The Field Services Unit of the Denton County Juvenile Probation Department supervises and provides probation and deferred prosecution services for youth who are ages 10 to 17. These children have either received deferred prosecution through a voluntary agreement or have been placed on probation or deferred prosecution by a court with legal jurisdiction.
The rules of probation or deferred prosecution, in general, require:
- School attendance
- Good conduct
- Good citizenship
- Participation in specified programs, including:
- Financial restitution
- Community service
Juvenile probation officers enforce these rules, holding the juveniles accountable, while they help the youth and family achieve positive changes.
Parents are expected to participate in their child’s probation program. As the source of social, emotional and financial support, the family is key to a successful probation outcome. It is important that parents work closely with the probation officer by knowing the terms and conditions of their child’s probation. (See sample Probation Terms of the Juvenile Court: County Court at Law Number 1). Parents should attend all meetings with the probation officer and child. Parents are an excellent source of information about how their child is progressing or if the child are struggling.
Family-Based Services Benefits
Family-based services and interventions for youth are some of the most well-studied and effective ways to support positive juvenile functioning. Juvenile probation officers are committed to facilitating the constructive involvement of parents and family members to assist children in accepting responsibility and to carrying out the obligations set by the court.
Counseling often focuses on the family’s goals for improvement and assists the family in moving toward these goals. Depending on the type of treatment, counselors may come to the family’s home to work in their environment or services may require meeting at a counselor’s office. Parenting classes are also an excellent means of support for parents having to meet the challenge of raising youth in today’s society.
Probation Officer Responsibilities
Juvenile probation officers have the responsibility to assist juveniles and their families in meeting the court-ordered terms of probation. Probation officers do their work in strict adherence to the state-mandated Code of Ethics for Juvenile Justice Professionals. Juvenile probation officers develop individual case plans with the family and child based on goals and objectives that will assist the youth in improving his or her behavior. Community resources are made available to youth and families to aid the juvenile in complying with the terms of probation.
When a child does not comply with the terms of probation, additional interventions or more restrictive sanctions will be imposed by the Court. These more restrictive sanctions may include counseling, Intensive Supervision Probation, placement outside of the home, or commitment to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
Juvenile Probation officers are committed to assisting youth in becoming successful by taking into consideration the unique situation of each child, the child’s family, and the child's developmental needs. Probation officers also have the responsibility for ensuring that the safety and protection of the community is considered while providing supervision.
Goal of probation services
The ultimate goal is for juveniles to succeed on probation and be a productive member of the community. Juvenile probation officers treat juveniles with confidentiality, concern, and respect. The probation officer works hard to see that child leaving their care and custody are better equipped to build productive, law-abiding futures. All children have the potential for good and they deserve our best efforts to assist them in becoming good citizens.