Nathaniel Francis Jr.

We Make Florida Happen: Celebrating AFSCME Workers and the Vital Services We Provide To The Public

Resident: Miami
Title: Senior Probation Specialist
Agency: Department of Juvenile Justice
Department: Probation
Start date: 2011

Nathaniel's story: "I always wanted to work with the youth, to serve as a mentor and role model, like others did for me.

As a Juvenile Justice Probation Officer, we monitor court orders for youth. Our mission is to serve and protect the community by making sure juveniles have the proper services to turn their lives around. After completing my bachelors in sociology, I have been working with youth and families for 31 years in different states.

I get so much gratification out of being able to change the directions of the lives of the youth I work with. I always tell my co-workers, "The kid on your caseload is your family, because you are going to deal with their personal problems and their families' personal problems for the next years."

Our biggest challenge as an organization is staff availability. One of the problems we are down staff is because of the low pay. For programs where children have been exploited or are repeat offenders, they need intensive services every day so we need proper staffing to meet these needs.

We are changing the lives of these young kids. We have to change their lives because we don't want them being a part of the Department of Corrections."