423 Allegheny Street
Hollidaysburg, PA 16648-2022
Office (814) 693-3230
Fax (814) 695-0260
The Blair County Juvenile Probation Office has the responsibility to the community for delivering necessary and appropriate services for juveniles and families that come before the Juvenile Court. The number of clients referred to the juvenile probation office have increased during the past few years. In addition, the juveniles that commit crimes today are, to some extent, more sophisticated, violent and emotionally disturbed. Many come from dysfunctional families where there is little supervision provided by the parent(s). Many juveniles have failing grades when initially referred to the department, as well as having been involved with other agencies in the community such as Mental Health and Children and Youth Services.
With the passage of Act 33 into law on March 18, 1996, Pennsylvania has led other states in being the first to legislate the Balanced and Restorative Approach to juvenile justice. Therefore, consistent with the public interest, the purpose of the Juvenile Act is "to provide for children committing delinquent acts, programs of supervision, acre, and rehabilitation, which provide balanced attention to the protection of the community, the imposition of accountability for offenses committed, and the development of competencies to enable children to become responsible and productive members of society. Accordingly, the Juvenile Probation Department has adopted the following principles.
1. Community Protection: Residents of Blair County have a right to a safe and secure community. Decisions made and programs administered by the department should further the security of the community. Therefore, when determining the disposition to recommend to the Juvenile Court concerning a juvenile offender, a conscious effort is made to protect the community's interest.
2. Personal Accountability: Each person, whether an adult or a juvenile, will be accountable for their actions and behavior. Whenever a child commits an offense against a person or property, the child incurs an obligation to the victim of that offense. Consequently, juvenile offenders will be accountable for their offenses to their victims by compensating them for their losses to the extent they are financially able, provided such compensation will have a rehabilitative effect on the child. Therefore, the Juvenile Probation Department recommends restitution and community service as part of the disposition for juvenile offenders. Further, the department encourages and expects juvenile offenders and their parent/guardian to be in compliance with the terms of any dispositional decisions reached with the department.
3. Blair County Juvenile Probation Department Accountability: The Blair County Juvenile Probation Department is accountable to the community for delivering the necessary and appropriate services to children and families who come before the Juvenile Court. To ensure that accountability, the department regularly and continually evaluates its own services and reports to the Administrative Judge of the Juvenile Court, the degree to which the department has been effective in furthering its operational principles and imparting useful life skills for children and families.
4. Competency Development Classes: Juvenile offenders who come before the Blair County Juvenile Probation Department and Court should ultimately leave the system more capable of living productively and responsibly in the community than when they were initially referred to the department and the Juvenile Court. Juvenile offenders who come before the Juvenile Court have by definition, strayed from positive community participation, therefore these offenders need education and training to enable them to gain the skills necessary to live productively in the community. The department will provide skill development technique designed to impart positive living, learning, and working skills for juvenile offenders. In addition, treatment programs will be provided for children whose needs are greater that simply the development of living skills.
5. Balance and Restorative Justice Approach: When juvenile offenders and their families take part in programs and services that protect the safety and security of the community, make restitution to their victims, and become competent to function productively in the community, then the rehabilitative needs of the juvenile are best met and the interest of the public are best served. Therefore, the critical guiding principle for the Blair County Juvenile Probation Department is to integrate the elements of protection of the community, accountability, and competency development, into every level of service delivery. Further, each of these elements receive balanced attention to assure that each is adequately addressed. By consistently adhering to these principles, the Blair County Juvenile Probation Department will serve children, their families, and the community effectively. In order to get a better understanding of Balance and Restorative Justice, please refer to the Balance and Restorative Justice Page.