Harris, the largest county in Texas, has a population of 4,092,459, over half of which live in Houston. There are nine CUPS (community unit probation services) offices in Harris County. In addition, the Harris County Probation Department operates a leadership academy, detention center and secure and non-secure treatment facilities.
The large Juvenile Justice Center in Houston holds numerous courts, including Gang Court, Mental Health Court, Girl’s Court and Drug Court. Most juveniles involved in the court system remain at home under probation department supervision. Each month over 4,863 juveniles are supervised by Harris County probation officers.
Duties of a Juvenile Probation Officer in Harris County
A Harris County juvenile probation officer’s caseload management includes:
- Developing supportive relationships with juveniles under his/her care
- Meeting regularly with juveniles and their families
- Maintaining case files
- Preparing and delivering reports to courts
- Ensuring that offenders meet all conditions of their probations, such as attending school, keeping curfew hours, doing community service, holding a job, etc.
- Scheduling drug testing; searching juveniles and their rooms
The probation department also has a Gang Suppression Unit that works with city anti-gang units to monitor gang members and participate in graffiti abatement and tattoo removal.
Requirements for Becoming a Juvenile Probation Officer in Harris County
Requirements that must be met to qualify for juvenile probation officer jobs in Harris County are:
- Bachelor’s degree or better in Criminal Justice, Social Work, Psychology or a related field. Preference is given to candidates with a Masters in Social Work.
- Minimum of one year work experience in a casework or therapeutic setting.
- At least 21 years old
- Valid driver’s license; available personal transportation
- Skill working in Microsoft’s Outlook and WORD
- Good oral and written communication skills
- High tolerance for working in a stressful, emotionally charged environment
- Willingness to work with dangerous, aggressive youths
- Some positions require bi-lingual fluency (English-Spanish)
The Harris County juvenile probation department has volunteer and student-intern programs. Hours worked often may be used to partially or totally fill the work experience requirement.
How to Apply for a Job as a Harris County Juvenile Probation Officer
All candidates interested in how to become a Harris County juvenile probation officer must first submit a completed official application form (resumes can be attached). Applications are only accepted for open positions which are listed online at the Harris County Human Resources and Risk Management website. Application forms are also available online or in person at 1310 Prairie (first floor), Houston, TX 77002-5250; tel.: 713/755-5250. Candidates whose applications are accepted must successfully complete each of the following steps in the hiring process:
- Drug screening
- Physical examination/TB skin test
- Personal interview
- Criminal background check
Salaries of Juvenile Probation Officers in Harris County
The starting salary for the position of juvenile probation officer in Harris County is $16.81-$19.78 an hour. The average annual salary of juvenile probation officers in Houston is $47,000. Benefits offered to Harris County employees include health, dental, vision and life insurance and a retirement plan.