The goal of Community Supervision is to promote community safety, ensure youth accountability, and provide services to all youth who fall under the supervision of the court. Community Supervision helps youth fulfill court-ordered obligations and helps prevent their return to the justice system. Juvenile Court Services uses a Positive Youth Justice framework for working with youth and their families. This means that staff support youth to stay motivated to achieve their goals by providing encouragement and incentives.
Juvenile Probation Counselors (JPCs) work with youth at each step of the process; whether a youth has been brought to detention or a youth is fulfilling court obligations, their JPC works alongside them to ensure their success. JPCs strive to conduct services with dignity and compassion as a foundation for success. JPCs partner with youth, their parents or guardians, schools, law enforcement, and others in the community who are also supporting the youth to provide opportunities for success and achievement. Below is information about Community Supervision process and the different types of Juvenile Probation Counselors.
All youth engaged in Court Services receive a Positive Achievement Change Tool Assessment (PACT) conducted by a Juvenile Probation Counselor (JPC). The PACT helps the JPC collaborate with the youth and family to ensure appropriate services are provided; conditions of court orders or agreements are successfully completed; and the level of community supervision is responsive to the needs of the youth and the community.
During the assessment process, the youth and family meet with a Juvenile Probation Counselor. The JPC asks questions about the youth’s current experiences and circumstances. The process helps inform which programs or actions might be most helpful. Results of the assessment are used to recommend a wide variety of services as part of a community supervision plan. The plan is designed to make positive changes that reduce the risk of further involvement in the legal system.
When a police officer arrests a youth and thinks the youth should be held in detention, before the youth can be brought to detention, the officer must contact the Juvenile Court Services Screening Unit. The Screening Unit Juvenile Probation Counselor (JPC) reviews the circumstances of the arrest with the police officer and lets the officer know if the youth can be held in detention. The Screening Unit JPC references the Juvenile Detention Intake Criteria when making this decision.
If a youth is brought to detention, a Screening Unit JPC will talk to the youth and their parent or guardian. Depending on the circumstances, the youth may stay in detention until a judge can review the case at a court hearing (usually the next business day) or be “screened and released.”
- If a youth is held in detention for a court hearing the next day, the judge decides during the hearing whether the youth will continue to stay in detention. The judge will work with the family, the Screening Unit JPC, and the youth to decide the next steps.
- If a youth is “screened and released,” a judge reads all the information about the arrest, even if it is after typical court operating hours (evenings or weekends), and then decides to release the youth to their guardian’s custody without having to wait for a court hearing. Screen and release was implemented to reduce the number of youth held in detention.
Youth are assigned an Intake Probation Counselor after criminal charges are filed, which can be a challenging time for a youth and their family. The goal at Intake is to help youth move successfully through the court process (the different types of court hearings are described HERE and to introduce or implement interventions that reduce the risk of future involvement in the court system.
The Intake Probation Counselor is an impartial participant in the legal process whose role is to provide information that assists the judge at key decision points. The Intake Probation Counselor provides the judge with recommendations intended to be restorative while linking youth and families to community programs where they can receive services and support. In less common scenarios, an Intake Probation Counselor may recommend placement outside of the community if a youth’s needs exceed what is possible within their own community or there is a significant safety risk.
Community Supervision Probation Counselors are based in four community-based field offices located in Seattle, Bellevue, Renton, and Federal Way. In most cases, a youth’s Community Supervision JPC will be located in the field office that is the closest to the youth’s home.
The Community Supervision JPC meets with the youth and their family, conducts a full assessment, and sets up a case plan. The JPC then assists the youth to meet court ordered conditions and make referrals to appropriate services.
When the youth achieves goals as part of their case plan, the JPC acknowledges and supports these successes. If a youth is not following the court order, the JPC generally works with the youth and family to identify and reduce the barriers to success. The JPC may be required to bring the youth back to court and ask the court to review the case and possibly sanction the youth for not following the court order.
Directions and Contact information for the field probation offices:
If a youth is charged with a sex offense, a Sex Offender JPC conducts the intake and risk/needs assessment. Some first-time sex offenders may be eligible for the Special Sexual Offender Disposition Alternative (SSODA). Similar to the process with Community Supervision, youth facing sex offense charges will have one JPC during their initial contact with the court and then will be transferred to the Community Supervision unit closest to their home once the case has gone to disposition.
If a youth receives a SSODA disposition, they remain in the community and receive treatment and supervision by a Sex Offender JPC. Youth who do not follow the SSODA court order are brought back to court and can be sent to a state institution.