Juveniles sentenced to probation in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania fall under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Probation Office of the County Department of Human Services. In 2008, the average caseload for the entire JPO was 6,288 per month. Seventy-three percent of JPO cases were males, while 27 percent involved female offenders.
Requirements to Become a Juvenile Probation Officer in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
Education – The minimum requirements for juvenile probation officer jobs in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania include:
- A bachelor’s degree, with at least 18 credits of course work in social or behavioral sciences
- Possession of a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license
- Successful completion of a written test or oral interview
- Ability to complete a firearms training course
- Willingness to work on nights, weekends or holidays
Firearms Training – New officers must complete a 49 hour training program provided by the County Probation and Parole Officers’ Firearm Education and Training Commission in order to become a juvenile probation officer in Allegheny County. This course will include 39 hours of Basic Firearms Training which provides instruction in:
- Introduction to firearms
- Firearm safety
- Jurisdiction and use of force
- Probation officer authority
- Shooting fundamentals
Ongoing Training – Upon graduation from this course, officers will be awarded peace officer status, which must be maintained through annual re-qualification with firearms. All new officers must complete one year of employment under the close supervision of a supervisor or senior juvenile probation officer. In Allegheny County additional training with county health officials is also required.
Allegheny County is a Model for the Rest of Pennsylvania
Allegheny County is one of Pennsylvania’s most progressive juvenile justice systems. In 2004, the county was awarded the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grant for its Models of Change initiative. This program helped the county improve a continuous care system for juvenile delinquents in need of mental health care. The Models of Change initiative identifies young offenders in need of medical treatment at the earliest stages of the juvenile justice system and diverts them to appropriate services.
The Allegheny County juvenile justice system also encourages the participation of family and parents. The staff at the probation office is also outstanding professionals who receive at least 40 hours of additional training each year specifically regarding behavioral issues and treatment. Supervisors of personnel are also dedicated to effective distribution of juvenile services; instead of devoting time to paperwork or administrative duties, they devote almost 90 percent of their time to training and improving juvenile justice processes.
County officials have also made a concerted effort to improve cross-agency cooperation. Many Health Services Administration Organization staff now are assigned to the Juvenile Probation Office in order to facilitate more effective distribution of treatment services. HSAO officers are now also involved in the training of juvenile probation officers. This has allowed probation officers to more easily integrate community and health resources in their supervision strategies.