In Washington County the Probation Unit of the county government oversees the probation of juvenile offenders. The officers assigned these responsibilities are designated Juvenile Counselors, and the Probation unit employed 74 officers in 2011.
Juvenile Counselors have made significant inroads in reduction of juvenile delinquency. Since a peak in 2007 of 4,646 juvenile referrals, there has been a steady decline through the years to a low of 3,539 referrals in 2011.
Major Probation Units Have Experienced Lightened Caseloads
There are several units comprising the Probation Unit. The Assessment Unit provides intakes of incoming juvenile offenders; in 2005 each member of this unit had an average caseload of 27, while in 2011 this had dropped to 32. The Early Intervention Unit identifies at risk youth who have committed a first offense; the average caseload has fallen from 27 in 2005 to 21 in 2011. The Court Unit provide interactions with legal and court officials; the average caseload has fallen from 14 to 8 during this period.
The Field Unit monitors probationers during their daily activities; average caseloads for this unit have halved from 20 in 2005 to 10 in 2011. Sex offender Units have seen their caseloads fall from 88 in 2005 to 55 in 2011. The Intensive Probation Unit has had their average caseload decline to 21 from a high of 26 in 2005. Only the substance abuse program has experienced a surge in caseload with 127 in 2005 to 141 in 2011.
Community service has also shrunk as the number of offenders have declined. In 2005, juvenile offenders completed 8,236 hours of community service, with 85 percent of offenders completing all assigned hours. In 2011, offenders logged 6,094 hours of service, with 80.9 percent of offenders completing their sentences.
Requirements to Become a Juvenile Probation Officer in Washington County, Oregon
Those with juvenile probation officer jobs in Washington County, Oregon receive annual salaries ranging from $44,820 up to $54,480. The minimum requirements for candidates interested in learning how to become a juvenile probation officer in Washington County include:
- Knowledge juvenile offender behavior and methods of treatment
- Knowledge of group and individual counseling techniques
- Knowledge of the juvenile justice system
- Knowledge of community resources for juveniles
- Knowledge of case management
- Proficiency in the use of physical restraints
- Possession of a valid driver’s license
- Ability to assess risks and needs of offenders
- Ability to produce treatment plan
- Ability to maintain discipline
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Report writing
While Washington County does not mandate a college degree, the majority of these prerequisites are acquired through post-secondary instruction in psychology, sociology, or criminal justice. Preference is also given to candidates who have demonstrated proficiency in writing and speaking Spanish.
Newly hired juvenile probation officers must complete basic training at the Oregon Juvenile Justice Training Academy. In subsequent years, officers must maintain their juvenile probation officer certification through 40 hours of in-service training each year.