TJJD raises pay for direct-care staff by 15% to address high turnover, shortages

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department is raising pay by 15 percent for direct-care staff in an effort to address high staff turnover and shortages.

The raise makes permanent a temporary pay hike instituted as an emergency measure in April 2022, says TJJD.

The pay raise, effective July 1, will apply to all these direct-care positions:

  • Youth Development Coaches (Juvenile Correctional Officers)
  • Team Leaders (Dorm Supervisors)
  • Case Managers and Case Manager Supervisors
  • Cooks
  • Food Service Managers
  • Youth Safety Managers
  • Parole Officers and Parole Supervisors

The 15 percent raise will increase the starting annual pay for Youth Development Coaches (JCO IIIs) from $36,238 to $41,700.

"The conversion of the 15% bonus to a permanent salary ladder increase is the first step in stabilizing the agency. Recruiting and retaining qualified staff is a critical component necessary to meet our responsibilities," interim executive director Shandra Carter said. "We are steadfastly committed to helping keep our communities safe and rehabilitating the youth in our care and custody. We will continue to problem-solve and seek creative and innovative solutions to the secure facility staffing and county detention bed crisis."

The agency says it is funding these raises through cost savings from vacant positions and depoliticizing other planned expenditures. It will shift funds from certain contract services that are not being used and from planned re-entry enrichment programs that will be postponed at this time.

TJJD projects it will be able to absorb the cost of raising salaries this biennium (FY 2022-2023) through appropriated general revenue.

This comes after the agency closed its doors and is not accepting new kids because it is "hemorrhaging" staff, and officials fear they can’t ensure the safety of the nearly 600 youths already in their custody, according to a Texas Tribune report.