The 1992 meeting of the International Child and Youth Care Education Consortium adopted the following definitions of child and youth care practice:
Professional Child and Youth Care practice focuses on the infant, child and adolescent, both normal and with special needs, within the context of the family, the community and the life span. The developmental-ecological perspective emphasizes the interaction between persons and the physical and social environments, including cultural and political settings.
Professional practitioners promote the optimal development of children, youth and their families in a variety of settings, such as early care and education, community-based child and youth development programs, parent education and family support, school-based programs, community mental health, group homes, residential centers, rehabilitation programs, pediatric health care and juvenile justice programs.
Child and Youth Care practice includes skills in assessing client and program needs, designing and implementing programs and planned environments, integrating developmental, preventive and therapeutic requirements into the life space, contributing to the development of knowledge and professions, and participating in systems interventions through direct care, supervision, administration, teaching, research, consultation and advocacy.