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Provides Supervision to Juveniles Who Have Been Adjudicated and Placed on Probation

The youth may be placed on probation in the community or in a residential treatment program. Supervision consists of contact between the probation officer, the juvenile, and the family in various settings, such as the probation office, the youth’s school, or the family’s home.

Probation Officers employ various tools and resources to address a juvenile’s needs, which may include assessments, treatment referrals, drug testing, and/or specialized programs. Probation Services consists of several different units designed to provide the appropriate level of supervision for the youth while considering the needs of the youth and family.

Regular Field Supervision

Field Supervision officers ensure that youth under this type of supervision are compliant with their terms and conditions of probation, which may include community service, payment of restitution, and participation with community-based services. Probation officers conduct curfew checks and field visits in the community. Field visits can include: home, school, and programs in which youth are participating. The Probation Officer may also request that the youth report for office visits. Youth under supervision must submit to a minimum monthly urine drug screen/testing which may be administered at the Probation Department or during any field visits.

Youth are assigned probation officers based on their residence zip code, which are geographically divided into north, south and central Travis County. Field supervision is coupled with community-based services designed to address the needs of youth and families that are identified through assessment processes as well as observations. Youth are linked to various community agencies that provide services such as individual and family counseling, substance abuse treatment, case management services, mentoring services, job readiness, GED preparation, and psychiatric services. Youth may also be referred to Specialized Units in the Probation Department, which may be better suited to meet the youth’s needs. The overall goal of supervision includes enhanced competency development, public safety, and accountability.

Intensive Supervision Unit (ISP)

This unit provides one of the highest levels of supervision to a youth within the community. It is often the last intervention before removing a child from his home environment. ISP is characterized by frequent contacts, rapid response to probation violations and application of appropriate interventions and sanctions to address youth’s behavior. ISP officers also closely monitor services being provided to youth to address the child’s needs and circumstances that led to involvement in the Juvenile Justice System. Diligent and frequent contact coupled with services such as drug treatment, individual and family counseling, mentorship, or GPS electronic monitoring assist in the rehabilitation process and reduce the risk of reoffending.

Placement Unit

The Placement Unit is responsible for the supervision of youth that have been removed from their homes by the court and placed in a facility contracted by the department. The Placement Unit facilitates appropriate placement of youth in group homes, residential treatment centers, and/or with foster family agencies. While youth are in placement, the Placement Officer continues to monitor their progress and maintains the collaboration between parents and caregivers. The Placement Officer will link youth with services to address their needs while transitioning from placement to the community.

Special Needs Diversionary Program (SNDP)

The Special Needs Diversionary Program (SNDP) is an intensive, community-based mental health program for youth with mental health concerns or who have experienced trauma. The program is a collaboration between the Probation Department and Austin Travis County Integral Care (formerly MHMR). The SNDP team consists of a juvenile probation officer, a therapist, and a facilitator who will meet regularly with the family to create individual treatment plans and evaluate progress towards those goals monthly.

A majority of the face to face contacts made by the team will take place in the home; the team accommodates the family’s schedule to create a collaborative relationship. The program provides intensive supervision, therapeutic services, psychiatric services, medication management, case management, school advocacy, and linkages to other community resources. The program lasts 4 to 6 months, but may be longer based on the needs of the child and family.

Crossover Unit

The Crossover Unit is designed to address the comprehensive needs of youth who are involved with both the Juvenile Justice System and the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). The goal is to divert youth and families from staying in either system for long periods of time. Both entities work to create a continuity of care for the families and their children throughout both systems. Each youth has a team comprised of the Juvenile Probation Officer, DFPS Caseworker, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and Attorney Ad Litem.

The team works together to ensure that the families and children are maximizing services from all entities including the community. This ensures that a successful transition to the community and/or reunification within the family is highly likely and the recidivism rate into either department remains low. A unique aspect of the Crossover Unit is that instead of transitioning to another Juvenile Probation Officer throughout the Juvenile Court process, the families stay with their respective Juvenile Probation Officer throughout their case until it is resolved.

Sex Offender Unit

The Sex Offender Unit is an integrated case management and supervision program for youth referred to the department who are in need of outpatient treatment for sexual behavior issues. The unit emphasizes a cognitive-behavioral approach to supervision and treatment with a goal of “No More Victims”. Treatment is, approximately, a two-year program involving the youth and their family, with special conditions specific to treatment and to the offense in order to keep both the community and the youth safe. Youth attend weekly group therapy and monthly individual and family sessions. Parents are required to attend a monthly parent group. The effective supervision of youth with these risks and needs requires a team approach with constant collaboration between therapists and probation officers.

Juvenile Drug Court (JDC)

The Travis County Juvenile Drug Court (JDC) serves post-adjudicated juveniles with co-occurring disorders and substance abuse issues. The strength-based program utilizes accountability by providing weekly court reviews, intensive supervision, and immediate linkage of substance abuse services to increase participation in treatment, education, and compliance with conditions of probation. The Drug Court team consists of the Juvenile Drug Court Judge, Assistant District Attorney, Juvenile Public Defender, Drug Court Casework Manager, Specialized Juvenile Probation Officers, Treatment Providers, Mental Health Professionals, Austin Independent School District Liaison and Independent Case Managers.

The program consists of a three-level system. Each level uses strategies to assist youth in maintaining a sober and healthy lifestyle while achieving personal growth. The length of the program is six (6) to 12 months; youth transitioning back to the community from residential treatment are required to complete a minimum of four(4) months. Completion of the program occurs when the youth has maintained 6 months or 4 months of sobriety, respectively. Youth must be between 13.6 to 17 years old.

The Drug Court program also utilizes contractual agreements with a variety of community-based service providers for Case Management and In-Home Counseling Services. Youth with adjudication or pending referrals for a violent felony, weapons or sex related offenses, severe mental or emotional problems, major gang affiliation and lack of motivation for behavioral change may not be eligible for Juvenile Drug Court.