Program Director, Family Matters

position Description

Organization Description Youth Justice Network (formerly known as Friends of Island Academy) was founded in 1990 on the school floors of Rikers Island to anchor, support and develop capacity among young people newly released from jail in New York City. Our mission is to break cycles of incarceration and build an equitable justice system by providing young people with individualized advocacy, mentorship, and opportunities to grow, thrive, and lead.   Youth Justice Network builds on connections developed with young people whose lives have intersected with the justice system, and leverages those relationships to provide post-release, neighborhood-based supportive services.  Young people become members of Youth Justice Network for the long-term and develop personal milestones and goals in the arenas of health and well-being, education, employment, youth leadership and community participation.    Position Background and Description: Funded by the NYC Probation Department, and housed within Probation Intake on the 3rd floor of the Courthouse, Family Matters provide supports for the parents/guardians of youth who are arrested and going through the delinquency process at the Manhattan Family Court. Project staff help families navigate the Family Court process, support them in their interactions with Probation, and provide resources, counseling, and social/emotional support to the families throughout. Working from deep respect for parents’ perspectives and a commitment to listening, Family Matters forges deep connections to families in a time of crisis. 

Objectives of this Role

Maintain a daily presence in the Manhattan Family Court Monday through Friday, when the courthouse is open, and collaborate closely with New York City Probation who will refer the parents/guardians of children and adolescents who have been brought to the courts;

Conduct initial meetings with parents as soon as possible after referral from Probation;

Help parents and guardians navigate the family court system;

Link parents and guardians to needed resources and services;

Provide support to families, all of whom are in a time of crisis;

Bring families together to build community and develop self-reliance, skills, and knowledge;

Provide overall leadership to YJN’s work with families; further develop the organization’s vision for that work;

Lead YJN’s work in Family Court; work with our Miller Center for Special Mitigation and youth advocates to build out our efforts there;

Ensure and champion recordkeeping and recording of data; work with YJN’s data team to ensure data is accurate and useful;

Prepare monthly and semi-annual progress reports for Probation, demographic reports;

Supervise one or more Parent Coaches;

Participate in YJN’s Leadership Caucus and other coordinating meetings as necessary.


Candidate must have the characteristics necessary to best support families who have children involved with the Family Court system, including: non-judgmental listening, empathy, cultural and linguistic competence, respect, boundary-setting and a belief in the resilience and strengths of youth and families;

Must have the ability and communication skills to liaise and interact professionally with multiple system and non-system stakeholders, including Probation Officers, Family Court personnel, education and mental health providers, community and neighborhood service representatives;

Must have an understanding of and willingness to learn more about the juvenile justice process and the systems that intersect with it (child welfare, mental health, education);

Must be available and willing to work (9 to 5) at the Manhattan Family Court building, and have the flexibility to work ‘on call’ one evening per week and one weekend per month; (Probation is currently operating in person two days/week but this is likely to increase over time);

Personal experience with a child’s involvement in juvenile justice process a plus;

Willingness to accommodate parent/guardian schedules for phone and personal contact purposes;

Bi-lingual preferred;

Minimum 4 years of experience with advocacy services for court involved youth and/or their parents and families;

An authentic, non-judgmental understanding and respect for families of court-involved youth and their experiences;

Experience in a senior or supervisory position;

Excellent written and oral communication skills;

Strong work ethic and willingness to support and work collaboratively with colleagues;

Creativity and flexibility in solving problems and meeting challenges;

Commitment to Youth Justice Network growth and development;

Strong organizational and time management skills.


To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to:

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