Social Worker, Youth Action Institute

New York, NY
Full Time
Youth Action Institute - Research
Mid Level

The Center for Court Innovation is committed to reducing crime and incarceration, addressing violence, supporting survivors, and building communities while strengthening public trust in justice. The Center seeks justice for marginalized groups, bringing an equity lens – particularly a racial and gender equity lens – to its work. For 25 years, the Center has worked to foster justice and equity to create safe, healthy, and thriving communities and, ultimately, to transform the justice system.

The Center is an 800-employee, $100 million nonprofit that accomplishes its vision through three pillars of work: creating and scaling operating programs to test new ideas and solve problems, performing original research to determine what works (and what doesn’t), and providing expert assistance and policy guidance to justice reformers around the world.

Operating Programs
The Center’s operating programs, including the award-winning Red Hook Community Justice Center and Midtown Community Court, test new ideas, solve difficult problems, and attempt to achieve systemic change within the justice system. Our projects include community-based violence prevention programs, alternatives to incarceration, reentry initiatives, and court-based initiatives that reduce the use of unnecessary incarceration and promote positive individual and family change. Through this programming, we have produced tangible results like safer streets, reduced incarceration, and improved neighborhood perceptions of justice.

Researchers at the Center conduct independent evaluations, documenting how government systems work, how neighborhoods function, and how reform efforts change things. We believe in the “action research” model; accordingly, our researchers provide regular feedback on the results of the Center’s own operating programs. The Center has published studies on topics including youth in the sex trade, reentry, gun violence, and drug treatment as an alternative to incarceration. Our researchers have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals.

Policy & Expert Assistance
The Center provides hands-on, planning and implementation assistance to a wide range of jurisdictions in areas of reform such as problem-solving courts (e.g., community courts, treatment courts, domestic violence courts), tribal justice, reducing incarceration and the use of fines/fees and reducing crime and violence. Our current expert assistance takes many forms, including help with analyzing data, strategic planning and consultation, policy guidance, and hosting site visits to its operating programs in the New York City area.

Youth Action Institute

The Youth Action Institute (YAI) is a policy and research fellowship for young New Yorkers. Fellows with the Institute research different issues that affect young people’s safety and agency, particularly as those issues intersect with ideas of public safety. Fellows use participatory action research methods (PAR) to conduct in-depth, youth-led research and then use that data to create actions designed to bring about increased well-being and thoughtful, actionable policy recommendations to support better outcomes and experiences for affected young people. Fellows are supported by a team of adult staff who train and supervise them; staff also provide mentorship and professional development to youth Fellows.


YAI is seeking a Social Worker to join the program management team. This position will work as part of an interdisciplinary team that supports youth fellows in their professional and personal growth. Reporting to the Program Manager, the Social Worker will primarily be responsible for overseeing case management, counseling, and socio-emotional programming for participants. The Social Worker will be responsible for the recruitment and supervision of clinical interns.

YAI strongly encourages and seeks applications from marginalized candidates, including but not limited to people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people with prior contact with the criminal legal system.  

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Provide comprehensive, trauma-informed, culturally-responsive case management and clinical services, including individual and/or group counseling, to a year-long caseload of young adults (ages 16-21);
  • Design and facilitate group social-emotional learning workshops, in line with the overall program curriculum;
  • Evaluate the group and individuals for both material and social-emotional needs, and craft response plans to those needs;
  • Establish and maintain links and networks with community partners who can provide appropriate support services for needs outside the scope of YAI programming;
  • Participate in staff meetings, team-building exercises, trainings, and site visits;
  • Recruit and supervise clinical social work interns;
  • Review and supervise research activities that benefit from the presence of a clinician or counselor (such as focus groups with impacted youth);
  • Collaborate with youth Fellows on community-based initiatives, particularly as those initiatives address or intersect with mental health needs or trauma responses;
  • Evaluate and adopt best practices for virtual and hybrid social-emotional development;
  • Additional relevant tasks, as needed.


  • The ideal candidate will be a LMSW with at least two years of relevant experience. Candidates with a MSW will be required to obtain their license within 90 days of employment. A minimum of 2 years’ experience working with youth, both individually and in groups;
  • Experience and/or interest in working with young people with a diverse range of identities and experiences, including those who identify as LGBTQ+; street-involved; housing instable; gun carriers;
  • Interest in participatory action research and other shared forms of knowledge production;
  • A collaborative approach to problem-solving, particularly involving seeing youth as intellectual partners with youth;
  • A commitment to centering youth agency and experience;
  • Experience with and insight into structural and social models of justice and equity issues;
  • Demonstrated interest in building processes and modalities that build collective power;
  • Pre-existing Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI) certification a plus; SIFI certification can be obtained in the first 6 months of employment;
  • The ability to work independently, manage multiple tasks, and solve problems creatively;
  • Proficiency with MS Office required.
  • Candidate must be experienced in working with groups of youth. Experience working with high school-aged youth preferred.
  • Candidate must have a collaborative approach to problem-solving and project management. The ideal candidate must value the importance of youths’ lived experiences in knowledge production and policy development, and is eager to develop their professional skills to teach, listen, and meaningfully support when engaging young people on policy issues;
  • Candidate must be able to pass a drug screening, and work a flexible schedule.

Position Type:  Full-time, must be available to work from 11am – 7pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the school year and occasional nights and weekends as necessary.

Compensation: Salary range starts at $58,500 and is commensurate with experience.  The Center for Court Innovation offers an excellent benefits package including comprehensive healthcare with a national network, free basic dental coverage, vision insurance, short-term and long-term disability, life insurance, and flexible spending accounts including commuter FSA. We prioritize mental health care for our staff and offer services like Talkspace and Ginger through our healthcare plans. We offer a 403(b) retirement plan with a two-to-one employer contribution up to 5%.

The Center for Court Innovation is an equal opportunity employer. The Center does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, national origin, age, military service eligibility, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, or any other category protected by law. We strongly encourage and seek applications from women, people of color, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities as well as individuals with prior contact with the criminal justice system.

As of September 9, 2021, all new hires are required to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, unless they have been granted a reasonable accommodation for medical, disability or religious reasons by the Center’s Human Resources Department.

In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete an employment eligibility verification document form upon hire. Only applicants under consideration will be contacted. No phone calls please.


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