Pioneer Youth Services Employee Reviews

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Irresponsible at best
Child and Youth Worker (Former Employee) –  Waterloo, ON17 January 2018
Irresponsible is the word. When it comes to pushing medication, taking on youth that the staff are not qualified to help, and overall treatment of staff. The kids do not get the help they need. There is barely any effort put forth to get them the therapies that are are necessary to aid them enough to have a decent life. Violence is so common that a lot of people are desensitized. The kids are great for the most part. The daily staff are great for the most part but are taken advantage of because the management know they actually care. Management is horrible. Only money matters. This is clearly a for profit organization. Knowing the per diem they get for the kids and the overhead for this organization, a lot more could be done for the kids. And it’s just not. The only good thing is the money. I’ll say again. This company is irresponsible.
Pros
Pretty well nothing
Cons
You die a little inside knowing the kids have to live there.
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1:1 Worker
1:1/ Child and Youth Worker (Former Employee) –  Kitchener, ON26 November 2017
Little room for advancement within this company, constant changes within the company. They provide little to no security and stability for both clients and employees. Houses are constantly being closed down with a weeks notice to employees who depend on these pay cheques and face loosing there jobs, and loosing hours!

Management is very unreasonable with expectations from staff, they are rarely if ever in the homes themselves and will not stay to support staff in crisis situations.

As a past employee, I saw a lot that I did not agree with, and was forced to keep my opinions to myself from management.
Pros
Clients are great, good experience, pay is decent
Cons
no room for advancement, will see lots of things you may not agree with
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Boys House
Relief Child and Youth Worker (Current Employee) –  Waterloo, ON30 October 2017
It really is a fantastic place to work. This past year has taught me so much as a CYW. The most enjoyable thing is being able to sit around on the weekend and just hang out and watch movies or play video games to help build our rapport.
Pros
Great learning experience
Cons
Drama
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Basically a holding facility
Full time front line (Former Employee) –  Queens, Albert22 October 2017
What else can I say. There is so little therapy going on here it's sad. The supervisors have no professional qualifications, they are just full time staff who never got fired. There is a reason why only a few CAS's will use PYS (and no local ones). They have a terrible rep and are a resume stain. Anyone with any skills gets out ASAP. I mean short term, the money is fine. Long term- there are so many other options that are much better in terms of professional support, job satisfaction and management professionalism.
Pros
Wages, some flexibility with hours
Cons
Almost everything else
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Demanding job
Child and Youth Worker (Former Employee) –  Waterloo, ON27 August 2017
Sometimes rewarding and sometimes very difficult place to work. Its been many years since I worked there so I hope things have changes drastically. Great group of employees.
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Busy Workplace
Child and Youth Worker (Current Employee) –  Waterloo, ON17 August 2017
Learnt a lot in my many years in multiple different positions. Great staff to work with, many different challenges faced daily. Excellent learning opportunity.
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Toxic work environment
CYW (Former Employee) –  Kitchener-Waterloo, ON5 August 2017
Working for PYS had its benefits and its drawbacks. Management very inexperienced, uneducated, little to no communication skills, stress levels amongst workers very high. Many conflicts, poor coping mechanisms with youth. CBT would of been an ideal approach. No therapeutic interventions. Youth leaving have next to no life skills. Many youth were placed in our care due to neglectful situations at home. Abuse and alcohol, drug issues, maltreatment. Large turn over of staff and closures of residential homes does not give staff job security by any means.
Pros
Free meals, paid for breaks, got to leave property
Cons
Long hours
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Life with 8 Austic Teenage Males
one to one (Former Employee) –  kitchener, ON19 March 2017
A typical day at Pioneer Youth Services consists of general household responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, shopping for groceries or needs for the individual clients, as well as laundry. The clients that I serviced were absolutely the most wonderful young men I have ever met. Like most houses and clients you have your "up" days and also your "down" days but every day is another chance to make a difference in our clients lives.
The gentleman I woked with needed alot of assistance with his personal day, ie. getting dress, toileting and supervision but each day I encouraged him to put his toast in the toaster, and lead a more independant life. On special outtings, my client enjoyed swimming but would drop his body to the ground and refuse to walk to the car. Many times we would wait for him to decide to move or provide creative way to get him to the car. One place WalMart offer a wheel chair for clients that struggle with walking issues.

The management were helpful with individual review offered every six weeks. The staff that I worked with were amazing! Some staff had different approaches to our clients, some worked, some not so much but each staff came with their special ability and we had some amazing suppers, and outtings.

I think the hardest part of my job was shifts when staff moved on from the company and having to break in a new staff member.

The most enjoyable part of the job is coming in and seeing their smiling faces, working to see that moment when they get something or just knowing you made a difference in their lives.

I really enjoyed these boys,
  more... for me it was like going home each day. As each boy moved to adult residence, it was good to know that each of them were so individual and special.  less
Pros
great outtings, share lots of laughs, singing
Cons
long hours, the drive from Woodstock to Kitchener, Waterloo
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Great people, great youth
Front-line CYW (Current Employee) –  Kitchener-Waterloo, ON19 March 2017
I come into work everyday with a plan "A" and a plan "B." Keeping the kids busy is key to running a successful shift. The most important part of this job is keeping the kids safe. That means supervising them. Engaging the kids in activities that they enjoy, participating "with" them to show support and model appropriate social behaviour is part of the treatment plan. Structured and predictable environment is something these kids have not previously experienced in their family home. For example: having a healthy breakfast in the morning may not have been an option in the family home, at PYS kids are expected to come to the breakfast table because its healthy and social. Workers eat with the kids to help kids learn portions, make healthy choices, use manners and engage in appropriate conversation.
Building a rapport with the youth can be challenging but not impossible. They sense your passion and they sense apprehension. We try to help the kids to feel safe by showing them even when they are completely out of control, we are in control and neutral. We don't work with "bad" kids we work with kids who suffer from significant mental health symptoms. They have experienced trauma and extreme rejection from the very people who were supposed to care for them. Before they were even born they may exposed to drugs and alcohol and now struggle with the effects of a damaged brain.
I come to work everyday knowing the risks of their impulsive, and sometimes/often angry behaviour. It takes great people to work with the clients at Pioneer. Skilled, patient, flexible, non-judgmental, energetic,
  more... thoughtful, mindful, considerate, kind, forgiving, and passionate. I am so thankful for the staff in this agency that I work along side of who really do care. There are so many fantastic people who give so much of themselves to make a difference for these kids.  less
Pros
Directly supporting youth with mental health diagnosis
Cons
Employees that engage in negativity (doesn't help anyone)
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Unprofessional, toxic work place
CYW (Former Employee) –  Waterloo, ON6 March 2017
I worked at PYS for 3 years for the most part I did enjoy my job working as a contingency employee, and I also did some overnights from other programs which I did enjoy.
Residential treatment can be the most challenging jobs anyone can take, but in a lot of ways it does have its rewards as well. When everyone is working on a multi-disciplinary team, there is collaboration, and the physiological needs of the youth are being met. I did a lot of overnight shifts and for the most part I enjoyed working overnights, and having an office to myself at night, and the kids being settled. I had a routine on how to plan my night on getting my job specifications completed before front line staff came in the morning.
It is sad to say that the program and home I worked at when one of the youth mentioned to me how many staff and supervisors left that program that got me thinking a lot. There wasn't consistency there was a large turn over of staff, and unprofessional ARS that did not know how to run the program, or treat their staff. Communication breakdown was a big issue.
They used and abused me in a lot of ways of running home to home when they were short. One ARS who was outright rude and belligerent because I tried to get a night off because they were short. When I did decide to go in and she was on call she did not even acknowledge me or even have the courtesy to say hello when she saw me at that home. This is the way I was treated by this particular ARS who use to be a front line worker.
Regardless, I was there for the youth and I got the best work experience working
  more... with the youth. I have furthered on my career and thanks to PYS that did give me the experience to advance in my career.
There is a reason why they are looking for staff do your homework before considering employment with PYS.
  less
Pros
Paid breaks, and lunch breaks
Cons
Short notice to take on shifts, being single staff
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Horrible place to work
Overnight worker. Caseworker (Former Employee) –  Waterloo, ON8 February 2017
I chose to let go of my previous position in the child and youth work field to take a chance somewhere new..although the pay is decent and the kids deserve a great team to help them prepare for being discharge to independent living..the supervisors and upper management is absolutely awful...they do not have any staff members safety in mind..there were to many times to count where I was left in a unsafe environment due to be short staffed and no relief..the way all staff were talked to was unacceptable and just down right sad..our jobs are to be role models to these innocent children yet the main supervisor was definately no role model..I worked here for approximately 3mths and there were 5 full time Child and Youth workers who quit due to all of the above...I finally couldn't take it anymore I decided it was best to move forward with another agency..don't apply u will hate it here !
Pros
Decent pay..building relationships with some amazing kids
Cons
Everything else
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Life with 8 Austic Teenage Males
Child and Youth Worker (Former Employee) –  Waterloo, ON14 January 2017
A typical day at Pioneer Youth Services consists of general household responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, shopping for groceries or needs for the individual clients, as well as laundry. The clients that I serviced were absolutely the most wonderful young men I have ever met. Like most houses and clients you have your "up" days and also your "down" days but every day is another chance to make a difference in our clients lives.
The gentleman I woked with needed alot of assistance with his personal day, ie. getting dress, toileting and supervision but each day I encouraged him to put his toast in the toaster, and lead a more independant life. On special outtings, my client enjoyed swimming but would drop his body to the ground and refuse to walk to the car. Many times we would wait for him to decide to move or provide creative way to get him to the car. One place WalMart offer a wheel chair for clients that struggle with walking issues.

The management were helpful with individual review offered every six weeks. The staff that I worked with were amazing! Some staff had different approaches to our clients, some worked, some not so much but each staff came with their special ability and we had some amazing suppers, and outtings.

I think the hardest part of my job was shifts when staff moved on from the company and having to break in a new staff member.

The most enjoyable part of the job is coming in and seeing their smiling faces, working to see that moment when they get something or just knowing you made a difference in their lives.

I really enjoyed
  more... these boys, for me it was like going home each day. As each boy moved to adult residence, it was good to know that each of them were so individual and special.  less
Pros
great outtings, share lots of laughs, singing
Cons
long hours, the drive from Woodstock to Kitchener, Waterloo
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The worst agency I have ever been employed with.
Frontline worker (Former Employee) –  Waterloo, ON29 September 2016
I worked for PYS for a few years, they are unsupportive, have poor management and treat employees terribly. High burn out job. You will never be treated appropriately. Long hours, no breaks (unless you smoke), you will work with highly aggressive clients and incompetent staff and supervisors. Chance of serious injuries, lack of client care, no client treatment. no follow through from management... and the list goes on and on and on...
Pros
You learn where you don't want to work
Cons
Rediculous schedule, basically the entire job
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A good stepping stone for my career, however watch yourself
Child and Youth Worker (Former Employee) –  Wellington North, ON17 August 2016
This was a good stepping stone in my career for the following reasons:

1) I saw lots of extreme behaviours and this help me get desensitized to it. This enabled me to be more confident in how to approach you in my own business that I now run.

2) I learned the importance of documentation....and covering my every move. I learned how manipulative management can be and not to trust them. If the manager likes you they will try to protect you..if not, they will look for way to fire you.

3) I have got hands on experience with behaviour management.

However, management was really unprofessional. I had a mon-fri contract when I first started. I got a phone call one night asking "if we give you more hours will you quit your sat/sun job? I said "no." The next day I got approached by management saying "your contract has changed from Tues-Fri, take it or leave it. Forcing my hand to quit my other job. Now that I know better I would have fought them on that because you can't just up and change a contract around legally. That was just plain unprofessional .....my contract was changed because this manager couldn't fill in Saturdays.

The other thing is......if you breath the wrong way around there you get reprimanded. Management is all about covering themsevles....they won't go to bat for their staff.

When I left the company I know for a fact that Social workers were pulling kids out.......for example at one of the houses all the plates were smashed and the kids were taking turns eating off of one plate for months until a staff member went and bought new
  more... plates for the house....I wonder if that staff was reinbursed for that?

The company could use work on educating for staff. I know for a fact some of the staff they hired has no post-education. Some the housees have children diagnosed with ASD. Staff would benefit from getting educated on Applied Behaviour Anaylises, using data collection to eliminate behaviour,.....(they use BMods which are good but studies show that BMODs need to be faded out so the client doesn't become dependent on it. ) Staff should also get educated on persons with developmental disabilities, co-morbility, psychiatric disorders....genetic disorders (pradar-willie, fragile x, smith magnesis, ), FASD, etc and education on different treatments. A lot of the plans of cares are cut and pasted. I think education for staff and ensuring that this education is implemented into client treatment plans will be helpful in giving children proper treatment.
  less
Pros
Lots of hours, learned a lot, great exposure
Cons
politics
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HORRIBLE place to work.
Child and Youth Worker (Former Employee) –  Kitchener, ON3 August 2016
Working for this company was a nightmare. Their turnover rate is insane, the supervisors never have a clue about what they're doing and have little regard for their staff's safety. I was left on shift, ALONE with 8 high needs and violent teenagers on a regular basis. I have had 2 concussions, cracked ribs and various bruises, bumps and scrapes since working here. The cracked ribs was my breaking point and I finally quit.
Pros
Literally nothing
Cons
Long hours, low pay, no support
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Great Workplace
Human Resources Coordinator (Former Employee) –  Waterloo, ON30 January 2016
Job required multitasking all HR and payroll functions. Administrative work was coupled with employee relations, management support, and liaising with other departments and agencies as needed. Excellent co-workers who all want to give back to the community and help our youth.
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A good organization to work for
full time Child and Youth Worker (Former Employee) –  Waterloo, ON28 January 2016
I was a full time child and youth worker for Pioneer for several years. While I was at Pioneer, I found the salary/benefit to be excellent, almost as good as my husband's who is a teacher. Job security was never in doubt and there were lots of opportunities for advancement providing that you perform well. Management is very supportive. The job culture is the weakness. My peers tend to complain and gossip a lot instead of providing care for the children. I enjoyed working for Pioneer Youth Services and only quit because I was going back to school.
Pros
meals provided, luich hour paid for, excellent salary & benefit
Cons
complaints and gossip among workers
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Great place to work
Human Resources Coordinator (Former Employee) –  Waterloo, ON15 January 2016
Was a great place to work and all the staff have hard jobs but do their best for the children. Senior management team was great and really enjoyed coming to work everyday.
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Learned something new everyday!
Front-line Case Worker (Former Employee) –  KItchener, ON5 January 2016
I was employed at Pioneer Youth Services as a front-line staff. I have recently left this position to relocate.

A typical day at work really depends on what shift your working. As a front-line staff the schedule rotates every 3-4 weeks depending on the residence you work at.

The job requires the staff to work as a team and sometimes independently to assist and support the youth that live in the residences to be successful in completing daily expectations and managing their emotions.

The best part of working in this position was that I was working with youth who experienced a variety of significant mental health issues first hand. I was able to learn how to support them when they were in crisis.

The hardest part of this job is learning to manage paperwork, and other job duties to ensure everything is complete. This job requires you to have excellent time management skills. (Good common sense also helps) The youth's behaviour's on any given shift can be unpredictable and can take time and patience to manage, this can quickly consume the time you have on a shift. Thankfully I was working with a fantastic group of individuals who were very supportive and we all helped each other. I have learned a great deal from my job and from those I worked with.


==
Pros
Good pay - learned lots.
Cons
Only located in Kitchener
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Rewarding -
Residential Supervisor (Current Employee) –  Kitchener, ON30 December 2015
I have worked at PYS for over a decade in many capacities. I have worked in the overnight, relief, front-line, assistant and residential supervisor roles. Residential treatment is one of the most challenging fields of employment that I have ever worked in physically and mentally. However, it is also the most REWARDING.

Pioneer homes are very busy, and no matter what role you take on as an employee the job is demanding. Pioneer deals with challenging clients who can no longer live with biological family or foster families. It takes a team effort to support and manage the youth through their routines/treatment on a daily basis. Keeping youth safe and out of the legal system is a huge part of this job. Collaboration with regional police, psychiatrists, medical doctors/specialists, court agents/probation and family and children's services gives employees exposure to community resources and multidisciplinary approaches for treatment. There's never a dull moment!

Like any job there are pro's and con's to be considered. Each employee is going to have a personal perspective of Pioneer Youth Services because of their own individual experiences within the company. I have seen many people come and go. I also know employees who have been with Pioneer for two decades because they love the job.

Resilience and patience are two of the skills that I am most proud of enhancing through my experiences at Pioneer. If you are looking for employment in the fields of psychology, social work or the legal system I would suggest looking at available job opportunities within this
  more... agency.  less
Pros
Saving our youth!
Cons
NOT and easy job.
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Overall rating

2.7
Based on 35 reviews
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