Across the State of Kentucky, 7,980 juveniles were adjudicated and given a sentence to serve time in a juvenile detention facility in 2011. Most of these offenders, and many who did not receive detention time, also entered the Juvenile Justice Division’s probation services and were assigned to a juvenile probation officer, better known in Kentucky as a social services worker. This service links juvenile offenders with social service workers who provide a wide variety of assistance for the offender, helping young delinquents realize how to become responsible members of society, while at the same time protecting the community by holding the offenders accountable.
Education and Experience for Social Services Worker Careers
Kentucky requires candidates for social service worker jobs to possess at least a bachelor’s degree in, sociology, psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy, or a closely related field such as criminal justice. No previous experience is required, and on-the-job as well as academy training will be provided upon hire.
Application Process for Social Services Jobs
Candidates who would like to apply for social service worker careers and jobs in Kentucky should monitor the state’s personnel webpage for advertised openings. When a desired position becomes available, candidates can fill out an application online, making sure to do so completely while attaching all required forms and arranging to have official documents mailed to the appropriate address.
Training Academy for Kentucky’s Social Service Workers
Kentucky is one of the only states in the nation to have a comprehensive training program for its Department of Juvenile Justice direct-care employees. The Department of Juvenile Justice Training Academy provides social service workers 120-hours of basic training, and graduates gain certification in:
- Drug testing procedures
- Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)
- CPR and first aid
- Group counseling
- Aikido martial arts techniques
- Court testifying and demeanor
After graduation from the training academy and a year of employment, incumbents need to complete at least 40 hours of continuing training and education annually, including a firearms certification course if applicable.
What to Expect from a Career as a Juvenile Probation Officer in Kentucky
Entry-level social service workers were recently hired in Kentucky earning just over $32,000 per year. Depending on a candidate’s qualifications, the entry-level annual salary could be as high as $42,656.40. Usually social service workers in the Department of Juvenile Justice work a 37.5-hour work week, though there are times when they must be on-call for emergencies.
As a social service worker in the Department of Juvenile Justice, employees will be tasked with requirements including:
- Supervision of juvenile offenders at home, school, work, and social service programs
- Referral to and knowledge of appropriate community resources for juvenile offenders
- Administration of random drug screenings
- Assessment of offender needs for consideration of sentence, resource referral, or other treatment options
- Provides positive feedback to compliment commendable action
- Reports any probation violation and makes an arrest if necessary
- Ensures juvenile offenders meets his or her obligations:
- Follows the conditions of probation
- Attends school, treatment program, vocational training, work, or therapy sessions
- Pays appropriate court fees, restitution, fines, child support, or other financial commitments