With a juvenile probation offender count of 202, Missoula County is one of Montana’s largest providers of juvenile probation services. In Montana, juvenile probation is referred to as Youth Court, and the state’s juvenile probation services are separated into 22 judicial districts.
While many states combine both juvenile probation and parole into the same category, the state of Montana does not. All of the juvenile probation districts in the state- including the Missoula County district- operate under the direct supervision of the Youth Court District Judge in that district. There is no overarching state office that oversees the juvenile probation services in each district, so policies and procedures may vary from district to district and county to county.
Juvenile Probation Officer Duties and Responsibilities in Missoula County
Juvenile probation officers are required to manage various caseloads in Missoula County’s Youth Court. As one of the most populous areas in the state, there are more field offices located in the county than the rest of the state. Each field office consists of a chief probation officer, a staff of juvenile probation officers and administrative staff. The probation officers are responsible for monitoring cases and the progress of juveniles while on probation. Officers are also responsible for providing support with rehabilitative services, referrals and counseling, among many other responsibilities and duties.
Juvenile probation officers in Missoula County do not have peace officer status, are not authorized to make arrests of juveniles serving probation sentences and are not authorized to carry firearms while on duty.
Education Requirements for Juvenile Probation Officers
In order to be considered for juvenile probation officer jobs in Missoula County, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in human services or a closely related field of study, or they must have prior experience working with at-risk youth in a fashion similar to what they would do as a juvenile probation officer in Missoula County.
Once the hiring and interview process is completed successfully, recruits are then required to enroll in the juvenile probation officer training academy where they effectively learn to become Missoula County juvenile probation officers. During the first year of employment, all juvenile probation officer recruits are required to complete 40 hours of initial training courses. The courses include subjects such as communication, counseling, department procedures and practices, Montana and Missoula County laws and other subjects associated with the duties and responsibilities expected of juvenile probation officers.
After the first year of employment, juvenile probation officers in Missoula County are then required to complete at least 16 hours of additional training each and every year that they work for the Missoula County Youth Court. The additional training focuses on updating officers on new department procedures and practices, changes to juvenile probation laws and the refinement of skills learned while at the training academy and while on duty.