Juvenile probation officers in Illinois act as a critical bridge for young offenders between the juvenile court system and general society. Officers are responsible for teaching juvenile offenders how to become responsible members of society by connecting them with appropriate community resources and providing guidance as role models. The most common reasons why juveniles are in the probation system in Illinois are:
- Property crimes including burglary and motor vehicle theft, consisting of 45 percent of probation cases
- Violent crimes including assault, sex offenses, and weapons crimes, consisting of 26 percent of probation cases
- Alcohol and drug violations, which comprise 12 percent of juvenile probation cases
Required Education to Become a Juvenile Probation Officer in Illinois
Candidates wishing to apply for juvenile probation officer jobs in Illinois must have a bachelor’s degree, with a preference given to those with a major or significant coursework in psychology, sociology, criminal justice, social work, or any other related fields.
No previous training is required, though experience in related employment fields can be beneficial.
Job candidates must fill out two applications and provide two sets of certified official college transcripts – forwarded directly from a college or university – one set to be sent to the Probation Division in Springfield, and the other for the Chief Judge’s Office in the appropriate district where the candidate is applying. Job applicants should also include a current resume when sending the applications.
Once the Probation Division has established that the candidate meets the minimum requirements for juvenile probation officer jobs, the applicant will be placed on an eligibility list where his or her name will be kept for one year, with the option of renewal for an additional year.
Other Requirements for Careers as Juvenile Probation Officers
Other requirements for becoming a juvenile probation officer in Illinois include:
- Being a citizen of the United States, with some exceptions
- Become an Illinois resident within 90 days of hire, with some exceptions
- No felony or domestic violence convictions
Under Illinois State law, probation officers are responsible for monitoring offender compliance with court-ordered probation terms that can include:
- Employment or vocational training
- Psychiatric or medical treatment
- Community service
- Making payments for court costs, restitution, child support, foster care, or home expenses
- Residence restrictions such as with parents or foster care
- Restrictions for entering certain geographic or associating with certain persons
Juvenile Probation System
The Supreme Court of Illinois established the Division of Probation Services, which oversees the juvenile probation system throughout the state. Specifically, the Administrative Office oversees juvenile probation services, which are directly administered by the state’s 22 circuit courts. Counties within each judicial circuit have their own probation department, with a total of 62 across the state. The requirements for juvenile probation officer careers can vary from county to county and district to district, although the general requirements listed here are consistent throughout the state.