Become a Youth Development Specialist to Start Your Career and Make a Difference
Your valuable life experiences could positively influence the direction of a young person.
This is your chance to be a role model and a champion for youth while making a difference and giving back to your community.
What we are looking for:
The New York City Administration for Children’s Services is hiring compassionate, enthusiastic individuals to work with young people in our detention facilities. Working as a Youth Development Specialist, you would:
Provide safe and secure supervision and care to at-risk youth who are placed in secure juvenile detention by the court
Serve as a role model, mentor and guide
Work as part of a team to support positive and healthy youth development
Manage conflict and youth behavior safely including using de-escalation and restraint techniques as necessary
Provide structure and engage youth in pro-social activities and behaviors
Support youth in their efforts to develop new social, academic and vocational skills and interests
Receive valuable training on building healthy relationships with youth and crisis prevention and management
Working as a Youth Development Specialist offers:
Starting salary is $46,013 and after 5 years salary goes up to approximately $60,854*
Participation in NYC’s pension system
Comprehensive health insurance offering both individual and family coverage
Longevity Bonuses for your years of service
Overtime pay at time and a half for working over 40 hours a week
Higher educational opportunities
*includes a uniform allowance and longevity pay
A four-year high school diploma (or its educational equivalent), fluency in English, and two years of full-time experience working directly with at-risk youth or young adults up to age 24 in a group, community, educational or institutional setting, or other combinations of higher education and work or volunteer experience. Some years of work experience may be waived if you have an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in social work, counseling, education, recreation, criminal justice, psychology, biology, sociology, human services or a closely related field.
How To Apply:
Please note, in order to apply for this position, you will need to register for the Youth Development Specialist civil service exam. Once you have completed your registration, you will be notified of the exam date at a later time. Please see the Notice of Examination for details reagarding the Youth Development Specialist Civil Service Exam.
Hit the REGISTER button on this page to register and submit your resume. If you would like to use our basic cover letter, please download the PDF.
If you meet the Minimum Qualification Requirements and are under consideration, you will hear from a recruiter within approximately 60 days.
A civil service exam will be required when the next one becomes available. Civil service exams are given by the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS); when the filing period is open, you can file for the exam here.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Youth Development Specialist
What are the qualifications to become a Youth Development Specialist?
The minimum qualifications necessary to become a Youth Development Specialists are:
A four year high school diploma or its educational equivalent approved by a State’s department of education or a recognized accrediting organization, and two years of full-time satisfactory experience working directly with juveniles or young adults (ages 10-24) in a group, community, educational, or institutional setting or program performing recreational, detention, correctional, vocational, peer mentoring, or anti-violence work; or youth leadership development, young adult leadership development, youth and family health promotion, community organizing with youth and families, and/or closely related activities, which can include internships, volunteer work, mentorship, athletic programs, or closely similar related experience; or
An associate degree from an accredited college or completion of 60 semester credits of study at an accredited college, including or supplemented by one year and three months of full-time satisfactory experience as described in “1” above; or
An associate degree from an accredited college or completion of 60 semester credits of study at an accredited college, including or supplemented by 12 semester credits in social work, counseling, education, recreation, criminal justice, psychology, biology, sociology, human services or a closely related field; and nine months of full-time satisfactory experience as described in “1” above; or
A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college including or supplemented by at least six months experience as described in “1” above; or
A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college including or supplemented by 12 semester credits in social work, counseling, education, recreation, criminal justice, psychology, biology, sociology, human services or a closely related field; or a satisfactory combination of education and/or experience equivalent to “1”, “2”, or “3” above; or
Honorable full-time United States military service commanding young adults (up to age 24) may be substituted for experience as described in “1” above, on a year-for-year basis, up to a maximum of two years of military service for two years of experience;
Academic coursework in social work, counseling, education, recreation, criminal justice, psychology, biology, sociology, human services or a closely related field may be substituted for experience as described in “1” above, at the rate of 12 semester credits from an accredited college for 6 months of experience;
General undergraduate education may be substituted for experience as described in “1” above, at the rate of 60 semester credits from an accredited college for 9 months of experience.
However, all candidates must possess a four year high school diploma or its educational equivalent.
What counts as youth experience? I’ve raised children in my own family and/or done lots of babysitting, can I count that?
Only professional work experience supervising youth of ages 10-24 in a group setting within the following areas will be acceptable: Community, educational, or institutional setting or program performing recreational, detention, vocational, peer mentoring, or anti-violence work; or youth leadership development, young adult leadership development, health promotion, community organizing, internships, volunteer work, mentorship, athletic programs or similar experience. For example, Little League or youth sports coach, tutor, or PTA.
If you are among our qualified candidates, we will schedule a phone interview within 60 days as the first step. Because we receive tremendous interest in this role, we are only able to contact candidates who are under consideration.
Having a criminal history does not exclude you from being considered for employment as a Youth Development Specialist or Associate Youth Development Specialist unless your convictions are directly related to the job or pose an unreasonable risk or are among those specified in legislation as disqualifying for this employment such as: (1)The Protection of People With Special Needs Act which presumptively disqualifies based on the following convictions:
A felony conviction at any time for a sex offense;
A felony conviction within the past ten years involving violence;
A conviction pursuant to Penal Law (PL) section(s):
260.00- Abandonment of a child;
260.25- Endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person
260.32- Endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person or an incompetent or physically disabled person in the second degree;
260.34- Endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person or an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree.
Any similar offense in any other jurisdiction outside of New York State; and
(2) The Prison Rape Elimination Act, (PREA), which presumptively disqualifies based on the following convictions:
Sexual abuse in a prison, jail, lockup, community confinement facility, juvenile facility or other institution
Engaging or attempting to engage in sexual activity in the community facilitated by force, overt or implied threats of force, or coercion, or if the victim did not consent or was unable to consent or refuse.
Youth Development Specialists receive a robust combination of classroom and hands-on training at the start of your employment to bolster your knowledge of the juvenile justice system and give you the tools you need to successfully work with high needs adolescents. The James Satterwhite Training Academy provides pre-service training on important topics, such as: understanding youth development and relationships; safety, security, and supervision; behavior modification and management; and facilitating groups. Ongoing, in-service training is also provided throughout the year to support professional development and additional training opportunities are available through the ACS Workforce Institute.
You will be assigned to work at either Crossroads Juvenile Detention Center in Brownsville Brooklyn, or Horizon Juvenile Detention Center in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. Work location assignments are based on years of service (seniority) and agency needs.
What hours does a Youth Development Specialist work?
Both Crossroads and Horizon operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You will be assigned to one of the following tours: the AM Tour from 7:00am to 3:15pm, the PM tour from 3:00pm to 11:15pm or the Night Tour from 11:00pm to 7:15am. Shift assignments are based on seniority and the needs of the agency.
Yes, most Youth Development Specialists work weekends and holidays. As a result, Youth Development Specialists get every third Sunday off in addition to their regularly scheduled off days (Monday/Tuesday or Wednesday/Thursday or Friday/Saturday). Days off are based on seniority and agency needs.
This is not a sit-behind-a-desk-job. It requires regular interaction with youth. For instance, a typical day might involve you working inside a classroom, counseling a youth in the living unit, leading an activity in the gymnasium, or escorting a youth for their medication. Depending on your shift, your day would follow the typical schedule of the youth in detention: the youth wake up, shower, and are escorted to the cafeteria for breakfast, escorted to class, break for lunch, return to class, attend after-school activities, complete homework, have dinner, attend evening recreation, shower, and go to bed. Youth Development Specialists supervise a group of youth in all of the aforementioned activities.
Our secure juvenile detention facilities house adolescents whose cases are pending in the Family or Criminal Courts. Their stay is not for punishment - judges decide whether youth should be detained while their court case is being resolved. Secure detention is typically reserved for youth who pose the highest risk and who have been accused of committing serious offenses. Youth are paired with others their age and are given access to education, prosocial programming, recreational activities and health care while in detention.
This is not a job for folks who can be easily intimidated but it is seldom dangerous. YDS staff work with youth who have experienced significant trauma and sometimes display emotional outbursts that can be upsetting, even violent. YDS are trained to handle and protect themselves and others. Occasionally, YDS may experience a minor injury, but they are never in life-threatening danger such as a fire fighter or police officer.
Youth Development Specialists never work alone. All staff working in juvenile detention are trained in Safe Crisis Management (SCM) intervention. When additional assistance is needed, Youth Development Specialists may seek assistance from Special Officer Staff, who are in charge of the facility’s security, as well as an array of supervisors.
Will there be any promotional opportunities once I become a Youth Development Specialist?