Juvenile Probation Officer Careers in Ohio

Ohio supports one of the largest juvenile detainee and probation populations in the country.  With almost 21,000 youths detained in 2008 each at a cost of $14,000 to $65,000 per year, the Ohio state government is currently considering a number of non-detention alternatives that would divert at risk youths from highly ineffective correctional facilities into more effective treatment and community supervision methods.  The Ohio Department of Youth Services oversees the juvenile corrections systems and works with the 88 county juvenile courts to manage probationers.

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A recent study by the Ohio Interagency Task Force on Mental Health and Juvenile Justice urged change in the juvenile justice system that involved diverting a large portion of youths with mental health or substance abuse issues from detention.  It also recommended that the Ohio Department of Mental Health take a larger role in early screening of offenders so that more appropriate remedies can be implemented. Too many of the youths entering detention facilities are suffering from undiagnosed psychiatric disorders, which are better addressed in residential treatment facilities or through outpatient community supervision.

The role of juvenile probation officers is likely to evolve as Ohio revamps its juvenile justice system to respond to these new concerns.  Many of the recommendations made by the task force are set for executive implementation in 2014-15.  The DYS currently interacts with 110,000 youths across the state through more than 610 service programs.

Education Necessary to Become a Juvenile Probation Officer in Ohio

Applications for juvenile probation officer jobs in Ohio should be directed to county probation offices usually found within the administrative offices of juvenile courts.  Most of these jobs require the following qualifications:

  • An associate’s degree but a bachelor’s degree is preferred
  • At least one year of professional experience in a related field like corrections social work or counseling
  • At least 21 years of age

Training for Juvenile Probation Officers in Ohio

The Department of Youth Services at the direction of Governor John Kasich instituted new training standards for those learning how to become juvenile probation officers in Ohio effective 2012.  New juvenile probation officers must complete 40 hours of instruction in the first year.  This training must include the following:

  • At least five hours in Juvenile Justice which includes topics on
    • Ethics
    • Family engagement
    • Interagency collaboration
    • Local resource orientation
    • Role of probation officer
    • Victim awareness
  • At least ten hours in Probation Officer Basic Practices which includes topics on
    • Drug testing
    • Interviewing and communication
    • Report writing
    • Search and seizure
    • Special populations
    • Technology
    • Verbal strategies and conflict resolution
    • Court etiquette
    • Case management
    • Cultural sensitivity
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  • At least ten hours in Orientation to Evidence Based Practices which includes topics on
    • Assessment motivated case management
    • Graduate sanctions
    • Mental health orientation
    • Risk assessment
    •  Substance abuse
  • The last 15 hours may be devoted to electives including
    • CPR
    • Computer skills
    • Defensive driving
    • Firearms qualifications
    • Communicable diseases

Following the first year, juvenile probation officers must complete 20 hours of training annually.

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