The 13th judicial district in Montana consists of Yellowstone County, with the largest city being Billings. The judicial district Youth Court is the second largest in the state, and is one of 22 judicial districts in all of Montana.
In the state of Montana, all juvenile probation services are rendered via a Youth Court system, as established by the Youth Court Act of Montana. Each judicial district operates under the supervision of a Youth Court district judge, and each field office in Yellowstone consists of a chief supervising juvenile probation officer, lower level juvenile probation officers and various administrative and support staff.
In Montana, juvenile probation officers do not have peace officer status, which means they are not permitted to make arrests of juvenile offenders under their supervision and are not allowed to carry firearms, which is a fairly standard policy for juvenile probation officers throughout the United States. The primary responsibilities of juvenile probation officers in Yellowstone County are to monitor the casework handed down by the 13th judicial district Youth Court judge. Responsibilities include supporting juveniles serving probation sentences, conducting interviews and investigations, filing progress reports, providing basic counseling services and making referrals for rehabilitation and other services as necessary.
In order to become a juvenile probation officer in Yellowstone County, as well as the rest of the state of Montana, an applicant must possess a bachelor’s degree in a human services related field of study. Acceptable majors include sociology, counseling, social work, psychology, criminology or criminal justice, among others.
The education requirement can be substituted for relevant work experience, if the applicant can demonstrate that they possess the skills and knowledge needed to perform the basic duties of a juvenile probation officer. Work experience with at-risk youth is preferred, as is counseling and any career field that involves administration, criminal justice, social work and casework.
Training in Yellowstone County
Once an applicant completes the juvenile probation officer hiring and interview process, they are then required to complete 40 hours of training at an academy located within the state during the first year of employment. Training includes report filing processes, law enforcement and juvenile probation standards, department, judicial district and state policies, casework, communication skills, and a variety of other skills needed to perform the job correctly.
After the first year of employment, juvenile probation officers are then required to complete an additional 16 hours of training each and every year that they are employed by the state of Montana as a juvenile probation officer.