Do you want the opportunity to make a difference to young people, their families and their community? Can you be a positive role model? Do you want to know that what you do at work each day is meaningful?

In a youth detention centre, you will have a positive influence on the lives of young people and work in a unique and active environment.

You will be part of a team that provides care, counselling, programs and activities to young people. You will be sensitive to gender, cultural beliefs and the health needs of young people and will help them prepare to integrate back into the community.

Every day will be different, but everything you do will be about encouraging young people to turn their lives around.

Our staff are trained to work with adolescents and help young people in detention to achieve normal adolescent milestones. This includes developing independence and getting ready for employment.

Our youth detention centres operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Young people who are:

  • refused bail
  • remanded in custody
  • sentenced to detention

are safely and securely detained in these centres. You will play an important role in maintaining a safe and secure environment.

Youth detention centres are secure environments. All staff and visitors are subject to security measures at the centre. This includes:

All staff who work in a youth detention centre must have a blue card before they start working in the centre.

Roles in a youth detention centre

The following are some of the many different roles in a youth detention centre.

Detention youth worker

As a detention youth worker you will have a frontline role in the rehabilitation of young people in detention. You will work closely with young people who are separated from their family, friends and community. You will make sure young people are engaged in constructive activities and help them integrate back into the community.

Detention youth workers:

  • demonstrate positive and socially appropriate behaviour to young people in detention
  • manage the complex and challenging behaviours of young people using a suite of techniques that may include physical restraint in some circumstances
  • manage and document incidents, on-unit activities and responses
  • participate in multi-disciplinary meetings and discussions about young people
  • escort young people in detention to school and other activities.

Senior detention youth worker

As a senior detention youth worker you will work as part of a dynamic operational team to provide professional development and mentoring support to detention youth workers while also undertaking direct care and management responsibilities for young people. You will:

  • undertake key responsibilities of the detention youth worker role
  • actively promote and monitor a high standard of safety and security within the centre
  • play a key role in supporting operational staff through their induction program and youth worker probation and progression requirements.

Section supervisor

As a section supervisor you will supervise, coach and lead detention youth workers to manage daily activities and routines in the detention centre. You will develop and coordinate the plans that are used to rehabilitate and reintegrate young people in detention and make a difference in the lives of young people in detention by focusing on:

  • achieving positive outcomes
  • addressing offending behaviour.

You will make critical decisions in an immediate response to manage events, incidents and activities.

Shift supervisor

As a shift supervisor you will be responsible for the daily management of centre operations. You will influence the level of care and supervision given to young people in detention. You will supervise section supervisors and detention youth workers, and coordinate the movement and transfer of young people with external agencies.

Shift supervisors help to develop:

  • operational procedures
  • systems
  • contingency plans.

You will work closely with centre management to oversee and coordinate all operational processes on a daily basis.


As a caseworker you will play a critical role in the team and work closely with young people to address their behaviour. You will contribute to the management, care and legal processes of young people assigned to you.

Caseworkers deliver culturally appropriate casework and counselling services that:

  • promote the safety and wellbeing of young people in detention
  • help young people in detention to make positive progress during their time in custody
  • help young people to stop offending
  • reintegrate young people with their family and the community.

Program support officer

As a program support officer you will be part of a team that continually looks for new and better ways to address the criminal behaviour of young people in detention.

Program support officers work closely with program providers to develop, deliver and review programs to:

  • address offending behaviour
  • rehabilitate young people
  • reintegrate young people with their family and the community.

You will also help maintain communication between youth detention centres and community agencies.

Apply now

Find our available positions advertised on SmartJobs. Simply select search for roles under the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs.

Last updated 13 March 2023

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