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Department of Youth Services Youth Specialist (YS)

Becoming a Youth Specialist

Juvenile Correctional Officers (JCO) are now Youth Specialists (YS). This new title reflects the importance of their presence in the facilities and allows for greater participation in activities and programs for youth, Interdisciplinary Teams (IDT), training and skill building. 

ROLES OF THE YOUTH SPECIALIST

Educator: The Youth Specialist supports the youth’s educational goals and encourages youth to engage in lifelong learning. This could be demonstrated through activities such as assisting youth in completing college applications and leading personal growth and development activities.

Role Model: During the course of a work day, the Youth Specialist demonstrates appropriate social skills, speaks positively about the facility and their coworkers and leads by example. This includes following through with job responsibilities, knowing the rules and applying them fairly and consistently and offering support and assistance to colleagues and youth. The Youth Specialist provides rehabilitative activities and structured programming and is a key participant in Interdisciplinary Team meetings.

Mentor: In this role, the Youth Specialist builds relationships with the youth, serving as a coach or a life guide. This could be demonstrated through giving strength-based feedback, assisting in completing a job application, conducting mock job interviews, leading activities that recognize a youth’s strengths and encouraging youth participation.  
 
 

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR EMPLOYMENT

  • High school diploma or G.E.D.
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Must successfully complete a Youth Specialist assessment
  • Must be 21 years of age at time of application
  • Background checks will be issued

TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT REQUIRED TO REMAIN IN CLASSIFICATION AFTER EMPLOYMENT

Candidates must successfully complete all phases of the 3 week pre-service training, which includes initial certification in approved physical restraint techniques. Candidates must also successfully complete annual in-service training, which includes re-certification in C.P.R./first aid, response to resistance & emergency response training. As well as maintaining a valid driver’s license.

UNUSUAL WORKING CONDITIONS

May work evenings, nights or rotating shifts; needs to be available for mandatory overtime; assigned shift may include weekends and holidays; exposed to communicable diseases and youth who are hostile and sometimes violent.