Selina is a Juvenile Detention Officer at the Lorain County Detention Home.
Q & A with Selina
Describe your job to someone that is looking to enter the field and secure employment with Lorain County Domestic Relations Court?
“I am a Juvenile Detention Officer which consists of ensuring the well-being of the residents, my colleagues and the general security of the building. Overall, my role is extremely fulfilling and rewarding, but consists of many challenges. I supervise the residents and ensure they are complying with all of the rules and responsibilities of the Detention Home. Additionally, I have administrative tasks to complete daily including preparing and documenting incident reports and logging important data into our system.”
Provide some information about your first few weeks in your position. Were you required to complete training? Were you excited or overwhelmed? When did you start feeling comfortable within your position?
“Within the first few weeks of starting my position, I was immediately involved in a few significant situations with the residents in the facility including breaking up fights and intervening with youth that were struggling with their mental health. I was required to complete a variety of training during the first few weeks including pepper spray training which required me to be sprayed so I am aware of what it feels like prior to using it on residents that may fighting or putting others at risk. Despite the challenges of this training, I was extremely excited to start my new career and upon completing training, I felt a sense of confidence and comfort in my position. I am passionate about my position and love to go above and beyond to help our residents and the facility. I feel at home in my position and if there is something my supervisor needs, I always do it without hesitation and ensure the task is properly executed.”
What are the most important skills needed to be successful a Juvenile Detention Officer?
“As a Juvenile Detention Officer, the following skills are the most important to succeed in this field: communication skills, listening skills and the ability to interact with residents/colleagues in a respectful manner. Developing the ability to maintain order with the facility is also very important. Juvenile Detention Officers should be equipped to communicate with co-workers about day-to-day activities, procedures, rules and regulations and any disciplinary means needed for residents during their shift.”
What are the aspects of your job that you love and are the most rewarding?
“The aspects of my job that I am most passionate about and find rewarding is having the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our residents. I feel that my role allows me to assist youth in turning their lives around into a positive direction and I truly believe I have a positive impact on them. I love teaching them basic life and problem-solving skills and to assist them in resolving issues in their lives in a manner that doesn’t cause conflicts. I receive gratification in helping to foster the growth of the juveniles I encounter.”
One of the primary foundations of our Court is helping youth and families. Share a success story you have had working with a youth at the Detention Home.
“Throughout my career I am fortunate to have experienced multiple success stories from working with youth in our facility. One story that stands out was a 15-year-old female that was considered a runaway. During her stay at the Detention Home, she and I developed a solid relationship and she often expressed how she appreciated the way I treated residents in the facility. She appreciated the manner in which I enforced the rules, but did so in a respectful way. Upon the child’s release from the facility, I was informed that there was a missing child and I was astonished to learn that this was the same child mentioned above. A few days later I ran into this girl in the community at my second job and when she saw me she had the biggest smile on her face and said “Mrs. T, I didn’t know you worked here!” When I asked her if she was on the run she began to cry and confirmed while indicating that she has been gone for a couple days and hadn’t eaten and was breaking into empty houses to sleep at night. I immediately went and got her something to eat, supported her but also let her know that I was a mandated reporter and would report information as necessary.
During this discussion, the girl reported to me that she was raped and was contemplating suicide. She expressed a desire to no longer be on this earth and felt she was not needed. I was able to guide and support her in a way that provided comfort and ease while letting her know that her perpetrator should be held accountable for his actions. I notified that child that I would be calling the police so she could explain to them what happened. Based on the relationship that I had developed with her, she felt safe and comfortable going through this process and that there were other supports in the community that would help her moving forward. The child’s mother showed great gratitude and was happy that her daughter was found and that her daughter trusted me to disclose all of this troubling information. Before the girl left with her mother, I reassured her that everything was going to be ok. With a tear in her eye, she stated that she believed me and embraced me with a hug and thanks for being there for her. This is a memory I will cherish forever.”