Within Cuyahoga County, juveniles sentenced to probation are under the supervision of the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Probation Department, a division of the Juvenile Court. In 2010, this department supported a staff of 122 juvenile probation officers, supervisors and administrative staff. Officers may be delegated to one of two investigative probation units or five probation supervision units.
Requirements and Training for Juvenile Probation Officers in Cuyahoga
The minimum requirements to become a juvenile probation officer in Cuyahoga County, Ohio are:
- Possession of a bachelor’s degree in Education, Social Science or a related field
- At least one year of case management experience; internships with the juvenile court can satisfy this requirement
- Ability to pass a drug screen
- Willingness to work seven days a week and at night in case of emergencies
This is a demanding career in which juvenile probation officers are expected to possess competencies in:
- Adolescent behavior and development
- Community resource allocation and access
- Understanding of the juvenile justice system
- Case management, interviewing and counseling
- Written and verbal communication
- Making presentations, testifying or produce recommendation during legal proceedings
- Ability to de-escalate confrontations
- Capable of stress management
- Collection and management of personal information
- Investigate probation violations
New juvenile probation officers must complete at least 40 hours of training in the following classes:
- Case management
- Interviewing and communication
- Report writing
- Substance abuse issues
- First aid
- Computer skills
- Risk factors
- Family engagement
Following the first year, juvenile probation officers must complete at least 32 hours of training each year.
Responsibilities of Juvenile Probation Officers in Cuyahoga County, Ohio
The investigative units are designated as Central Probation Investigations which executes general investigations, while the Special Services Investigations is tasked to interstate compact cases and detention center juveniles. The Central Probation Investigations unit is responsible for intake and initial risk assessments using the Ohio Youth Assessment System, which utilizes a variety of metrics including mental health, substance abuse, school performance, offense history and family relationships.
The Supervision Probation units monitor juveniles and implement rehabilitative plans. These officers interact with families, teachers, court officers and employers as they execute their customized treatment strategies. Probation officers attempt to foster lasting and impactful relationships between the offender and community leaders that will reduce the risk of repeat offenses. Probation officers may use a graduated system of sanctions to help limit violations and anti-social behavior.
One of the most effective programs in the Cuyahoga County juvenile justice system is the Community Service and Restitution program. In 2009, almost 2015 juvenile cases were referred to community service programs, resulting in 1,521 successful completions. These probationers worked in a variety of facilities including nursing homes, churches, Boys’ and Girls’ clubs, libraries, museums, governmental agencies, and parks. These youths participated in gardening, litter collection, public greeting, painting, and senior citizen interaction.