Juvenile service and operations fall under the supervision of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services and the Community Services Division. Rather than work for the Department of Corrections, as many juvenile systems in other states do, Mississippi operates under a smaller-scale, more localized operation. Juvenile probation and aftercare services are offered throughout the state via seven field offices that operate under the larger Office of Community Services.
The main duties of Youth Service Counselors in Mississippi are to supervise the intake of juveniles on probation, investigate cases appointed to them from courts and supervisors, conduct probation sentences and perform aftercare supervision.
In the state of Mississippi, Youth Service Counselors do not have peace officer status, do not have the authority to arrest juveniles and do not have the authority to carry a firearm while on duty.
Youth Services Counselor Duties
The following is a list of some of the most common duties and responsibilities that will be performed by Youth Service Counselors in Mississippi:
- Prepare social histories of juveniles on probation
- Interview juveniles on probation
- Identify possible emotional problems
- Lead individual and group counseling sessions
- Compile progress reports
- Correspond with schools, family members, employers and courts
Education and Experience Requirements for Youth Services Counselors
In order to obtain a career as a Youth Service Counselor in Mississippi, there are a set of required education and experience standards, which include the following:
- A Master’s Degree from an accredited university in social work, counseling or a major behavioral science
- Be in good physical condition
- Be of high moral character
- Have a clean criminal history
- Have work/ volunteer experience working with at-risk youth
There is no required set of physical skills for youth services counselor jobs. The only main requirements are that the applicant is competent in the following areas:
- Time management
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Accurate reporting
- Cross-cultural sensitivity
- Customer and community relations
- Situational analysis
Training for Your Services Counselors
When considering how to become a youth services counselor in Mississippi through training, an employee with the Mississippi Department of Human Services is required to complete 120 hours of training during the first year. The training includes in-depth and comprehensive training in counseling service, techniques and procedures as well as interviewing techniques and psychology, among many other things. Upon completion of the training during the first year there may be more required training.
Additional Training for Youth Services Counselors
After completing the first year of training and working for the Mississippi Department of Human Services, youth service counselors are then required to complete up to 40 hours of training each year after the first year. The 40 hours of training is required every year for however long the youth services counselor works for the state of Mississippi.