increasing child engagement in advocacy environments while meeting mandated child protection and provision requirements and addressing international commitments to children’s rights.

Topics covered in the program include
  • Children's experiences of everyday spaces (from home to school to justice settings)
  • Children's rights in Canada and internationally
  • History and politics of childhood
  • Youth criminal justice; divorce and separation
  • Facilitating advocacy with children
  • Media, peer relations and play
  • Indigeneity and race
  • Children saving the world
Opportunities for international student exchange

We have exchange agreements with Malmö University in Sweden and with the University of Winchester in England. 

Potential career paths

Many of our students take further studies after graduation – for example, in the health field, or in law – and many go on to study education. Other potential paths include professional careers in social policy, social work, the non-profit sector or academia.


Student Testimonials