Juvenile Counselors supervise detained youth in their daily activities in a secure detention facility. Youth are in custody and are waiting processing of their cases in either the Family or criminal court system. Juvenile Counselors guide youth through a broad array of activities including school, meals, chores, wake-up and bedtime routines, family visits, escort to appointments, recreation and other programmatic events. Juvenile Counselors are the chief staff responsible for the well-being of youth in Secure Detention.
As a new Juvenile Counselor, you’ll receive a combination of classroom and hands-on mentoring experience/training for a total of three months. At the start of your training, you will be paired with a seasoned Juvenile Counselor currently working in secure detention who will mentor and coach you through the first three months of your employment. You will also receive classroom training from members of the James Satterwhite Training Academy to bolster your knowledge of juvenile justice youth and give you the tools you need to successfully work with a high needs teen-age population.
It really depends on what tour you are assigned to. Given that secure detention operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you can be assigned to the AM Tour from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the PM Tour from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. or the Night Tour from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Your day would follow the typical day of a youth in Detention. If not scheduled for court, the youth would wake up, shower, be escorted to the cafeteria for breakfast, then go to school, break for lunch, return to school, attend after-school activities, complete homework, have dinner, attend evening recreation, shower, relax and go to bed. All the time, Juvenile Counselors would be supervising a group of youth in all of those activities. There can be up to 14 youth in a group and we try and maintain a 6:1 youth to staff ratio.
While there are staff desks located on each youth living unit, this is not a sit-behind-a-desk-job. It is mostly a job that requires regular interaction with youth. Whether you are inside a classroom, counseling a youth, leading an activity in the gymnasium, or escorting a youth for their medication, just to name a few things you might typically do – the majority of a Juvenile Counselor’s time is not spent behind a desk.
Yes, most Juvenile Counselors, especially new Juvenile Counselors, work weekends and holidays. As a result, Juvenile Counselors get every third Sunday off in addition to their off days of Monday/Tuesday or Wednesday/Thursday or Friday/Saturday. Days off and tours are generally assigned by seniority.
There is sometimes mandatory overtime in Detention. If someone calls in from the shift after yours, you may have to work a second shift.
All staff working in juvenile detention are trained in crisis intervention. When additional assistance is needed, Juvenile Counselors generally call for assistance from Special Officer Staff, who are in charge of security for the facility, and an array of supervisors. There are always folks who respond and Juvenile Counselors never work alone.
Promotional opportunities to supervisory positions and the opportunity to work in other parts of the juvenile justice continuum beyond Detention are a possibility.
The staring salary for a Juvenile Counselor is $37,492. After two years, you automatically receive a base salary increase of $43,116. There are also frequent overtime earnings and a night differential for working hours between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
Juvenile Counselors receive the same benefits as other ACS employees. Learn more
Begin the application process by signing up to take the Juvenile Counselor Civil Service Exam. Interested candidates are able to take the exam through June 29, 2016.
Download the Juvenile Counselor Recruitment Poster