Sexual Health and Sexuality Education in Child and Youth Care Curriculum




Gray, Angelina

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In higher education, sexual health and sexuality education (SHSE) topics are clearly absent from the curriculum in the human services field. With many competing priorities in these fields to offer rich and broad educational opportunities for developing practitioners, SHSE is often not prioritized. This thesis seeks to understand how SHSE is being taken up in the Child and Youth Care (CYC) undergraduate curriculum. The CYC undergraduate program develops practitioners that work with children, youth, and families across the lifespan, often working in schools, recreation centres, and social services. The inclusion of SHSE content in their program will help support competencies in these emerging practitioners. An intersectional, feminist, queer orientation informed the lens in which this research was undertaken, employing a qualitative, multilayered approach to analysis. Findings show strengths in the curriculum in areas of gender and sexuality, and identify gaps in discourses of pleasure, a continued focus on the risk factors associated with youth sexual activity, and identify many opportunities for enriching the curriculum to align more closely with UNESCO’s International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education. Supporting the inclusion of sexual health and sexuality education content in the CYC program will help practitioners fill in potential gaps in their own learning, and increase their ability to support the SHSE needs of their clients.



Sexual health, Sexuality, Curriculum, Child and Youth Care, Pleasure, Queer