Unlike most other states, Utah’s Juvenile Court not only has exclusive jurisdiction over youths under the age of 18, but also administers the juvenile probation department.
Juveniles who get in trouble in Salt Lake County are referred to the Third District Juvenile Court in Salt Lake City. A juvenile probation officer decides whether the youth should appear before a judge or whether the case can be settled at the meeting with the offender and his/her parents. Only a judge can order a youth to be sentenced to probation, which begins the minute the order is entered.
How to Become a Juvenile Probation Officer in Salt Lake County
In order to qualify for juvenile probation officer jobs in Salt Lake County it is necessary to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college/university in criminal justice, counseling, social work, psychology, criminology, sociology or a related field as well as approximately one year experience that involved counseling/teaching juveniles.
Applications are only accepted for jobs that are open. A list of all job openings is found at the Utah Department of Human Resource Management website under, “Utah Job Match,” the statewide online application system. Candidates who meet the requirements for juvenile probation officer should apply by clicking on the position announcement in Job Match and follow the instructions.
The average annual salary for juvenile probation officer in Salt Lake County is $38,000.
Salt Lake County Juvenile Probation Officers in Action
A juvenile probation officer career involves intensive supervision of youthful offenders. The emphasis is on early intervention, the consistent implementation of court-mandated orders, and referrals to community agencies that provide quality services to enhance the positive development of young people and their families. Juvenile probation officers maintain accurate records, conduct evaluations and submit progress and dispositional reports to the Court.
Assessment and program planning are the focus of a youth’s first month on probation. Juvenile probation officers in Salt Lake County use the computer program, “Protective and Risk Assessment,” to identify both risk factors (those things, individuals or actions that increase the juvenile’s likelihood of offending again) and protective factors (those that safeguard the youth from becoming a repeat offender). Juvenile probation officers strive to eliminate the top three risk factors and utilize the top three protective factors.
Special Programs of the Salt Lake County Juvenile Probation Department
- Mediation. Special meetings with all parties involved to iron out differences between juveniles, parents, school officials and victims.
- Drug Court. For juveniles with substance abuse problems.
- Family Dependency Drug Court. Focuses on families in which both the juvenile and the parents have substance abuse problems. Gets all of the individuals into the most appropriate treatment and monitors their progress with the goal of being able to keep the family unit together.