Juvenile Probation Services
- Probation Counselors. If you know the youth's assigned probation counselor you may contact that officer directly. If not, you may call the main receptionist at (206) 205-9590 and be transferred to the right number.
- Detention Screening. Call Detention Screening if your child is arrested and you need to know the child's detention status and next hearing date and time. The number is (206) 205-9594 and can be called 24 hours a day/7days a week.
- Juvenile Detention. Call Juvenile Detention for information on detention procedures or to contact or visit someone in detention. The number is (206) 205-9500, ext. 3.
- Detention Screening Criteria located on the Internet.
The Role of Probation in Juvenile Justice
Youth commit crimes for different reasons than adults. While it is important to hold people accountable for their actions, it is also important to provide solutions that can prevent youth from further entering into a criminal lifestyle. Youth can change and Juvenile Court is based on that assumption.
All youth who enter the juvenile offender court system are assessed by Juvenile Probation Counselors (JPC) to determine the level of supervision needed and to ensure that all conditions of a court order are followed and that appropriate services are provided to the youth and family.
The goal of probation is to provide community safety, accountability and treatment to all youth who fall under the supervision of juvenile court. Probation is there to help youth successfully fulfill court-ordered supervision and to prevent their return to the court system.
Youth are placed on standardized probation for up to one year for a crime they have either been found guilty of or entered a plea of guilty.
Figuring Out What's Needed
The youth and family will meet with a Juvenile Probation Counselor (JPC), who will ask a few questions to find out the level of supervision the youth may require. The questions also help the JPC decide what programs or actions to recommend to the judge.
Youth who are assessed at a low level to commit another crime will be contacted through monthly phone calls to ensure the youth is complying with the court order. The family/youth also can receive help in finding services they may need.
Youth who are assessed as moderate or high risk to commit another crime are sent to a Community Supervision Unit where they are assigned to a JPC. The JPC then meets with the youth and family and together they assess the situation and decide on appropriate, evidence-based programs such as Aggression Replacement Training, various family services such as Multisystemic Family Treatment, Functional Family Treatment, drug and alcohol treatment, mentoring, after school programs, job training, etc., designed to help them exit the juvenile justice system.
Local and national research in juvenile justice has made great strides in identifying effective ways of intervening with children who enter the juvenile justice system. In King County, we are considered national leaders and continue to evaluate our outcomes in order to prioritize programs that work and help make our communities safe. We have experienced great success as arrest rates for juvenile offenders dropped 41% from 1998 to 2005.
When a police officer arrests a juvenile, if the officer thinks the juvenile should be held in detention, he/she must contact the Screening Unit. Before the juvenile is brought to detention, a Screening Unit Juvenile Probation Counselor (JPC) goes over the circumstances of the arrest with the police officer and lets the officer know if the juvenile can be held in detention. The JPC reviews the Detention Screening Criteria when making this decision.
If a juvenile is placed in detention, Screening JPC(s) talk to the youth and also talk to the youth's parents or guardian. The youth stays in detention until a judge can review the case at a court hearing (usually the next work day). Parents are contacted as to when the next hearing will be held. At that hearing, the judge will decide whether or not the youth is to stay in detention. It is helpful if parents/guardians have a plan to supervise the youth pending the outcome of his case. The JPC prepares a report that provides information to assist the court when deciding if the youth should be released.
In most cases, the first contact a juvenile has with Probation Services is with the Central Intake Unit. An Intake JPC will meet with the juvenile and his/her family when they come to Juvenile Court for arraignment. In preparation for disposition of the case, the Intake JPC conducts a risk and needs pre-screen assessment of the juvenile. The Intake JPC also contacts schools and others to get more information about the youth. If a juvenile is found guilty of breaking the law, an Intake JPC prepares a report for the court that has recommendations for the youth's sentence.
Low-Level Supervision Unit
Juveniles who, based on the risk/needs assessment, are low-risk to re-offend are supervised by the Low-Level Supervision Unit. When supervising low risk juvenile offenders, Community Surveillance Offices (CSOs) make most contacts using the telephone.
Standard-Range Supervision Units
Juveniles who, based on the risk/needs assessment, pose a moderate to high risk to re-offend, are supervised by a JPC located in one of the four field offices. Offices are located in Seattle, Bellevue, Renton, and Kent. In most cases, a juvenile's JPC will come from the field office that is the closest to the juvenile's home.
The field office JPC meets with the juvenile and his/her family, conducts a full risk/needs assessment and sets up a case plan. The JPC is responsible for assisting the juvenile in meeting court ordered conditions and referral to the appropriate services. If the juvenile is not following the court order, the JPC may bring the juvenile back into court and ask the court to review the case and possibly sanction the juvenile for not following the court order.
To help the juvenile to do well, JPCs work with the juvenile, his/her parents or guardians, schools, law enforcement, and others who are working with the youth, such as treatment providers.
Contact information for the field probation offices is as follows:
South I (Renton)
South II (Federal Way)
Diagnostic Unit JPCs handle the cases of juveniles who are charged with offenses that, by law, can end up with the juvenile being sentenced to a state institution. For these cases, the JPC oversees the diagnostic evaluation of the youth and also makes sentencing recommendations to the court.
Sex Offender Unit
If a youth is charged with a sex offense, a Sex Offender Unit (SOU) JPC conducts the intake and risk/needs assessment. Some first time sex offenders may be eligible for the Special Sexual Offender Disposition Alternative (SSODA). If a youth receives a SSODA disposition, he/she remains in the community, is given treatment and is supervised by an SOU JPC. Juveniles who do not follow the SSODA court order are brought back to court and can be sent to a state institution.