Youth Development Specialist
Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center - Chicago, IL

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Cook County is currently looking for a Youth Development Specialist to work in the JTDC Facility. Under the supervision of the Supervisor, Team Leader or Assistant Team Leader, the Youth Development Specialist provides for the safety, security, and well-being for residents, visitors, and staff within the detention facility. Supervises, guides, and counsels residents through daily activities within the JTDC vision, mission and goals of the residential and educational programs.

Typical duties include the following:
Closely provides direct and continuous supervision of JTDC residents, in accordance with policy/procedure that promote a safe, secure and humane environment for residents and staff. This would include close monitoring of all resident activity to ensure that adequate security measures are met including making security checks, taking resident counts, and doing room checks at appropriate intervals to ensure that assigned sleeping quarter regulations and assignments are being observed.
Administers the CBT program.
Maintains a safe and secure environment for both the residents and staff by performing such duties as search of juvenile and juvenile’s personal effects in accordance with Cook County JTDC policies, procedures and protocols.
Monitors residents for changes in behavior that may indicate potential crisis situations in accordance with facility guidelines and alerts other staff as appropriate.
Participates in the resident admission and orientation process which includes, but is not limited to, those rules and regulations applicable to residents, room assignments, completion of appropriate documentation, etc.
Escorts residents throughout and external to the facility as directed. Accompanies youth during hospital visits, funerals and appointments at various social service agencies.
Supervises around the clock structured and leisure activities of the residents, including preparing residents for various group and individual activities such as religious services, classes, recreational programs and court hearings. Supervises meals, and coordinates distribution of food and utensils.
Is responsible for instructing and supervising all activities (e.g.; bathing/showering, personal hygiene, etc.) on a daily basis to maintain physical cleanliness and hygienic conditions of the juvenile and center. May assist in the laundering of residents’ clothing.
Intervenes when necessary in crisis situations in accordance with policy and procedure guidelines for physical and mechanical restraints, room confinements, or other appropriate action. Submits information to Shift Supervisor/Team Leader on the more serious disciplinary actions and in accordance with JTDC policy/procedure. Ensures the prevention of residents escaping custody.
Reports all observances of unusual observances of resident’s physical and mental health to the Supervisor/Team Leader and the designated medical authority.
Operates and monitors electronic security and communication equipment including control panel, intercom, computers, and alarms.
May organize and direct participation in group recreational activities such as games, arts and crafts, gym events, outdoor activities and other activities.
Documents resident behaviors and actions daily, using observation notes, incident reports, shift change notes, resident files, and related documentation.
Maintains and organizes resident files to keep current. Checks to ensure that each file contains proper legal and medical/insurance information. Helps ensure compliance with the State and Administrative rules regarding such files. Collects and assembles data and information from various agencies, court staff, and other sources.
Ensures compliance with federal, state, local and JTDC policy and procedure and lawful court orders.
Communicates verbally and in writing in a coherent and effective manner through reports, and memorandums, both internally and with external agency contacts.
Supervises and may participate in resident meals.
In collaboration with a certified instructor, serves as an active participant in the resident’s educational program.


The Youth Development Specialist should meet the following requirements:

A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university in Counseling, Social Work, Criminal Justice, Psychology, or related Social Services field
Previous experience in social services or juvenile direct care. Preference to those with previous experience working with delinquent or emotionally troubled youths and/or families, which may have been in an intern or volunteer capacity.
Knowledge of and sensitivity to cultural diversity and of socioeconomic or psychological factors affecting youth behavior.
Ability to recognize abnormal behaviors and adverse health conditions in juveniles and follow proper medical reporting procedures.
Ability to effectively listen, understand, and communicate in English (verbally and in writing) at the appropriate level with juveniles, family members, staff, attorneys, investigators and court officers.
Ability to prioritize competing demands and to be flexible, creative, proactive, and effective under pressure in a fast-paced environment.
Must possess knowledge of group dynamics and the ability to establish trust and cooperation with juveniles while maintaining an appropriate level of professionalism, assertiveness, and leadership.
Open availability to work any shift at a 24-hour facility (includes evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays.
Highly accountable, reliable, and prompt, with a strong work ethic.
Must be a resident of the State of Illinois within 90 days of date of hire.
Must be a citizen of the United States.
Must have reached 21 years of age or older at the time of application submission
Must pass a pre-employment drug screen and criminal background check.
Must obtain a result of negative from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Child Abuse Registry.
Must also 1) meet additional minimum requirements for eligibility established by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC), and 2) pass required and nationally recognized written examination(s) for direct care positions

Physical Requirements:
Ability to move desks, beds and other furniture to conduct security checks.
Ability to step up on elevated surfaces, such as beds or stools, to conduct room searches.
Reaching, bending, and stooping to perform security checks, housekeeping and other tasks.
Extended periods of walking throughout the facility.
Extended periods of standing.
Ability to physically restrain residents under adverse conditions, including the ability to manage weights of 75lbs. to 200 lbs. when restraining adolescents.
Ability to respond to emergency situations according to JTDC policies, procedures and protocols.
Hearing ability to use and understand the monitoring system.
Lifting and carrying containers for meals, laundry bags and other items weighing up to 35 lbs.
Must be able to work overtime based on departmental needs.

Working Conditions:
Exposure to resident behavior problems that may include physical acting out and require safe physical management skills

Exposure to residents with complex mental health issues and/or disorders.
Exposure to youths with various states of cleanliness and hygiene.

Exposure to various health related conditions or residents of a communicable nature which requires precaution and adhering to medical instruction.
Exposure to communicable diseases of youths