In Vermont, juvenile probation officers have careers with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) that is responsible for the wellbeing of juveniles in the state. The DCF works with the Department of Corrections (DOC) to address juvenile delinquency in Vermont.
During 2010, 6.4% of the crimes in Vermont were committed by youths under the age of 18. The actions of fifteen year olds led to most of the charges to juveniles in that year. In Vermont, youths as young as ten can be sentenced as adults and prosecuted in criminal court. The state’s Attorney has the discretion of whether or not to file a petition for the youth in juvenile or adult court.
Experience, Education and Training for Vermont’s Juvenile Probation Officers
The requirements for becoming a juvenile probation officer in Vermont include having a bachelor’s degree with 18 months of experience in human services casework. At least six months of this experience must have involved working with children or youth services. The later requirement is waived for those who have a master’s degree.
Newly hired juvenile probation officers in Vermont learn how to become a probation officer by taking part in 80 hours of training in family centered practice during the first six months of their careers. They must complete an additional 40 hours of training during their first year. Ongoing training is required for those with careers in juvenile probation in Vermont.
The Juvenile Justice Process in Vermont
Once a youth has been placed on probation in Vermont, his or her case is handled by a juvenile probation officer who is frequently a social worker. In addressing the treatment of juvenile offenders, the DCF practices the principles of Balanced and Restorative Justice that focus on:
- Case management based in rehabilitation
- Competency development
- Public safety
In Vermont, Juvenile probation officer jobs involve creating a disposition case plan that must be approved by the court. 935 juvenile delinquency cases were disposed in Vermont in fiscal year 2009. For low-level offenses, juvenile probations officers in Vermont use the Youth Assessment and Screening Instrument (YASI) to decide how to handle the case of the youth. This practice involves determining service plans for youth in probation based on assessments of:
- Protective factors
Vermont statutes require that the conditions of probation involve treatment, rehabilitation, and training. Conditions of probation may include:
- A requirement for restitution or community service
- Attending a particular school program
- Mental health treatment
Juveniles may be placed on probation for a specified term. Disposition orders expire when the juvenile turns eighteen. Both juveniles and the adults who are legally responsible for them have to sign the juvenile probation certificates.
Youths aged 10-18 that were originally charged in criminal court are known as youthful offenders. Juvenile probation officers in Vermont also handle the cases of such youthful offenders when their case has been transferred to family court. They have the authority to place a youthful offender who is 18 years or older in an adult facility.