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Probation & Community Intervention


  • Q: What is Juvenile Probation?
    A: Probation is a supervision program created by law, which is ordered by the court in cases involving a youth who is found to have committed a delinquent act. Probation is a legal status in which the freedom of the youth is limited and the youth’s activities are restricted in lieu of commitment to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
  • Q: How is a youth referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice?
    A: Law enforcement agency charges youth with law violation. Depending on the seriousness of the offense and the law enforcement officer's view of what is needed to appropriately address the offense, the next step may be:
    • Deliver youth to a Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) for intake screening to further assess youth's risk to the community and determine if some type of detention is necessary.
    • Call an "on call screener" to assess youth's risk and determine if detention is necessary (this is done in localities where a JAC is not available).
    • Release youth to a parent or guardian and forward the charges to the local clerk of court and DJJ Probation office.
    • Release the youth to parent or guardian with a direct referral to a "diversion program".
  • Q: My child was taken into custody (arrested) by law enforcement. What happens now?
    A: After a law enforcement agency charges your child with a law violation, depending on the seriousness of the offense and the law enforcement officer's view of what is needed to appropriately address the offense, the next steps may be:
    • Your child is taken to a Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) or a Juvenile Detention Center for detention intake screening.
    • Screening assesses the risk your child may pose to the community and determines if some type of detention is necessary.
    • Your child may be released to you or placed in a secure facility depending on the outcome of a detention risk assessment.
    • Your child may be released to you with a direct referral to a diversion program.
    • Charges are forwarded to the Clerk of the Court and the Probation Office.
  • Q: How do I contact the Juvenile Assessment Center?
    A: Click on the following to find the JAC center in your area: Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC).
  • Q: My child was taken into custody (arrested) by law enforcement. How long after being taken into custody can I see my child?
    A: Depending on the detention screening assessment your child may be released to your custody or placed in a secure facility pending a court hearing.  You must contact the detention facility, and ask for the designated visiting hours. Special requests may be made through the youth’s case manager and/or program superintendent.
  • Q: What is a Juvenile Probation Officer and what does one do?
    A: A Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) provides important services:
    • Initial intake service on referrals from law enforcement for youth under the age of 18 at the time the offense was committed.
    • Assessment(s) and referrals for services based on youth risk and needs.
    • Community-based intervention services that may include supervision.
  • Q: How do I contact a JPO?
    A: You may find contact information at the following link  Juvenile Probation Officer  Supervisor Contacts to search by county and city or refer to the Probation Leadership Main Directory  for contact information.
  • Q: Why is my child assigned a JPO?
    A: A JPO is assigned to all youth referred to DJJ.  This does not mean that your child is or will be on probation.

    A JPO is the front-line staff member who delivers case management services to your child and your family.  For the most part, your child’s JPO is the single-point of contact for you and your child as your child’s case moves through the juvenile justice system.

    The JPO is the staff member who recommends how to handle your child’s law violation, which may range from a non-judicial diversion program, probation supervision, or commitment, including residential commitment.

    If your child goes to a residential commitment program, then your single-point of contact during that time will be your child’s residential social worker who is a member of the treatment team at the residential program.

Civil Citation

  • Q: Is a youth that successfully completes civil citation for a non-serious misdemeanor offense and is later arrested on a misdemeanor or felony charge eligible for a subsequent civil citation?
    A: No, civil citation will continue to be for non-serious misdemeanants with no history of arrest.
  • Q: Where can I find Chapter 2015-46, Laws of Florida (Senate Bill 378)?
    A: For Senate Bill 378, click here.  To see revised S. 985.12, click here.
  • Q: Where can I find information about Florida’s Civil Citation Initiative and outcome information?
    A: The Civil Citation Webpage is accessible here.  The Civil Citation Dashboard tracks utilization data and is available here.  The annual Comprehensive Accountability Report tracks recidivism data and is accessible here
  • Q: Is a youth with a prior misdemeanor or felony referral that was non-filed, or nol prossed, or diverted eligible for civil citation?
    A: Youth with a prior charge that was nol prossed or not filed are considered eligible for civil citation    providing there are no other priors in the youth’s history.  A post-arrest diversion youth is not eligible for civil citation.
  • Q: In extenuating circumstances, can a youth otherwise eligible for civil citation who has a prior record be served by civil citation?
    A: Yes, the state attorney’s office may direct the child be referred for civil citation services if it is in the best interest of the child and the public.
  • Q: Will an assessment be conducted on a youth for every civil citation issued up to the three opportunities?
    A: Yes.  Youth with subsequent civil citations will be assessed with the Prevention Assessment Tool (PAT) or the assessment tool(s) in place in each county.
  • Q: How long will an assessment be good for on a youth?
    A: The assessment is good for the time a youth is in civil citation, which is typically 90 days.
  • Q: Is there a follow-up assessment for youth to show if there have been substantial changes in the youth’s life or family since the previous assessment?
    A: An exit assessment is not required for civil citation youth.
  • Q: Section 985.12, F.S., requires the establishment of a civil citation or similar diversion program at the local level. How is a similar diversion program defined?
    A: A diversion program similar to civil citation is one that provides services to youth in lieu of arrest; operates under s. 985.12, F.S., to include an assessment and intervention services to meet identified needs; and provides civil citation data to the Department.
  • Q: How is a similar diversion program defined under Section 985.12, F.S.? Is this considered an alternative process that diverts youth away from the court system after arrest?
    A: A diversion program similar to civil citation is one that provides services to youth in lieu of arrest; operates under s. 985.12, F.S., to include an assessment and intervention services to meet identified needs; and provides civil citation data to the Department. 
  • Q: Is a youth whose record was expunged eligible for civil citation?
    A: Yes, if the youth has remained crime free.
  • Q: Can a youth receive a second or third citation while completing sanctions for a prior civil citation?
    A: No.  Per s. 985.12, F.S., when a youth commits a subsequent misdemeanor while complying with assigned services, the original delinquent act is processed and referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice and the state attorney.
  • Q: Can a youth in a post-arrest diversion program or on probation receive a civil citation?
    A: No, these youth have a prior arrest history and are not eligible for civil citation.
  • Q: Are sexting offenses eligible for civil citation?
    A: No, the 2015 Legislature revised s. 847.0141, F.S., related to sexting with defined sanctions that are not compatible with civil citation. 
  • Q: Are noncriminal traffic violations eligible for civil citation?
    A: No.  Civil citation is an option for youth who have committed a criminal offense.
  • Q: Is a youth with a prior referral that was non-filed or nol prossed required to disclose the prior referral or the civil citation?
    A: A youth who has successfully completed civil citation services has no criminal history record and is not required to disclose the civil citation.  A youth with a charge that was non-filed or nol prossed may need to disclose depending on the question.  The youth has a criminal history, unless the record has been expunged, but has not been adjudicated delinquent or convicted of a crime
  • Q: Is a local agency required to disclose to the military if a youth had a prior charge that was nol prossed or non-filed? And how should they respond to military requests?
    A: The Department discloses criminal history records related to a nol prossed or non-filed charge to the military; however, whether or not this is required of a local agency is a matter for the service branch to determine in their dealings with the local agency.
  • Q: Our county state attorney’s office has agreed to divert youth to civil citation who were arrested on a civil citation eligible offense. How can the initial arrest be cleared or purged from the criminal history databases?
    A: The youth can petition for the record to be expunged under s. 943.0582 or s. 943.0585, F.S., and FDLE Administrative Code 11C-7.006.

Intake Process

  • Q: What is the Intake Process?
    A: An "Intake" Juvenile Probation Officer receives a copy of the charge from law enforcement or the clerk of the court. The Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) will contact the youth and family and conduct an interview to gather information about the youth and family. The purpose of the intake process is for the juvenile probation officer (JPO) to assess the youth’s risk and needs to determine the most appropriate recommendations for services by considering the interests of the youth, parent(s)/guardian(s), victim, and community. The assessment information is collected through interviews, observations and interactions with the youth and the family. Information is also obtained from the complainant, the victim, school officials and other individuals and agencies associated with the youth and family. The intake assessment process initially results in a recommendation to the state attorney and, if necessary, a written report to the court or the Predisposition Report. The intake process assists the JPO in choosing the most appropriate recommendation for services that balances the needs and interest of the youth, family, the victim, and the community as a whole.
  • Q: Will my child be required to take a DNA test?
    A: Effective September 1, 2011, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sample collection is required in accordance with § 943.325, F.S. >>update link<<at disposition. In your child’s case, DNA collection is required for felonies and certain misdemeanors once your child has been arrested by law enforcement—even if your child’s case has not gone before a judge. Being found guilty of certain felony offenses may result in a court order that your child must cooperate with DNA testing.  DNA test results are kept on file with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
  • Q: What is the PACT and how is it used to help my child?
    A: The Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT) is used to assess a delinquent youth’s risks and needs and guides treatment recommendations. The assessment process begins with a PACT Pre-Screen interview administered to all youth referred to DJJ. The initial assessment takes approximately 20-25 minutes to complete. A single PACT Pre-Screen interview at intake assists the Juvenile Probation Officer to identify if a youth is in need of further mental health, alcohol, or substance abuse assessment. A more detailed assessment (called the PACT Full Assessment) is given to youth who score at Moderate-High or High risk to re-offend on the PACT Pre-Screen. Information from the PACT Full Assessment can be used to develop plans specific to the youth’s identified needs. The Department calls this plan the Youth Empowered Success (YES) Plan.
    The PACT also identifies those strengths (or protective factors) that can be built upon to turn the youth’s life around. The benefit of measuring risk factors and protective factors is that juvenile justice professionals involved with a particular youth are better able to match a child’s current needs with the right programs and services. PACT Reassessments are completed periodically to help the Juvenile Probation Officer and other professionals measure the progress that the youth is making on addressing factors related to delinquent behavior.
  • Q: What is a YES Plan?
    A: The Youth-Empowered Success (YES) Plan assist the Juvenile Probation Officers and contracted case managers to use the information gathered through the PACT assessment to establish meaningful goals and actions in collaboration with the youth and family.

Judicial Process

  • Q: What is Non-Judicial Intervention?
    A: The recommendation presented by the Juvenile Probation Officer to the state attorney may recommend a "non-judicial" diversion program. If this recommendation is approved by the state attorney, the youth and guardian may be required to sign a "waiver of speedy trial" agreement. With this agreement the youth and family agree to waive their right to a speedy trial with the understanding that the youth will complete all the requirements of the diversion program.

    If the youth successfully completes the program, no further action (no judicial action) will be pursued by the state attorney. However, if the youth fails to complete the program, the state attorney will file a petition with the juvenile division of the circuit court, formally charging the youth with the delinquent offense.

  • Q: What is a diversion program?
    A: A diversion program is a form of non-judicial handling of your child’s case. Rather than going to court the JPO may recommend your child receive help through a diversion program.

    If your child successfully completes the program, no further court action will be pursued. However, if your child does not complete the diversion program, the State Attorney may file a petition with the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court (Juvenile Court), formally charging your child with the delinquent offense.

  • Q: What is Juvenile Court or a “recommendation for court intervention?
    A: After gathering all of the necessary information and assessments, your child’s JPO may recommend that the State Attorney’s Office formally charge your child with a delinquent offense. This is a “recommendation for court intervention.” A recommendation for court intervention may include adult prosecution, if the offense is very serious or if your child has a history of law violations (habitual offender).

    If the State Attorney files a delinquency petition based on the charge it is sent to the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court. This special division of the Court hears juvenile cases of law violations.

    Your child’s JPO cannot recommend a diversion program for your child after the case has been tried in Juvenile Court.

    If your child has committed a serious offense or is a habitual offender, the JPO’s recommendation may include prosecution of your child in Adult Court.

    Your child cannot be tried as an adult after being tried as a juvenile for the same crime.

  • Q: What happens if my child is referred to Adult Court?
    A: With certain felony offenses, the law may require that your child’s law violation is heard in Adult Court. Your child’s case may be sent to the Adult Criminal Division of the Circuit Court (Adult Court) by “direct file,” “waiver,” or “indictment.” In these circumstances, it is possible that your child would be tried as an adult for the offense and receive adult sentencing.

    When this happens, the Florida Department of Corrections is involved in your child’s case, giving recommendations to Adult Court.

    In some circumstances, a juvenile may be found guilty in Adult Court but sentenced back to DJJ for sanctions to be carried out or for commitment to a residential program.

  • Q: Does the JPO make a recommendation to the court for disposition?
    A: If a petition is filed in court, the Juvenile Probation Officer will present a recommendation to the court that considers risk, accountability and individual needs. This recommendation may range from a court ordered diversion or plan to probation to residential commitment.
  • Q: What is Redirection?
    A: Redirection is a specialized approach that was established by the Florida Legislature to use community-based alternatives instead of residential commitment for those youth with serious emotional disturbances and/or substance abuse-related disorders and meeting certain criterion. Services use evidence based practices and can be offered to youth to prevent further delinquency that could lead to a residential placement. These services are offered in communities across the state and allow the youth and family to participate in one of the following therapies: Functional Family Therapy (FFT) or Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST), Brief Strategic Therapy (BFST) or Parenting with Love and Limits (PLL).
  • Q: What is the difference between adjudicated and adjudication withheld?
    A: If your child is “adjudicated” then a judge has ruled that your child committed a delinquent act or violation of law and is therefore adjudicated delinquent. If your child has “adjudication withheld,” then a judge similarly concluded that your child committed a delinquent act or violation of law, but a formal pronouncement of delinquency should be withheld. Adjudication is significant, not simply due to the formal pronouncement of delinquency, but because only adjudicated delinquent youths may be committed to the Department.
  • Q: How long will my child be on probation?
    A: Only the court can terminate a youth’s probation supervision. Once your child has completed all court-ordered sanctions and met all of his treatment goals, the JPO will recommend to the court the termination of his probation. If your child is “adjudicated delinquent” by the court, the maximum term of supervision is limited by the maximum term applicable to the degree of the offense (e.g., 1 year for a first-degree misdemeanor). An exception exists for second-degree misdemeanors, which have a maximum supervisory term of 6 months, as opposed to the ordinary statutory maximum of 60 days. If your child has “adjudication withheld,” then the maximum term of supervision is not limited by the degree of the offense. However, whether your child is adjudicated or has adjudication withheld, supervision cannot extend beyond his or her 19th birthday.


  • Q: Will my child be placed on supervision after leaving a residential commitment program?
    A: Upon completion of a residential commitment program your child will probably be expected to cooperate with “conditional release” or some type of "supervised aftercare." This is similar to being on probation except that your child is still committed to DJJ. Thus, he could be returned to a residential commitment facility for violating the terms of his supervision. This is done administratively without further order of the court. Another type of supervision after completion of a residential commitment program is post-commitment probation. Violations of post-commitment supervision are heard by the Circuit Court.
  • Q: What is transition?
    A: Transition is a collaborative process in which each youth is linked with the appropriate services to successfully re-integrate back into the community following residential placement.
  • Q: If the court orders my child to pay restitution, what does that mean and how are payments made?
    A: The court may determine that your child or additional co-defendants are “jointly” responsible for damages caused in the offense that led to your child’s arrest. As a result, the court may order your child to pay for those damages (pay restitution) to the victim of that crime. In the case of joint responsibility for damages, each co-defendant(s) will share responsibility for paying restitution. If the other co-defendant(s) do not pay their share of the damages, then your child may be responsible to pay all of the restitution.

    Restitution payments and other court fees are payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Under no circumstances are DJJ employees or contracted agents authorized to accept restitution payments in any form.  Do not give restitution money to your child’s JPO or other contracted agent providing supervision of your child.

Parental Responsibilities

  • Q: What are my responsibilities if my child is on probation or supervision?
    A: We need your help to ensure that your child’s needs are being met and to ensure that he is successful in achieving the treatment goals and sanctions in the court order. You can help ensure your child’s success by doing the following:
    • Maintain regular contact with your child’s JPO and keep him informed of your child’s successes and struggles while on probation or supervision. The more information the JPO has, the better able we are to meet your child’s needs and help them succeed.
    • Cooperate with school officials to help your child stay on task academically. Share concerns of poor attendance, performance, or behavior with your child’s JPO so the right steps can be taken to help your child succeed in school.
    • Attend all court proceedings with your child.
    • Ensure that you, your child and your family members attend any required counseling or therapy.
    • Arrange for your child’s transportation to counseling, employment, community service work sites, and home from the residential commitment program. If transportation is a problem, contact your child’s JPO to discuss transportation options.
    • Ensure that your child completes court-ordered goals and sanctions within the established timeframes.
    • Provide a home for your child that is safe, nurturing and recognizes your child’s strengths and successes.
  • Q: My son or daughter is on Probation and did not come home last night; I think he or she might have run away. What do I do?
    A: If you do not know the whereabouts of your child or you suspect he or she has runaway, call the police immediately and place a missing persons report. Be ready to give all pertinent information including: description, height, weight, date of birth, current address, legal status (Probation, pre-placement supervision, conditional release) date and time last seen. Then, call the assigned Juvenile Probation Officer. The juvenile Probation officer will confirm that the youth is missing and ask the court to issue an Order to Take into Custody. Your child will have a court appearance within 24 hours of the time he or she is apprehended. If your child did not run away, but was gone from the home for a short period of time without permission and has returned, please call law enforcement and your Juvenile Probation Officer to update them of his or her safe return.
  • Q: What happens if I violate Probation?
    A: When a youth is placed on probation, he or she is assigned a Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO), who monitors compliance with the court-ordered sanctions and services. The court order also specifies that the child’s parent/guardian "shall report violations of this order by the child to the JPO and to the court". Therefore, the Juvenile Probation Officer and the parent/guardian will work together to enforce the court order. If the youth violates the conditions of probation or fails to complete the sanctions imposed by the court, a Violation of Probation will be filed. If the court finds that a violation of probation occurred, it may revoke probation and impose a sentence such as placement in a Department of Juvenile Justice residential facility.
  • Q: What about court fees and “cost of care?”
    A: In certain circumstances that your child’s JPO can explain to you, you and your child may be responsible for costs. These costs may include court fees and, if your child is or was in the custody of DJJ for detention or commitment, the costs may include a per-day charge for your child’s cost of care while in DJJ custody.


  • Q: Will my child have a criminal record?
    A: Your child will have a delinquency record and there will be a record of his arrest even if he is not “adjudicated” or if “adjudication is withheld.” FDLE is the official keeper of criminal history records in the State of Florida per Ch. 943, F.S., and as such collects, processes, stores, maintains and disseminates criminal justice information and records that includes records on minors.
  • Q: How can I have my child’s juvenile record sealed or expunged?
    A: Your child’s criminal history records may be sealed (kept confidential) or expunged (destroyed) as governed by Ch. 943, F.S., which is administered by FDLE.

    While juvenile records are considered confidential, they are not automatically sealed and—in many instances—can be accessed by the general public through local law enforcement. For most, but not all purposes, the subject of a sealed or expunged criminal history record may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge arrests that are covered by the sealing or expunction.

    Generally speaking, juveniles can have most misdemeanors (and some felonies) sealed and most misdemeanors expunged after successful completion of a diversion program that expressly authorizes that to be done.

    A fingerprint card and application, along with a fee, must be submitted to FDLE after the State Attorney’s Office certifies statutory eligibility (for expunctions). After FDLE issues a certification of eligibility, a petition is filed with the court to have the record sealed or expunged. A lawyer may assist you in this process.

  • Q: When my child fills out an application for employment or school, is it necessary to disclose the child’s juvenile arrest record?
    A: Depending on the wording of the employment or school application, your child must disclose his arrest history unless the record has been sealed or expunged by court order.

    According to Florida law, your child can deny any arrest covered by a sealed or expunged record. However, §943.0585 and §943.059, F.S., impose certain exceptions that require acknowledgement of arrests when, for example, the individual seeks employment with a criminal justice agency, a licensed child care facility, and other sensitive positions.

  • Q: What must my child know about completing an employment application?
    A: It is essential to give complete and accurate information on an employment application. Most applications ask, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”

    A conviction is a term applicable to a child who has been tried and convicted or pleads guilty in Adult Court.

    If your child pleads guilty or is found guilty as a juvenile in Juvenile Court, it is an adjudication of delinquency and not deemed a conviction §985.35(6), F.S.

    However, this does not mean that your child’s potential employer will not find out about his juvenile arrest record. Most employers conduct a comprehensive background search that is completed by FDLE, the state agency that keeps all records of criminal history in the State of Florida. A copy of this criminal record can be obtained from FDLE.

Interstate Compact

  • Q: What is the Interstate Compact for Juvenile Offenders?
    A: The Interstate Compact for Juvenile (ICJ) offenders provides a legal means of transferring the supervision of youth from one state to another and returning runaways.
  • Q: I live in Florida and need to move to another state. What is the process?
    A: Youth who are on probation or “parole” (see below) in Florida and need to relocate to another state (receiving state) must request a transfer through their juvenile probation officer in Florida. Once the receiving state agrees to the transfer request and supervision, the youth is allowed to relocate.
  • Q: I need to move to Florida. What is the process?
    A: Youth who are on probation or “parole” (see below) in another state (sending state) and need to move to Florida must ask their juvenile probation officer to submit an application for services and request that Florida accept their transfer and agree to supervise them. Once the request for transfer and supervision is approved by Florida, the youth may relocate.
  • Q: How many days in advance is the transfer request submitted?
    A: The requests must be submitted to the ICJ Office 60 days prior to the youth’s anticipated release date from a residential commitment program or on post commitment probation or conditional release.
  • Q: What if I have already moved from Florida to another state (the receiving state)?
    A: The Florida juvenile probation officer must maintain contact with the youth until supervision is accepted in the receiving state.
  • Q: What type of youth is classified as a parolee under the Compact?
    A: To maintain uniformity with other states, any youth committed to a residential program or released in the community on post commitment probation or conditional release is considered a “parolee”.
  • Q: Can a parolee relocate to another state prior to receiving an acceptance letter?
    A: No parolee shall relocate out-of-state prior to receiving an acceptance notification from the receiving state.
  • Q: Do I need to ask for a travel permit to visit or relocate to another state?
    A: Yes. Youth must ask the juvenile probation officer for a travel permit and the officer will submit the request to the ICJ Office prior to the youth relocating or visiting another state.
  • Q: For how many days can a travel permit be issued?
    A: A travel permit can be issued up to 90 calendar days.
  • Q: What happens to an out-of-state runaway is picked up by the police?
    A: Out-of-state runaways shall be held in secure facilities. The youth must be brought before a judge within 24 hours of detainment for Consent for Voluntary Return of Runaway, Escapee or Absconder wavier.
  • Q: How many days do the home/demanding states have to return the youth?
    A: Once the youth and judge sign the voluntary waiver, the home/demanding state has five business days to return the youth.
  • Q: What situations require the return of a youth?
    A: A non-delinquent youth runs away to another state; a youth is an escapee, absconder, or accused delinquent and flees to another state; or a youth under Compact supervision has a failed placement.