A youth care worker generally is employed at a facility that provides shelter to homeless or runaway teenagers, or activities for delinquent children and adolescents, or programs for those with with psychological problems. A worker's duties may include documenting records or assisting students in activities and programs. Some workers also provide companionship or act as a mentor for troubled adolescents. The worker may volunteer his services or be paid a salary.
In many cases, a youth care worker will supervise students during behavior-control lessons, with an instructor or counselor present. The youth care worker may also act as a teacher's aid in the classroom. Away from the classroom, the worker may document behavioral issues in students and report findings to his supervisor.
Some youth care providers work part-time schedules. These can vary from early-morning shifts to evening shifts. Youth care workers who reside at a residential center will often be appointed an overnight shift and are typically full-time employees.
Requirements for the position will often vary, depending on the employer. In many cases, youth facilities have activities outside of the center. For these events, many workers will act as escorts during organized trips or functions away from the residence. The employee is responsible for making sure the child or children in his care arrive and return to the group home as planned.
It is very common for youth care providers to interact with the families of the children. The worker may visit parents or speak with them via the telephone on a regular basis. Interaction with social workers is another routine duty of many youth care workers.
Youth care workers must provide an excellent role model for the students. Therefore, employees must not practice any behaviors that will negatively influence the youth of the center. Workers generally will also need to be certified in first aid. Background checks for potential employees at a youth care facility will be mandatory as well.
To be a youth care worker, prospective employees may need a bachelor's degree or social work experience. A degree in psychology may also be helpful in some cases. These workers may also need to undergo a physical examination, which includes testing for tuberculosis.