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National Resource Center for Youth Services: Residential Child and Youth Care Professional Certification


Residential Child and Youth Care Professional National Certification

Any professional who has completed the Residential Child and Youth Care Professional (RCYCP) training course under the guidance of a certified RCYCP Trainer is eligible to test for our nationally-recognized certification as a Residential Child and Youth Care Professional.


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Why should your staff be certified?

The influence of direct care staff in your organization cannot be overestimated. Your direct care staff have the most interactions with the children and youth you serve. Their ability to be effective in their work is key to fulfilling your organization’s mission to help children and youth recover and grow into thriving adults. The success of your organization depends largely on your direct care staff’s knowledge, skills, and abilities to:

  • Build meaningful relationships with children and youth
  • Assist children and youth in getting their needs met
  • Help children and youth learn and practice important developmental skills
  • Understand the current best practices for the field of youth and family services

Certification of your staff means that they will maintain a common knowledge base and philosophy of care that is consistent with national trends and practices.  

Having a certification program for direct staff also means recognizable proficiency and commitment to quality care to placement organizations, licensing and accreditation agencies, funding sources, and the community at large.

Direct care is an important job and should be considered an important profession. Offering certification for your staff shows the value you place on the role of direct care employees and helps your direct care staff experience full inclusion in the multi-disciplinary team approach that is common in today’s youth service programming.

Why should you be certified?

Certification provides recognizable professional status; it clearly denotes the skills you have learned and your commitment to your professional growth.  

Undergoing a certification process can build confidence in your competencies and demonstrates your proficiency to the people with whom you work. It helps you feel assured that the work you do is in line with current best practice for the field.  

Most importantly, it will benefit the children and youth with whom you work. 

Who is Eligible?

Any professional whose main duties include the direct care and development of children and youth. Examples include:

Residential treatment/acute care, youth shelters, detention/secure care, congregate care, therapeutic foster care, specialized community care, out-of-school time programs, and educational/training programs.

What Does it Cost?

A fee of $30 per worker is required at the time of application for certification testing. Trainers can pay online, using the Online Payment link within the trainers login area, or by phone. This fee includes two opportunities to take and successfully complete the certification exam, maintenance of certification records, and a Certificate of Achievement from The University of Oklahoma.

How Does it Work?

Step 1: Read the Residential Child and Youth Care Professional book.

Step 2: Attend the Residential Child and Youth Care Professional training program led by an NRCYS certified trainer and build your knowledge and skills in each of the four modules.

Step 3: Have your trainer assist you with registering online and pay the application fee.

Step 4: Complete the certification exam and pass with at least 80%.

Step 5: Maintain your certification by submitting at least 12 clock hours of Continuing Education related to child and youth care practice.

Have more questions?

For technical assistance related to applying for or maintaining your RCYCP certification, contact our support staff at (800) 274-2687 or email Margaret Miranda at

For more details about the RCYCP certification process or how to incorporate the RCYCP training course as part of your organization’s staff development plan, or to discuss other complimentary training for youth care professionals, call us at (800) 274-2687 or email us at

The University of Oklahoma OUTREACH National Resource Center for Youth Services
5727 S. Lewis Ave., 2nd Floor, Tulsa OK 74105-7146 | (800) 274-2687

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