How to Become a Juvenile Probation Counselor

The job of a juvenile probation counselor (sometimes called an intake counselor) is to evaluate complaints filed by law enforcement agencies, parents, educators, or others in the community who allege a juvenile has committed a criminal or status (one that only a minor can be charged with) offense. Their goal is to determine whether additional court interventions are necessary or if the matter can be diverted from court. They work very closely with law enforcement, social services, schools and parents to help juveniles become successful.

Responsibilities of the juvenile probation counselor (JPC) are numerous. The JPC’s first responsibility is to evaluate complaints filed against the juvenile. At that point, the JPC will schedule appointments to meet with the juvenile and his/her family in order to gather additional information and inform them of the juvenile court process. The JPC may also schedule an appointment with the complainant to discuss the process and gather more information. The first appointment with the juvenile and his/her family is called the intake appointment. At this stage, the JPC is responsible for explaining the charges filed against the individual, diversions to court that may be available, and the court process if the case is to be forwarded to court for further interventions. If the case is referred to court, the juvenile probation counselor is charged with the task of preparing the initial court report that includes a summary of the charges, information gathered at intake and recommendations for interventions.

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Become a Juvenile Probation Counselor: Training & Requirements

To become a Juvenile Probation Counselor, you usually work for the state, of which most require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, social work, psychology, education or human services. In addition to the educational requirements, the JPC should possess the skills necessary to work with at-risk youth. He/she should be familiar with community resources and how to develop a plan of action that will address the needs of the juvenile beyond merely the charges. The JPC must be able to work with various government and social agencies.

Juvenile Probation Counselor Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that probation officers and correctional treatment specialists earn a median salary of $48,190 per year.1 Individual salary can depend on factors like the location of the position, the types of cases processed, and education and experience levels.

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Juvenile Probation Counselor Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists will decrease by 1% during the decade from 2012-2022.1 Positions will also become available due to retirements.

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References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/probation-officers-and-correctional-treatment-specialists.htm

Last Edited by Charles Sipe on July, 7, 2012