Volunteer Manual

Information regarding volunteering at Douglas County Youth Services.

Mission Statement and Introduction

Mission Statement

The Department of Youth Services was established to meet the needs of juveniles who are alleged to have committed or who are adjudicated for juvenile offenses in Douglas County. This department shall:

  • Promote public safety.
  • Hold juveniles we serve accountable for their behavior.
  • Improve the ability of youth to live productively and responsibly in their communities.

Detention Center

The Detention Center was established to provide short term care in secure custody to juveniles who are accused or adjudicated pending court action or awaiting transfer to another facility and who cannot be served in a non-secure setting. Specifically the facility shall:

  • Provide for the juvenile's basic needs, such as shelter, food, clothing and medical care.
  • Prevent the abridgment of the juvenile's legal rights during his/her detainment at the facility.
  • Provide for the physical, emotional, religious, educational and social needs of juveniles during detainment.
  • House the juvenile in a safe, humane environment, maintaining the level of security necessary to prevent escape and assure that juveniles live free of fear of assault or intimidation.


Douglas County Youth Services is dedicated to development of programs which will enrich the lives of youth, or at least provide a learning experience while they are here. We rely on volunteer involvement to assist us in proving innovative and quality programs to the youth we serve. Volunteers may serve in a variety of capacities, e.g. providing services on a short-term basis, becoming a regular participant in current agency programs, completing a practicum or internship program, conducting program evaluations, data collection activities or assisting in implementation of new programs.

Kansas Administrative Regulations require that volunteers at the detention center and the detention day school programs undergo the same recruitment, screening, selection, and performance evaluation process as facility employees.

As volunteers, we will need you to provide the following:
1. An application
2. Information for a criminal background investigation
3. Documentation of freedom from tuberculosis and a health assessment completed by a licensed physician.

Please fill out the criminal background form and seal it in the envelope provided for you. Return the criminal background check with the rest of your completed paperwork. You will be notified if we cannot accept you as a volunteer based on your background investigation.

There are two ways that you may document that you are free of tuberculosis. If you have undergone a physical examination by a physician in which a tuberculin skin test or chest x-ray was administered within the last year, you may obtain a letter from your physician stating that the test was administered and that the results were negative. If you have not undergone a physical recently you will need to arrange one through your personal physician or the Douglas County Health Department. If you are a KU student, Watkins Health Center should be able to accommodate you as well. The Health Assessment and TB test is incurred at your own expense.

This manual will explain Youth Services Programs, Applicable Security Procedures, Information about Dress Code, Contraband and Expectations for Volunteer Conduct, also included are documents for you to sign and return to us confirming your understanding of the rules as they relate to volunteers at DCYS.

We look forward to your involvement with the programs at Douglas County Youth Services.

For more information on volunteering with Youth Services, please visit Volunteer Forms

Volunteer Conduct


1. If, for any reason you are unable to report for your volunteer responsibilities, please notify the Shift Supervisor or Detention Operations Manager as soon as possible.

a. Youth Services reserves the right to terminate your volunteer agreement if a pattern of absences from your appointed volunteer schedule occur without notification to DCYS.

2. Please leave all personal belongings (i.e. cell phones, purses, jackets) in your car or utilize one of the lockers provided in the lobby. You will not be allowed to bring anything into the secured area except your locker key.

a. You may be subject to a metal detector search.

3. Please bring a valid ID with you each time you report, as different staff members may be checking you in and will need to verify your identity.

4. If you are with a large group of volunteers, please wait until all members of the group are present so that the whole group can be checked in at the same time.

5. Please do not send substitutes to act in your stead or bring visitors or guests with you unless approved, in advance, by the Director of Youth Services or his/her designee.

6. Dress in an appropriate manner, i.e., No tank tops, halter/ tube tops, any clothing w/ spaghetti straps, revealing low-cut necklines, see-through clothing, skirts that are shorter than three inches above the crease on the back of the knee, shorts, pants that don’t extend below the knee, any attire that displays gang affiliation, promotes drugs or alcohol, or otherwise portrays an anti-social message, hats of any kind, open-toed shoes of any kind (i.e. flip flops or sandals). Minimal jewelry should be worn.

7. Any suspicion of drug and/or alcohol use while performing as a volunteer at DCYS shall be grounds for immediate termination of the volunteer agreement.

8. You may not volunteer at DCYS if you are a relative of a detained juvenile or a juvenile who is assigned to Juvenile Intensive Supervision, Case Management or Day School.


1. Remember to use appropriate language.

2. Do not bring contraband into or out of the Juvenile Detention Center or Day School. If you are not sure what is considered contraband, ask the staff. Do not bring anything into or out of the facility for a juvenile at any time, no matter how innocent or trivial it may seem. Please advise staff if at any time a juvenile makes such a request.

3. Do not get involved in a personal relationship with a juvenile.

4. Be a supportive mentor, avoid over identifying.

5. Do not give juveniles your address or telephone number or the address or phone number of any other person. If asked, you might say, “I’m sorry, but it is a violation of the rules to give out that information.”

6. Do not correspond with, or accept collect phone calls from juveniles in the Juvenile Detention Center or Day School. (i.e. facebook, myspace, twitter, email, and any social networking sites.)

7. Do not offer legal advice, discuss the criminal justice system, the courts, inconsistency in sentencing, or related topics. Although everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, what you say can have serious repercussions.

8. Ask for help. If you are uncertain about what to do or say, be honest. It is always best to tell the juvenile that you will have to seek assistance from staff. Juveniles don’t expect you to have all the answers.

9. Be firm, fair, and consistent. Know your personal and professional goals and limitations.

10. Let staff handle behavior issues. Volunteers will not issue fines or consequences.

11. Do not make promises to students/residents that are beyond the scope of your authority (i.e. changing a consequence given by a staff member)

12. Do not move juveniles out of their assigned areas without permission from a staff member.

13. Notify the Supervisor on duty or the Detentions Operations Manager if you encounter any problems.

Volunteer Ethics and Security Procedures

Volunteer Ethics

I. Douglas County Youth Services requires the highest possible level of conduct from all volunteers to protect the integrity of service delivery and to facilitate the recruitment and retention of the highest caliber volunteers.

A. Relationships with Juveniles/ Staff/ Teachers/ Parents/Volunteers /the Public:

1. Volunteers will respect and protect the civil and legal rights of all juveniles.
2. Volunteers will approach each situation with appropriate concern for the juvenile’s welfare and with no purpose of personal gain.
3. Relationships with colleagues and staff will be of such character to promote mutual respect.
4. Volunteers shall not make public statements critical of colleagues, staff or the agency.
5. Volunteers will respect the importance of all elements of the juvenile justice system and promote professional cooperation with each segment.
6. Volunteers will respect and protect the right of the juvenile to be safeguarded from criminal activity.

B. Volunteers Conduct/Practices:

1. No volunteers will use his or her official position to secure privileges or advantages from a juvenile or their families.
2. No volunteers, while acting in an official capacity, will allow any personal interest to impair objectivity in the performance of their duty.
3. No volunteers will accept any gift or favor of such nature to imply an obligation that is inconsistent with the free and objective exercise of professional responsibilities.
4. When serving in an official capacity, volunteers will only make statements authorized by the Director of Douglas County Youth Services.
5. Each volunteer will report, without exception, any corrupt or unethical behavior which could affect either a juvenile or the integrity of Youth Services.
6. Volunteers will not discriminate against any juvenile, employee, or prospective employee on the basis of race, sex, creed, or national origin.
7. Volunteers will maintain the integrity of private information. They will neither seek personal data beyond that needed to perform their responsibilities, nor reveal case information to anyone.

Security Procedures

The goal of this facility is to provide a physically secure and emotionally stable environment. The programs offered by this facility, coupled with the structured environment, are designed to nurture stable, caring and interactive relationships between staff and youth. These relationships foster an atmosphere of stability and trust, perhaps the most stable and trusting environment some youth have ever encountered. The foundation of the program incorporates the following areas:

1. Behavior Modification
2. Education
3. Recreation/Activities
4. Individual and Group Guidance

Behavior Modification enters into all of the other areas and is the basis upon which the relationships between youth, volunteers and staff are built. The program literally spells out what is expected of youth. Enforcement of the program by staff requires youth to accept responsibility for their own behavior. The program deals with both positive and negative behavior by providing immediate positive and negative consequences.

Intervention is a critical aspect of maintaining a safe and secure environment. It is impossible to determine what situations might be prevented through early intervention in a single, potentially confrontational event. Through observation of individual youth and the group as a whole, staff should become cognizant of subtle clues which are indicators of impending mood changes. The benefits of intervention are clear when compared to the possibility that the disruptive behavior of one may become contagious--first and foremost, the physical well-being of staff and other residents/ students is protected, and secondly, the stability of the program is maintained.

What follows is an outline of the security procedures that pertain to you as a volunteer, you will need to be aware of potential security issues and follow agency policy while in your role as a volunteer here.


Secured Area:

All areas of the facility within the secured perimeter accessible only by detained or day school youth. This includes staff controlled areas i.e. Recreation Yard, Visitation, Intake and areas not accessible by youth such as Storage Areas and Control I.

Staff Members:

Employees of Douglas County Youth Services, and Unified School District 497.


 Director, Assistant Director, Detention Operations Manager, Supervisors, and Administrative Services Supervisor employed by Douglas County Youth Services.
Volunteers: Tutors, Interns, Chaplains, or any person who donates their time to assist in providing programs and services to youth assigned to DCYS.


Security Procedure Continued

Youth Supervision(Policy Chapter 8)

  • It is important that only staff give a student/resident permission to leave an area so that they are aware of the student/resident’s location at all times.

Lockdown (Policy Chapter 8)

  • If a resident or student is in a room and needs a volunteer’s assistance, the volunteer is to stand outside of the door to the room so that staff can observe them for their safety. Never enter the room without staff present!

Admission to the Secured Area (Policy Chapter 8)

  • No person should be allowed into the detention facility until their identity is known and their purpose is determined.
  • Visitors/volunteers must present some form of photo identification before admission, unless the visitor/volunteer is known to the staff member.
  • Purses, bags and other personal effects (e.g., money, pocket knives, tobacco products, etc.) that are brought into the facility by visitors/volunteers must be secured in a locker before admission. Staff may, at their discretion, require a visitor/volunteer to remove jewelry.
  • No one less than 18 years of age will be allowed to volunteer for the Department of Youth Services.

Doors (Policy Chapter 8)

  • Staff members/ volunteers must never hold the control center door open.
  • Youth are never allowed in the control center for any reason.
  • Staff members/ volunteers are responsible to make sure that each door they pass through is locked and latched behind them.

Control of Contraband (Policy Chapters 8 & 9)

  • Maintenance products (e.g., cleaning chemicals, etc.) will be kept in areas not accessible to youth and can only be used by youth under direct supervision.
  • Any product which is packaged in aluminum cans or glass bottles will not be brought into the secured area unless it is removed from said container.
    • Drink products consumed by staff/volunteers will be transferred into a plastic container with a tightly fitted lid.
    • No food or drinks are allowed near the computers or at Control 1, 2, 3, or 4.
  • Office and arts and crafts supplies and equipment can be used as weapons, etching tools or a hiding places for other items of contraband. The presence of such items within areas accessible by youth shall be regulated as follows:
    • Push pins, thumb tacks, letter openers and craft knives are not allowed in the secured area.
    • Staplers, staples, stapled papers, staple removers, paper clips, and binder clips should be limited to staff-only areas within the secured area.
    • Scissors, pencils, pens (all varieties), markers, paint brushes, rubber bands, erasers, stamp pads, paper punches, compasses, protractors and rulers will be counted before and after the item(s) are used by youth. Youth shall not be released from the activity until the count is complete.
    • Pens are to remain in the possession of staff members or volunteers. Youth shall not have access to pens without the express permission of facility staff.
    • Any juvenile items (drawings) bearing symbols related to gang activity or satanic worship will be confiscated. 

Reporting Abuse/Neglect (Policy Chapter 1):


As a volunteer you are not a mandated reporter. While you are a volunteer with Douglas County Youth Services we expect you to report to staff or Administration any conversations a resident/student may have with you where an incident of alleged child abuse or neglect may have occurred.

We will ask that you complete a Special Incident Report to include:

  • Name of the resident/student involved.
  • A detailed account of the conversation that took place.
  • Name of alleged perpetrator; if known and
  • Any other helpful information

Any person participating without malice in the making of an oral or written report relating to the abuse or neglect of a child or in any follow-up activity to or investigation of the report shall have immunity from any civil liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed. Any such person shall have immunity with respect to participation in judicial proceedings resulting from the report.

Preventing or interfering with, with the intent to prevent, the making of a report of known or suspected child abuse or neglect is a class B misdemeanor.

Behavior Management (Policy Chapter 10)

Based on a Token-Economy system where the juvenile is given a “checkbook sheet” and is instructed to write down positive and negative feedback based on their behavior. This system allows the residents/students to take responsibility for their behavior by going through a teaching interaction with the staff that allows them to discuss:

  • What the inappropriate behavior was that they displayed.
  • What would have been a more appropriate behavior?
  • Why the behavior was wrong.
  • What were the consequences they received as a result of their behavior?

Consequences will be based on the behavior displayed and will increase as the behavior requires.

  • Step 1- staff will issue a fine/loss of checkbook monies.
  • Step 2- resident/ student may request or be issued a 15 minute cool down by staff.
  • Step 3- resident/ student may be sent to a room for Day Room Restriction by staff
  • Step 4- If behavior persists, resident/ student may be placed on lockdown by staff
    • Some behaviors may require that more restrictive consequences be issued immediately.

Volunteers should inform staff immediately if they encounter any problems with a resident/student such as:

  • Being disrespectful
  • Not following instructions
  • Refusing to participate
  • Being Disruptive

Security Procedures

A security procedure may be called by facility staff anytime there is a juvenile, juveniles or a situation that staff feels is escalating, and they have determined that the facility needs to be “locked down” in an effort to maintain or regain control.

  • If a Security Procedure is called volunteers need to follow staff’s directions.

Emergency Procedures (Policy Chapter 9)

In Case of a Fire or Fire Drill:

  • Day School: Volunteers will follow staff and students out to the parking lot.
  • Detention: Volunteers will follow staff and residents out into the fenced patio area.

In Case of a Tornado or Tornado Drill:

  • All staff, students, residents and volunteers are to take shelter in the Day School Day Room.

Youth Services Programs

Conditions of Release

Conditions of Release Services Include:

  • Conditions of Release Services Include:
  • Supervise Juveniles that are Awaiting Adjudication on Current Offense
  • Refer to Community Resources
  • Random Drug Testing
  • Complete Douglas County Youth Services Evaluation
  • Makes Recommendations to the Court

Conditions of Release are County funded.

Kansas Department of Corrections-Juvenile Services Case Management

The Kansas Department of Corrections - Juvenile Services contracts with Douglas County to provide case management services for youth in the custody of the The Kansas Department of Corrections- Juvenile Services in the Seventh Judicial District.

Services Include:

  • Conduct Youth and Family Assessments
  • Develop and Monitor Case Plans
  • Purchases Services for Juveniles in Custody
  • Provide Supervision and Monitoring
  • Parental Contact
  • Ensures Title IVE and ASFA compliance
  • Access State Purchase of Service funds
  • Coordinate Service Provider Payment with JJA
  • Utilize Local Purchase of Service Funds to Purchase
  • Clothing, Transportation and Misc.Services.

Kansas Department of Corrections- Juvenile Services are funded by the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Juvenile Community Corrections

The Kansas Department of Corrections - Juvenile Services contracts with Douglas County to provide Juvenile Community Corrections services for youth who have been assigned to Community Corrections, by the court in the Seventh Judicial District.

Services Include:

  • Forensic Evaluations
  • Community Service Work Coordination
  • Aggression Replacement Training
  • Baby Think it Over
  • Thinking for A Change
  • Motivation to Change
  • Choices
  • House Arrest w/out Electronic Monitoring
  • Social Skills Groups
  • Job Placement/ Job Referral
  • Drug Screens
  • Surveillance
  • YLS-CMI Risk Needs Tool

Detention Day School

The Detention Day School was created in cooperation with Unified School District #497. The day school serves adjudicated offenders who have been ordered to attend day school by the court. The day school program was developed as a way of providing services (in the community) to at-risk offenders who require more intensive supervision, while reducing the need for costly juvenile detention placement or other out of home /community placements. The day school is licensed to serve 40 students.

The Day School has been in operation since April of 1998.

Funded by the County and USD 497

Juvenile Detention

Douglas County is the host county responsible for the operation of a regional juvenile detention center serving a 13 county area in Northeast Kansas. The detention center is licensed for 18 residents

The Detention Center provides services to juveniles:

  • Awaiting Court Action
  • Serving Court Imposed Sanctions
  • Age Range of 10 to 18 Years of Age
  • Serves Both Male and Female
  • Length of Stay Is 1 - 90 Days

Counties Served: Anderson; Brown; Chase; Coffey; Douglas; Jackson; Jefferson; Lyon; Miami; Nemaha; Osage; Pottawatomie; Wabaunsee

Detention Center staff assists with Surveillance of youth supervised on ISP/Diversion/COR through field and telephone contact.

The Detention Center has been booking all juvenile for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office since June 13, 2003.

The Detention Center is County & Per Diem Funded
KDOC-Juvenile Services Grant funded