The demand for juvenile probation officers has continued to grow in Montgomery, just as the city’s capacity for holding juvenile offenders has also seen expansion, from four cells in 1969, to 52 by 1990. Juvenile probation officers are professionals who come from an education and skills background that allows them to provide the best assistance possible to young offenders caught in the juvenile justice system. Juvenile probation officers are responsible for referring their assigned offenders to the appropriate community resources, such as drug treatment and mental health counseling. A boon to the juvenile justice system in Montgomery came when a juvenile court mental health program received a $237,000 grant from the Department of Justice.
Experience and Education for Probation Careers
While researching how to become a juvenile probation officer in Montgomery, potential applicants should first be aware of the education requirement. Education is a mandatory component in the three possible ways candidates can qualify for juvenile probation officer jobs in Montgomery. These are:
- Master’s degree in the behavioral sciences field
- At least six months of work experience in a juvenile-social services field, plus a bachelor’s degree in a social or behavioral sciences field such as:
- Social work
- Criminal justice
- An equivalent combination of experience and education
Juvenile Probation Officer Application and Training
Candidates can apply for juvenile probation officer jobs by creating an online profile with Montgomery’s official city website and then responding to any posted vacancies on the city’s jobs directory. If there are no current openings candidates can opt to be notified when this occurs by filling out a job interest card.
Candidates without a master’s degree in the behavioral sciences will need to have some prior training in a related field if they intend to submit a competitive application. Those successfully hired will receive additional training along with an orientation with the Montgomery juvenile probation department. After their first year in their new careers, officers will need to complete 12 hours of continuing training each year.
What to Expect as a Juvenile Probation Officer
Montgomery juvenile probation officers have two principal functions: the intake and probation of juvenile delinquents. During the intake process the officer will assess a young offender’s needs, family situation, social environment, and any psychological or substance abuse issues. The probation officer will make decisions regarding the juvenile offender based on an intake interview, background examination, and consideration of any other relevant factors. These include:
- Substance abuse treatment programs
- Vocational or education classes
- Mental health counseling
- Referrals for other community resource programs
The probation process for juvenile offenders involves:
- Taking random urinalysis drug and alcohol tests
- Checking to ensure a young offender attends his or her required appointments and classes
- Noting any unwanted associations or familial problems that may interfere with a juvenile’s completion of the probation terms and rehabilitation process