In a recent year 1,484 juveniles were found to be delinquent in Iowa. Juvenile probation officers, known as juvenile court officers within Iowa’s juvenile justice system, played a key role in helping these young adults learn how to become reintegrated back into society as responsible young citizens. In the same year 1,010 juveniles were placed on formal probation, and over 101,710 hours of community service were performed. Juvenile court officers are an essential part of the juvenile justice system in Iowa.
Required Education and Training for Iowa’s Juvenile Court Officers
A bachelor’s degree in any field – including social work, psychology, and criminal justice – is required for applicants interested in juvenile court officer jobs in Iowa. No prior training is needed, and newly hired officers will have 80 hours of training during their first year of employment. They will also have many hours of on-the-job training as well. Continuing education requirements after the first year of service include a minimum 15 hours of annual education.
Those interested in careers as juvenile court officers in Iowa must also meet additional requirements set forth by the hiring county or district, as well as the following general prerequisites:
- U.S. citizen
- Good moral character
- No felony or domestic violence convictions
- Mostly clean driving record
- Willingness and ability to perform all job duties
- Valid driver’s license
- Excellent reading, writing, and communication skills
- Ability to work well with people from a variety of backgrounds
Interested candidates for juvenile court officer jobs and careers should monitor the State Judicial Branch’s job announcement webpage for any vacancies. When there is an opening, candidates should fill out the seven-page application, sending it along with a resume, writing samples, and a cover letter to the appropriate location indicated in the job announcement. Candidates must make sure to fill out the application completely and legibly, and note that a resume does not take the place of a completed application.
Iowa’s Juvenile Court Philosophy
The State of Iowa handles juvenile criminal activity differently from the way it deals with adult criminal activity. Juveniles are not convicted of crimes, but instead adjudicated to be delinquent. A juvenile is not sentenced in Iowa but instead receives a disposition, whose primary component is a rehabilitative plan, designed to fulfill the main objective of preventing further delinquency.
A hearing is held to determine if the juvenile delinquent should face time in a detention facility, and a separate hearing takes place with the delinquent and his or her parents or guardians where everyone agrees on a plan of rehabilitation. During this process, the juvenile court officer plays the role of intermediary between the juvenile delinquent, his or her parents or guardians, and the judge. The juvenile court officer is responsible for making an accurate presentation of the juvenile delinquent’s situation to the courts, taking this into consideration when drafting a rehabilitation plan, and must also translate the legalese of the juvenile justice system into a language which the delinquent can understand.