Juvenile Intake Officer: Education Requirements and Job Duties

Juvenile intake officers handle minors who are referred to their offices by families, law enforcement officials, or other agents. They work with court systems, families, and underage offenders to gather information and make punishment or rehabilitation recommendations.

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Juvenile Intake Officer Education Requirements

Education requirements may vary for this job position. In many cases, the juvenile intake officer is considered a type of parole officer or correctional treatment specialist; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these types of positions generally require candidates to hold a bachelor's degree in a field related to criminal justice, psychology, or social work (www.bls.gov). In other cases, candidates may be able to start out in other positions in the juvenile detention system with only a high school diploma, often gaining the necessary experience to become a juvenile intake officer. Even if a candidate meets all the education requirements for a position, he or she may be required to complete a probationary period of up to a year.

Other Qualifications

Applicants for juvenile intake officer positions may need to pass psychological examinations to show they are fit to work with minors. They also must be able to pass a drug test and prove that they have not been convicted of felonies. Some positions require a valid driver's license and familiarity with computers, as well as strong writing skills. Excellent listening and interpersonal skills are also helpful.

Job Duties for Juvenile Intake Officers

Juvenile intake officers conduct assessments of youths to determine whether they're in need of assistance or disciplinary measures. They take into account a juvenile's history, mental health, family situation, and other factors when determining how to handle an issue. These issues are often brought before them by either law enforcement or families and include truancy, drug and alcohol use, destructive behavior, misdemeanors, and felonies. Once the officer understands a minor's history and actions, he or she can recommend punishment and treatment options.

These officers often assist law enforcement with admission processing and placement screening. Typical duties include referring families to community resources; providing offenders with crisis intervention; transporting juveniles to court or detention hearings; maintaining records; and corresponding with youth, parents, and attorneys. Additional duties might include serving summonses and aiding in the release of juveniles.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, including juvenile intake officers, is expected to decline by 1% between 2012 and 2022. The BLS also reported the median annual salary earned by such specialists as $48,440 in May 2013.

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