Social Service Aides (Trackers) are hired by the Division of Youth Services to assist the Service Coordinator (SC) with the supervision of youth placed in the community. This placement typically occurs after the completion of the youth’s residential treatment but may also occur immediately following commitment while the youth is awaiting residential placement or on Community Care status.

Trackers, as they are commonly called, help the SC maintain a high level of supervision on youth activities but, are also a central component of the youth’s successful transition back into the community. The level of involvement is assigned by the youth’s SC and is likely to include regular home, school and employer visits. The Tracker is expected to maintain contact with a youth through face-to-face meetings, home visits, phone calls and collateral contacts with others professionals who work directly with the youth. The frequency and type of contact is adjusted by the SC based on the progress and needs of the individual. Trackers regularly report progress and concerns to the SC in order to ensure the SC is kept current on the youth.

While the emphasis of the Tracker is typically increased supervision of youth assigned to them, they also serve the youth as a ‘mentor.’ In this role, they act as a social role model for the youth by participating in age appropriate, socially acceptable recreational activities, such as going to the movies or attending a local sports game. Examples of other Tracker activities include: helping the youth locate and secure employment; providing transportation to/from work or school; providing tutoring; locating alternative recreational activities in the community and/or finding other services that will enhance the youth’s return to the community. Trackers also provide treatment services such as counseling, conflict resolution and problem-solving assistance to their youth.

The Tracker position is part-time and, as such, does not include employment benefits. However, flexible scheduling and attractive pay make this an appealing option to college students, retired DYS employees and other members of the local community. The length of appointment is indeterminate and service to individual youth is based on the youth’s needs and typically ranges from a few weeks to several months. At the conclusion of which a different youth, in need of similar services, will be assigned.