Juvenile Probation Officer Careers in New York

Juvenile probation officer jobs are offered through a patchwork of agencies including the Probation Commission, New York State Office of Children and Family Services, and the Division of Juvenile Justice.  Most probation services are offered through the 50 county probation departments, but the Division of Juvenile Justice oversees services within New York City.

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New York’s Juvenile Justice System

New York State recognizes that young men and women must overcome enormous issues including rampant drug use, unemployment, lower academic achievement, poor community or school influence and extensive violence.  It has instituted the New York State Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Program to address these issues through a variety of forums, agency initiatives and prevention strategies. It received an initial funding of $2.4 million in 1999.

In 2008, more than 12,500 juveniles entered the New York City Juvenile Courts system.  Upon arrest for a criminal offense, a juvenile probation officer interviews the offender, victim, arresting officer and offender’s family.  The juvenile probation officer must make a recommendation to pursue prosecution or dismissal within 60 days, during which the officer may attempt to resolve the matter through negotiations.  The officer makes a recommendation to allow or deny pretrial release.  The Department of Probation typically placed 4,497 juveniles under supervision, while 2,216 were placed in various alternative programs in 2008.  Juveniles may be supervised for up to two years.

How to Become a Juvenile Probation Officer in New York:
Education and Examination

An application to a state, county or city agency should include a resume, college transcripts and other supporting documents.  If the application meets minimum qualifications, candidates will be scheduled for a written civil service exam, which will include multiple-choice questions about:

  • Developing and maintaining relationship with offenders
  • Writing reports

Applicants should possess at least a bachelor’s degree in one of the following areas:

  • Law enforcement
  • Social work
  • Criminal justice
  • Psychology

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, candidates must also have at least two years of experience in counseling or casework. This professional experience requirement may be substituted with a graduate degree.

A series of physical tests may also be administered to ensure that new officers can complete a rigorous training program and perform professional duties.  Interviews, medical exams, and psychological evaluations will also be conducted.

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Training of Juvenile Probation Officers in New York

The Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives offers training for Peace Officer Certification and Fundamentals of Probation Practice.  Probation officers are commissioned as peace officers and must complete basic peace officer training, which is usually a week in length.  This training may include specialized Probation Officer Safety and Survival Training (OSST) which include:

  • Arrest process
  • Transport of prisoners
  • Aerosol spray use
  • Firearm safety

A week long firearms training program must also be successfully completed within the first year of employment, although the privilege of carrying firearms while on duty is determined by county agencies. Following the first year, juvenile probation officers should receive at least 21 hours of training annually.

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