Youth Development Officer

Harris County

Houston, TX, USA

Full time

US$39.5-56.2k (annually)

Healthcare / Government


May 23

The Residential Services Division consists of a Juvenile Detention Center and two post-adjudicated facilities. The facilities house youth who are awaiting court and youth who are placed into the department’s custody by the juvenile courts. The facilities provide direct care and supervision for all youth placed with the department along with providing mental health and behavioral treatment programs.


About the Position:

The Youth Development Officer (YDO) provides direct supervision, safety, and security to youth in a 24-hour residential facility. Supervises around the clock youth activities, including structured programs designed to reduce recidivism, enhance self-esteem, social skills, increase academic performance, job skills, and improve mental and physical well-being. Redirects the thinking and behavior patterns of youth through building healthy relationships and mentoring in order to remove barriers for successful transitions to their homes and communities. Promotes and maintains a safe environment conducive to healing while at the same time intervening and deescalating crisis situations.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Responsible for the care, safety, security, reporting, observation, supervision and guidance of youth in a secured residential facility while adhering to all departmental policies & procedures, Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) standards, federal, state, and local statutes always. This includes direct supervision of youth, establishing supportive relationships with youth, actively encouraging participation in assigned activities and developing activities for youth on the units.
  • In accordance with policy and procedure, provides safe redirection of negative and aggressive behavior, which includes the use of verbal and physical de-escalation.
  • Assists and instructs youth with daily living skills, including personal hygiene and maintenance of living areas in the entire facility, especially in the units, dorms, rooms, classrooms, recreation areas and hallways, etc.
  • Completes reports, daily logs at random intervals not to exceed the allotted time when documenting youth behavior and progress.
  • Responsible for monitoring youth's behavior and documenting both behaviors and interventions in the department's electronic monitoring system.
  • Communicates noteworthy information to unit and shift supervisors, treatment plan members and the administration.
  • Escorts youth within the facility and externally as directed. This may be to accompany youth during hospital visits, funerals, off-campus educational activities and appointments at various social service agencies.
  • Operates or provides supervision in departmental vehicles.

Harris County is an Equal Opportunity Employer

If you need special services or accommodations, please call (713) 274-5445 or email



  • High school diploma or G.E.D. equivalent from an accredited educational institution

Additional Requirements:

  • All applicants are required to present evidence of a tuberculosis (TB) skin test. In the event of a positive test, the applicant will be required to provide additional documentation.
  • Every employee is subject to random testing for drug and alcohol or if there is a reasonable suspicion to believe that the employee is under the influence of a substance prohibited by this policy while in the course and scope of employment
  • Upon receiving a conditional job offer, every applicant undergoes a criminal background check, drug screening, and psychological examination. 
  • If public emergency is declared by county, staff could be assigned to other duties and/or facilities and/or under the supervision of another county department
  • Certified copies of transcripts of educational credentials and/or college credits will be required during hiring process
  • Must be 21 years old
  • This position involves working with challenging youth where use of crisis intervention and de-escalation strategies may be necessary to ensure the safety of both youth and staff
  • Knowledge of basic computer skills, to include Microsoft Office, word processing, and the Internet
  • Possess a high tolerance for working in an emotionally demanding/stressful work environment
  • Ability to send and receive transmissions with two-way radio

Physical Requirements:

  • The Department of Labor classifies this job as needing a medium amount of strength
  • The physical demands of this job include physically redirecting and restraining youth but are not continuous
  • Must be able to stand/walk throughout most of the shift
  • Must be able to exert (i.e., lifting, pushing, pulling) 20 to 50 lbs. of force occasionally (up to 1/3 of the time) and 10 to 25 lbs. of force frequently (from 1/3 to 2/3 of the time) to move objects
  • Intervenes in crisis situations that may require physical restraints, in accordance with policy and procedure guidelines

NOTE: Qualifying education, experience, knowledge and skills must be documented on your job application. You may attach a resume to the application as supporting documentation but ONLY information stated on the application will be used for consideration. "See Resume" will not be accepted for qualifications.


  • BA/BS degree from an accredited college or university in Criminal Justice, Social Work & Behavioral Sciences
  • Residential experience working with children
  • Mental Health and/or Behavioral Health Technician Certification

General Information

Position Type and Typical Hours of Work:

  • Regular Full-time | This is considered an essential staff position
  • 8, 10, or 12-hour shifts, must be able to work nights, weekends and holidays
  • Must be able to work scheduled hours according to assigned shift
  • Must be able to comply with the departments Mandatory Stay Over (MSO) policy when administration determines that the safety and security of the juveniles necessitates for staff members to work additional hours


  • Harris County Leadership Academy (HCLA) - 9120 Katy Hockley Rd., Katy, TX 7749
  • Harris County Youth Village (HCYV) - 210 J W Mills Dr., Seabrook, TX 77586
  • Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) - 1200 Congress St., Houston, TX 77002


  • Commensurate with Appropriate Experience
  • $18.98 - Starting Salary
  • $19.81 - Starting Salary with a degree (BA, BS, Masters)
  • Additional hourly salary commensurate with appropriate experience up to $25.62(non-degree) and $27.71 (degree) year per year credit

About Harris County Juvenile Probation (HCJPD)

The Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD) provides supervision and services to youth between the ages of 10 and 17, who are under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court. HCJPD is the largest juvenile probation department in Texas with approximately 1,100 employees and over 3,500 youth referred to the department annually. HCJPD programs and services operate under the direction of the Harris County Juvenile Board. The Administration building is located in Downtown Houston, Texas, with several field offices throughout the County and three secure residential facilities.

Make an impact: Working for HCJPD gives you the opportunity to continue to serve your community and be a positive role model for young people. Our pace of work enables fast learning and fosters an environment where you can make a positive impact.

Professional Growth: We are committed to growing the capabilities of our staff. We are building a learning community where you can work with diverse individuals, explore new ways of thinking, and expand your capabilities. Our employees are Juvenile Justice Practitioners who share their knowledge to enhance each other’s growth.

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Harris County

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