Shelter Worker Training 


The following courses were selected from both Prevention and Group Home Core Training Programs as potential courses for shelter workers. The curriculum was adapted to meet specific needs of shelter workers. Shelter training will eventually be further developed to include men’s shelters.

Shelter Worker Training consists of 8 current courses:

  • Communication Skills – 2 Days

  • Managing Multiple Priorities – 1 Day

  • Engaging Clients using Therapeutic Interventions- 1 Day

  • Grief and Loss- 2 Days

  • Documentation Skills- 1 Day *New 

  • Crisis Management - 2 Days *New  

  • Professional Boundaries and Confidentiaity- 2 Days 

  • Working with Adults and Children who have witnessed and experience violence- 3 Days

Click here for your printable course description (pdf)


Communication Skills (2 days) 

This two-day course will focus on basic communication skills for Shelter Workers. Participants will examine their own communication styles; learn key elements of communication, including listening with empathy, responding with patience, and impacts of non-verbal communication; apply effective communication skills to build positive relationships; and using impactful communication skills when dealing with difficult or resistant clients or during crisis or conflicts.


Managing Multiple Priorities (1 day)

This one-day module has been developed to provide suggestions about managing time. Time management skills often include managing conflicting priorities and dealing with instant challenges that happen in shelters every day. Suggestions are provided for setting priorities, getting organized, managing your time, and achieving your agencies’ goals.


Shelter Documentation (1 day)

This one day course focuses on identification and application of effective observation, communication, and report writing skills, including an understanding of applicable terminology. Participants will create and complete files routinely required in a shelter setting. Participants will learn file management, documenting client and worker activities, and case planning. The course will teach the key elements required for writing clear, concise, and detailed reports including an understanding of opinion, objective and subjective comments and perspectives. The one day course will also demonstrate competency in identifying situations requiring completion of critical incident reports (E.g., death, injury, sexual/physical abuse).


Engaging Clients through Therapeutic Interventions (1 day)

This one-day course focuses on multiple ways of engaging shelter clients to assist in creating healthy, safe, helping environments. Participants will learn about the goal of therapeutic interventions, some basic interventions such as art therapy, play therapy and animal therapy, and how these can be beneficial for engaging clients, children, and youth in relationship development. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss and practice skills in building respectful relationships.


Mental Health First Aid – Adults Working with Youth (2 days)

This two-day course focuses on mental disorders and crisis first aid skills specifically for adults working with youth. The course focuses on mental disorders including, but not limited to:  mood, anxiety, eating disorders, and psychotic disorders. The course also discusses stigma and discrimination as well as five basic actions of mental health first aid. Each participant that completes this course receives a certificate from Mental Health First Aid Canada.


Professional Boundaries and Confidentiality (2 days)

This two-day course is designed to engage participants to explore ethics, values, and boundaries within their personal and professional lives. Participants will look at how ethics, values, and boundaries impact the clients they work with, as well as explore how to handle situations where ethics, values, and boundaries may come into conflict. Participants will demonstrate knowledge and skills in handling confidentiality issues, boundary conflicts, and dual/multiple relationships that can arise in a shelter setting, including their on-line presence and social media.


Supporting Individuals who Experienced Violent Episodes (3 days)

This three-day course is developed to assist shelter staff with the different types of violence that men, women, children, and youth may have witnessed and experienced. This includes

  • family/domestic violence and abuses

  • intimate partner violence and abuses

  • child abuse

  • sexual abuse

  • drug/alcohol/substance abuse

These types of violence are discussed in a relevant and current context that supports the learner to better understand the clients they are working with. It will assist the learner to understand the prevalence and impact of the violence that happens on our communities as well as the trauma the client is dealing with. The course will give the participants the tools necessary to develop trusting relationships as a means of better understanding clients and their children and move to a place of support for them.


Grief and Loss (2 days)

This two-day course is designed to introduce participants to the role of the group home worker in providing grief and loss support to clients, children, and youth. Participants will demonstrate knowledge and skills to support shelter residents who may be experiencing grief and loss. Participants will also examine their own grieving process and the importance of modelling positive, healthy grief and loss recovery for others.


Culture & Diversity (2 days)

This two-day course is designed to be led by Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and course participants. A general list of teaching and information were identified by the First Nations Prevention Working Group and the First Nations Group Home Curriculum Development Committee to assist the structuring of the course. Depending upon the Elders and Knowledge Keepers and their expertise, topics may include: history, storytelling worldviews, sacred circles, tipi teachings, animals and their significance in teaching values, oral traditions, protocols, plants and medicines, treaties, diversity, etc.


Crisis Management and Support in a Shelter (2 days)

This two-day course provides an opportunity for learners to gain a broad range of essential crisis management and support skills. This includes awareness and responses to the various stages of the Crisis Cycle and techniques to reduce conflict and violence in a shelter setting.  The learners will develop a ‘tool kit’ of behavioral management skills and best practices so they can effectively work with shelter clients and their family members.


For more information please contact:

Juanita Wolfe, Learning Operations Consultant

Carrie Shingoose, Learning Operations Coordinator