We are dedicated to working with juvenile offenders, their families, victims, and the community, by utilizing evidence based practices and balanced and restorative justice principles; in order to build competencies, reduce risk to reoffend, restore victims, protect the community, and assist in promoting long term behavior change.
ABOUT THE JUVENILE PROBATION DEPARTMENT
The Lehigh County Juvenile Probation Department is responsible to the community for delivering necessary and appropriate services for juveniles and families that come before the juvenile court.
Juveniles between the ages of ten and eighteen are referred to our department for allegedly committing delinquent offenses. Police departments are the primary referral source. Juveniles and families referred to the Juvenile Probation Department today are in need of much more time and attention than ever before. It is critical that they are properly assessed to determine what risk the juvenile poses to the community and what areas of their lives need to be addressed to reduce the likelihood of reoffending.
The outcome of each case is determined by the unique circumstances of each juvenile's life. The recommendation of the probation officer takes into consideration the strengths and weaknesses in the following areas: family and peer relationships, behaviors in the home and community, drug and alcohol use, mental health, attitude, and educational or employment status. These findings assist the probation officer in recommending the type of probation supervision, the specific conditions of that supervision and in establishing a case plan with the cooperation of the juvenile and family. The case plan is intended to address those areas of a juvenile's life that are likely to contribute to reoffending.
The probation department may consider the following types of supervision in deciding the outcome of a case: Informal Adjustment, Consent Decree, Probation or Placement. The Informal Adjustment does not require a court hearing and supervision is for a specific period of time. A juvenile must appear in court for a status conference hearing in order to be placed on a Consent Decree A Consent Decree is also for a specific period of time. The juvenile must also appear in court to be found guilty on the alleged charges before there is a recommendation of Probatio or Placement. 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. A recommendation of Placement may also be made because previous attempts to provide supervision in the community have failed or if the juvenile is a serious risk to themselves due to their abuse of drugs or alcohol or severe mental health issues. Whenever possible, all attempts will be made to address these issues in the community.
Lehigh County Juvenile Probation is actively engaged in Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy (JJSES). This strategy seeks to reduce harm by applying the best-known research to improve community safety, accountability and the competency development of juveniles entrusted to us. Consistent with this new direction, the department created a new position to manage low-risk youth; we have had officers trained in cognitive behavioral groups and are utilizing such groups that have demonstrated outcomes of reducing reoffending; and, probation officers have been trained in motivational interviewing techniques, to name a few.
Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas, 455 West Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA 18101-1614 • (610) 782-3000