Welcome to Blair County Juvenile Probation!
Our mission, vision and values statements are as follows:
To serve youth who have committed delinquent acts, and their families, by utilizing evidence based programs of supervision and care, which provide community protection, youth redemption, victim restoration and recidivism reduction
In partnership with the community, the Blair County Juvenile Probation Office promotes the development of competencies to enable youth to become responsible and productive members of the community
The Blair County Juvenile Probation Office will achieve excellence in providing community supervision and will focus on effective service and best practices by:
- maintaining a positive work environment where collaboration is a central component;
- valuing cultural diversity, professionalism, and a strong work ethic;
- participating in ongoing training to maximize the potential of every employee;
- collaborating with other agencies and services which promote healthy lifestyles and decrease recidivism;
- encouraging honesty, respect, dignity, and fairness in all aspects of our work.
We stand by these values:
- commitment to our mission;
- treat each individual with respect and dignity;
- be responsible and accountable;
- ensure confidentiality;
- protect victim’s rights and safety;
- be effective public servants.
Blair County Juvenile Probation is striving for a juvenile justice system that is mission-driven around the principles of Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ), performance-based, and outcome-focused. We have adopted the Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy (JJSES) as the framework through these goals will be accomplished. BARJ describes the mission and our essential goals—community protection, enhancing the competencies of delinquent youth, and accountability to victims. The JJSES is the strategy for achieving that mission, especially regarding community protection and competency development, by addressing the criminogenic needs of youth through structured decision-making, risk/needs assessment, case planning, and evidence-based practices and programs. The JJSES also reinforces the need to use research, data, performance measures, and evaluation.
The Blair County Juvenile Probation Office is a branch of the Juvenile Court of the 24th Judicial District of Pennsylvania. Referrals are received from police departments charging youth, between the ages of 10 and 18, with delinquent acts. The Juvenile Probation Office is responsible for holding offenders accountable by monitoring and enforcing Court orders and probation case plans.
In all cases, juveniles are assessed for risk, strengths, and appropriate interventions as provided by the Pennsylvania Juvenile Act. The assessment process identifies both risk factors such as drugs and alcohol and protective factors such as positive peer and family connections.
Once the assessment is completed, a probation professional makes recommendations on a course of treatment for the Juvenile Court to consider in assisting the juvenile to remain crime free, foster positive adjustment and behavior, and become a productive member of their community. The probation department may recommend the following types of supervision Informal Adjustment, Consent Decree, Probation or Placement. The course of treatment may include counselling, treatment for addiction and/or mental health issues, or placement as necessary, and provide the juvenile the best chance for success. A recommendation of placement is reserved for those juveniles who pose a serious risk to the community due to the severity of the offense or because the juvenile is a repeat offender. Whenever possible, all attempts are made to address these issues in the community. Other services include diversionary programs that can accelerate the process for suitable candidates, which may result dismissal of the charges upon successful completion of the program.
The Blair County Juvenile Probation Office provides the flowing interventions to youth under the supervision of the Juvenile Court:
Blair County Juvenile Drug Court
The Blair County Juvenile Drug Court Program is a special court for juvenile offenders who want to change their lifestyle by remaining chemical free.
The Drug Court is a team of professionals lead by the President Judge, and includes a prosecutor, public defender or private counsel, juvenile probation officers, educators, and substance abuse specialists. Youth between 12 and 18 years old and charged with a non-violent crime are eligible for the program.
Youth are screened for eligibility based on their need for treatment, past delinquent behavior, and willingness to commit to program requirements. The program involves judicial supervision, supervision by probation officers, education, vocational opportunities, and court imposed sanctions/incentives.
The Drug Court has two programs: Short Term and Long Term. Youth who participate in the Drug Court are offered a unique opportunity to improve their lives and remain clean and sober.
Juvenile Probation provides drug testing as condition of probation. Probation drug testing is individualized and varies based on the offense, risk to the community/self and the determination of the court. Commonly ordered tests include five panel, 10 panel, and alcohol screenings, which can detect commonly abused street and prescriptions drugs or alcohol.
The Blair County Juvenile Restitution Program provides a common fund under the supervision of the Court. Expenditures are made at the recommendation of the Juvenile Probation Office, and at the discretion of the President Judge, under written guidelines and the limitations of the Juvenile Act, and are used to reimburse crime victims for financial losses, as well as court costs, resulting from delinquent acts. Youth under the supervision of the Juvenile Probation Office are eligible to participate in this program.
School Based Probation Services
The Juvenile Probation Office works closely with school districts to ensure that juveniles on probation comply with the conditions of their supervision plan, succeed in their educational goals, and have access to services deemed necessary to assist the juvenile. The School Based Probation Officer also serves as a member of the Student Assistance Program at the school, providing expertise in student issues and needs.
Peer Jury Program
The Peer Jury is an alternative dispositional process for first time offenders. The goal of Peer Jury is to divert youth from formal processing in the juvenile justice system and instead provide opportunities for youth to connect with resources that support juvenile justice goals of accountability, competency development, community protection, and victim restoration.
The jury is comprised of students from Blair County high schools. Juvenile probation officers educate the jury on the juvenile justice system. The victim witness officer instructs the jury regarding various challenges that victims and witnesses face in the juvenile justice process.
The Blair County Juvenile Probation Office provides restorative community service to juvenile offenders as activities that enable juvenile offenders to demonstrate accountability and use their service, as an opportunity to make things right with victims and the community by providing work service that is valued.
Electronic monitoring is a service, which tracks the movements of juvenile offenders throughout the community 24 hours a day. Juvenile Probation utilizes electronic monitoring as an alternative to secure detention, or as sanction for negative behavior.
Individuals placed on electronic monitoring must wear the device until a Probation Officer determines it appropriate for removal. Juvenile Probation Officers track the movement of individuals, and set appropriate zones where an individual is permitted.
Victim and Witness Services
The Victim of Juvenile Offenders Program assists in holding juvenile offenders accountable for restoration of crime victims and communities. The victim witness officer is a professional in the Blair County Juvenile Probation Office that assists victims and witnesses in the juvenile justice process. The Victim Witness Officer works to raise awareness of the importance of crime victims’ rights within the juvenile court process. Victims under certain circumstances are eligible for Crime Victims Compensation through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the victim witness officer assists with the application process and in requesting restitution. The victim witness officer also assists with victim grievances and ensuring that victims know their rights under Pennsylvania law. Finally, the victim witness officer assists in coordinating witnesses that may testify in court.
Family and Individual Counseling
Family and/or individual counseling is offered (or mandated as a condition of probation) in order to assist in building competencies of youth and families while involved in the juvenile justice system. The array of services include in-home counseling, substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling, family/parenting services, a victim awareness curriculum, and cognitive behavioral therapy. The majority of counseling services are offered at no cost to the family.