The Oneida County Probation Department’s Juvenile Division supervises youth whom have been adjudicated Juvenile Delinquents by a Family Court judge, determined to be a Person In Need of Supervision (P.I.N.S.), conducts a screening process or assessments to determine the level of family and individual services needed to help the juvenile avoid detention or placement, conducts Intake level diversion case monitoring, and completes Pre-Disposition Investigations (PDIs) for Family Court. There is a Juvenile Office located at our Utica site and a Juvenile Office located at our Rome site in efforts to better meet the needs of parents and families.
After a Juvenile has been arrested and / or been given an Appearance Ticket for the Juvenile to appear at the Oneida County Probation Department to meet with a Juvenile Officer, it is the sincere attempt of the Officer to prevent formal court involvement if possible. The Officer will make every attempt to adjust the case, or monitor the juvenile by having the juvenile report to Probation, prior referring the case to Family Court. A variety of community based services may be offered to the juvenile and family such as, Kids Oneida or PREP, which are intended to assist and empower the family in dealing with the child’s behavioral, mental health, substance abuse, or truancy issues that are believed to be the underlying cause for disruption in the home, community, and school environment. Another option available to the Juvenile Officer is Domicile Restriction, which essentially “House Arrest”. Domicile Restriction places an ankle bracelet on the leg of the juvenile which transmits a signal to a base unit connected to a phone land-line indicating the juvenile’s presence in the home and alerts Probation when the ankle bracelet is no longer in range. This measure is generally used more prior to an adjudication to insure the juvenile remains in the home while awaiting an outcome of disposition in court. The land-line for a phone is REQUIRED for Domicile Restriction to work and it cannot be done with a cell phone and therefore, prior to agreeing to Domicile Restriction or requesting such action be taken, please ensure your readiness to obtain a land-line if you don’t already have one.
A Committee for Appropriate Placement (CAP) is held weekly at the Probation Department offices to discuss the best treatment pathway for juveniles having difficulty adapting to the social, familial, and academic expectations placed upon them by Probation, court, family environment, and educational system. CAP invites members of local agencies along with the case Officer to discuss various options available to the family and juvenile to prevent placement of the juvenile in an Office of Children and Family Services detention facility or in an Oneida County Department of Social Services non-secure detention and treatment facility with whom the Department of Social Services contracts with, such as The House of the Good Shepherd and others across the state. The committee’s invitees on a weekly basis include representatives from the Insight House, Kids Oneida, PREP, Oneida County Department of Social Services, the House of the Good Shepherd, and the Oneida County Mental Health Department. **If your child has been referred to the Committee for Appropriate Placement you encouraged to speak with your child’s Probation Officer first, but if you have additional questions you may contact Jill Gilberti-Myles at (315) 735-6280.
In addition to providing Intake Level of supervision and accountability and attempting to divert juvenile from requiring formal court intervention, the Oneida County Probation Department also conducts Pre-Disposition Investigations on behalf of Family Court. A Pre-Disposition Investigation, or PDI, is ordered once a child is adjudicated a PINS or Juvenile Delinquent (JD) and the court is seeking additional information prior to making an order regarding the child’s placement. Once the PDI has been ordered, signed by the judge, and sent to Probation the assigned Officer will contact the family and the juvenile to come to the Probation Department offices, unless the child was placed in a non-secure or secure detention facility pending the outcome of the dispositional court date, for an extensive interview. The interview will include the basic information of the family demographic as well as specific but relevant information to the child’s living environment, previous traumatic experiences if any, along with the family of origin’s legal and abuse history. There will also be a section provided for a victim, if there is one, to send feedback to the court regarding the effect the crime had on them and the resulting consequence as well as a portion of the report to be complete with information provided by the school and any treatment providers the juvenile may be involved with. Lastly, an evaluation portion of the report will be completed at which time the assigned Probation Officer will make a recommendation based upon their personal knowledge of the family, their experience and training, and the aggregate set of information gathered by all other sources. This recommendation will play a large role in what course of action the Family Court judge takes regarding the future orders for the juvenile and potential punitive consequences the juvenile may face if they are out of compliance with the orders set forth. The PDI is a crucial part of the Probation Department’s responsibilities and is significant to the Family Court jurisprudence process.
In addition to the duties and locations already described, the Oneida County Probation Department has several Officers on site in several school locations as a part of our participation with the Safe Schools Program. The school districts which currently partner with the Oneida County Probation Department are: Waterville, Rome, BOCES in Vernon, Whitesboro, Sauquoit, Holland Patent, Remsen, and Utica, specifically Proctor High School where an Officer is stationed two days per week. The purpose of the Safe Schools program is to work closely with school administrators and Resource Officers to identify juveniles that exhibit problematic behavior and / or school attendance as quickly as possible with the hope that by early intervention the process will work to divert the identified juvenile from Family Court intervention or even potentially formal Probation involvement.