Deputy Probation Officers (DPO) assigned to a high school campus provide a unique opportunity to affect and influence youth on probation by role modeling, promoting pro-social skills and positive pro-active relationships to ensure compliance with their court orders using Evidence-based Practices such as; the Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT) to assess a youth’s risk to reoffend, Effective Practices in Community Supervision (EPICS), and Thinking for a Change (T4C), a cognitive behavior therapy curriculum. Working collaboratively with school officials they provide a safe and secure learning environment for all youth.
Much of the daily duties of an officer is spent assisting school staff with non-probation youth supervising school related activities and functions. Officers participate in Back to School nights by being available to families for any questions, supervising and interacting with youth during breaks and lunch hours, as well as providing additional supervision at sporting events, graduations and Senior Night. Further, they participate in Career Days and provide education to families regarding gangs and drug use. The impact an officer can have on a youth can be summed up by a parent who reached out to the supervising DPO and thanked her for all of her work and to say that if it wasn’t for her, the youth probably wouldn’t have graduated.
Officers are contracted to provide services at designated high schools within Fresno Unified School District (Bullard, Duncan, Edison, Hoover, McLane, Roosevelt, Sunnyside and Phoenix Secondary Academy), Kings Canyon Unified School District (Reedley and Orange Cove) and Sanger Unified School District (Sanger High School).
The goals of the unit are accomplished through a cooperative effort involving Probation Officers, Student Resource Officers, school staff, and community-based agencies, to supervise youth on probation. Further, the program is actively involved in developing and operating intervention and/or diversion programs. These programs include; Informal Probation, Deferred Entry of Judgement, Youth Court, Community Justice Conference, and Victim Offender Reconciliation Program, which are designed to improve behavior in the community, home, and school and to deter further entry of youth into the Juvenile Justice System.
These officers also visit elementary school sites in order to promote youth development by introducing age appropriate prevention and intervention programs, as well as being a positive role model for these youth. Officers also participate and read age appropriate books to elementary students during Read Across America week.
Additional officers are contracted with the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools to provide services for the Truancy Intervention Program (TIP) for non-probation youth. TIP officers are assigned to the east and west Fresno county school districts of Kerman, Golden Plains, Firebaugh, Mendota, Laton, Washington Union, Caruthers, Washington Colony and the Violet Heinz Education Academy school site working closely with Child Welfare Attendance staff their goal is to reduce truancy, improve student attendance and actively participate in Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) hearings.
Depending upon the specific case for each youth who was under informal or formal probation supervision, once they satisfactorily fulfill their obligations to the Court and/or complete their term on probation, they are eligible to have their record sealed pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) sections 781, 786 or 793(c).