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Youth Peer Specialist




Seeking a trained peer specialist who uses their own life-changing experiences to encourage court -involved, youth to succeed in the community.

Are you committed and passionate about changing the experiences of youth in the court system and influencing positive behaviors?

Join our multi-disciplinary team of professionals making a difference in the lives of the City's most challenged young people.


This is a great full-time opportunity for a dynamic, resourceful, service-oriented individual with a background in providing support to a high needs youth population with criminal court involvement. The successful candidate will demonstrate a commitment to helping clients avoid harmful behavior leading to re-arrest and disconnection from community support systems.


The Criminal Justice Agency (CJA), a non-profit organization under contract with the City of New York to provide pre-trial and research services to the courts and operates a Supervised Release Program in Queens Criminal Court.

The program, which operates during the day and night court in Queens, screens defendants charged with non-violent, felony and misdemeanor offenses that present a substantial likelihood of detention. CJA screens targeted defendants for release at criminal court arraignment, subject to specific conditions including maintaining face-to-face and telephone contact with the program, participating in an assessment process to identify needs such as substance abuse and mental health, and agreeing to program monitoring of court appearances and re-arrests.



  • Utilizes evidence-based support techniques to engage individuals who have behavioral health needs in order to support them in completing all supervision appointments and court appearances, and to support linkage to community-based treatment and other support services as needed
  • Performs a wide variety of tasks related to the care, support, education, socialization, habilitation, recovery/healing, safety and security of justice-involved youth in their home and community settings
  • Works with a population of 16-19-year-old participants in a respectful manner, using a strength-based approach
  • Builds supportive relationships and meets with clients, their guardians, families, support systems and other key persons in the individual’s life
  • Reviews participants’ release conditions and assists the Case Managers in supplementing supportive or therapeutic services
  • Facilitates clients’ connection with supportive services by making referrals and accompanying the clients to appointments, when necessary
  • Attends court dates with clients who are anxious or apprehensive about court proceedings
  • Conducts both individual sessions and support groups for clients with substance abuse and/or behavioral health disorders, who may be resistant to or awaiting formal treatment
  • Utilizes self-disclosure in an appropriate manner that is supportive of clients’ recovery and focuses on the individual’s needs
  • Provides vocational support to individuals in the program, including resume development, referral to training, career services programs and interview preparation
  • Conducts outreach to build/strengthen relationships with community resources
  • Maintains face-to-face and telephone contact with clients for on-going support
  • Assists clients in developing recovery plans with realistic goals (housing, employment, family support, social/recreational, cultural) and make referrals and provide support to facilitate success in reaching those goals
  • Accurately and efficiently documents assessments and progress notes in an electronic case management system within the expected time frame


  • Minimum of a HS Diploma with OASAS/OMH Peer Specialist Certification preferred. Other peer specialist training such as Howie the Harp Peer Advocacy and Training Center Peer Specialist Program will be considered.
  • Live experience in the criminal justice system
  • Bilingual, preferred
  • 2 years of experience as a Peer Advocate, Counselor or Specialist
  • Knowledge of NYC Court Operations preferred
  • Must be able to provide references and demonstrated ability to lead groups
  • The successful candidate will possess a combination of the following knowledge, skills, and experiences:
  • Familiarity with the Alternative to Detention (ATD), Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) or other advocacy program models
  • Working knowledge of treatment programs (substance abuse, mental health, etc.) and other support services (GED, job training, YIP, etc.) for referrals
  • Ability to exercise sound and quick judgment
  • Excellent communication skills to facilitate groups sessions with clients who present various needs and challenges
  • Excellent time and self-management skills
  • Computer literate with the ability to quickly adapt to changing technology
  • Must be willing to work evening and weekend hours, if needed
  • Willingness to travel via public transportation


LOCATION:  Queens (Long Island City)                    

HOURS: TBD (Some Eve/Weekend Required)



NOTE: Only those candidates being considered will be contacted. No phone calls, please.

BENEFITS: CJA offers very generous benefits including health, dental and vision insurance, four weeks’ vacation, paid holidays and a retirement plan with employer matching contributions.


The New York City Criminal Justice Agency is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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