The Krista Sepp Memorial Award was established in 1991 in memory of Krista Sepp, who lost her life on February 3, 1989 while performing her duties as a Kinark Child and Youth Worker (CYW).  As a young child and later as a CYW, Krista was determined to make a difference. In her work, Krista consistently demonstrated empathy, enthusiasm, idealism, a thirst for knowledge, and a keenness to apply theory to practice. 

In 2004, Krista would have been working in the field of child and youth care for well over a decade and it was determined that to pay tribute to her memory in this regard, two awards would be presented annually.

In 2016, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the awards was celebrated. With the achievement of such a significant milestone, these awards have become recognized as an opportunity to promote the critical role of Child and Youth Care Practitioners in the field of child and youth care across the province. For the past twenty-five years, Kinark Child and Family Services has spearhead these awards, but decided in late 2016 to transfer stewardship of the awards to the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care (OACYC), the provincial association representing Child and Youth Care Practitioners in the province. Beginning June 2017, the Krista Sepp Memorial Awards will be included in the OACYC’s biennial conference and Gala event.

Throughout Ontario, Child and Youth Care Practitioners (CYCPs), also known as Child and Youth Workers, Child Care Workers and Child and Youth Counsellors, play a vital role in the delivery of many programs that help young people and their families deal with complex problems. These Awards were established to honour the qualities Krista brought to the field, to recognize the important contributions of Child and Youth Care Practitioners and to raise awareness of children's mental health issues.  The Awards are presented to CYCPs who have made an exemplary contribution to the field of practice and who exemplify the kind of professional that Krista would have become.

The Krista Sepp Awards provide a forum for annual recognition of the high quality work and dedication of front-line workers across the province and continues to promote awareness of child and youth service and a commitment to service excellence.


Recognizes the work of direct service staff with up to five years of experience working and a diploma or degree in Child and Youth Care Practice or OACYC membership.


Honours the ongoing contributions of direct service staff with more than five years of experience and a diploma or degree in Child and Youth Care Practice or OACYC membership.


The nominator must complete and submit a Nomination Form via email (, which includes a detailed narrative demonstrating achievements in the specified criteria listed below. Only nominations submitted by email will be considered.

Nominations for 2021 TBA.


The selection of the Krista Sepp Memorial Awards recipients will be conducted by a Selection Committee.
The Selection Committee is comprised of individuals who hold senior positions in child and youth serving organizations located across the province.

The Committee will consider all nominations based on the following criteria:

Enthusiasm, in the workplace with peers and clients.
Empathy, toward co-workers, clients and community
Creativity, in providing service to children and youth.
Initiative, in striving to make a difference for children and youth

NOTE - If you are nominating an individual for the MENTORING AWARD please include in your narrative a description and examples of how the nominee has demonstrated a leadership role in their respective agency/organization, and in particular as a mentor to colleagues.


All nominees must work directly with children and/or youth and their families providing case management, education or counselling (individual, group, family or health) services in Ontario. The work place may include but is not limited to residential, day treatment or in-home services.
Nominees for the HORIZON AWARD will have worked in the field for up to five years
Nominees for the MENTORING AWARD will have worked in the field for a period of more than five years

All nominees must hold at least one of the following:   

- Child and Youth Care Diploma (CCW, CYW, CYC) from a Canadian College of Applied Arts and Technology
- Bachelor Degree in Child and Youth Care from a specialized Canadian Institute or recognized University/College
- If the nominee does not hold one of the above noted diplomas / degrees, membership in the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care (OACYC)* is required.

*Membership to the OACYC enables practitioners who do not have a diploma or degree in the field but who are working in the CYC/CYW role the opportunity to be eligible for a Krista Sepp Memorial Award. To learn more about the OACYC membership please click here or email

Please note: The process of joining the OACYC may take up to three weeks to complete. Note on your nomination form that you have submitted to become a member for faster processing.  


The Nomination Period for 2021 - TBA
The Selection Committee is supplied with all completed Nomination Packages by - TBA
Each Committee member scores each nomination with a number from 1-5 (Five being the highest)
The nominee with the highest score, will be awarded the Krista Sepp award
Winners will be notified by - TBA

For more information about the Krista Sepp Awards, please email or phone (416) 621-4340 or toll free 1-888-367-7193.