Intake is generally the first point of contact in the Juvenile Probation Office. Misdemeanor and/or Felony level offenses are filed by local police jurisdictions, and then reviewed and approved by the Berks County District Attorney’s Office. The police referrals are then processed within the Juvenile Probation Office, and assigned to an Intake Officer.
The Intake Officer is then responsible for scheduling an Intake Interview. The parent/guardian of the juvenile will be asked to bring their child to the Juvenile Probation Office. At the initial interview, the process begins with reviewing general demographic information. The juvenile’s rights are then reviewed and a statement of admission or denial is then taken. If the juvenile is admitting some or all of the charges, the intake process continues. If there is a denial, the matter is listed for Court and should the juvenile be found involved in charges, an Intake Interview would then be completed following the court proceeding.
At this point the Intake Officer obtains a social history beginning with general family background information. Questions are then asked relative to schooling, employment and extra-curricular activities. A portion of the conversation is devoted to mental health or social service agency involvement. The Intake Officer then discusses drug and alcohol involvement; this also includes the performance of a urinalysis which is performed on site. The results are obtained within minutes and are reviewed with the juvenile and his or her parent/guardian.
All of this information is then used to determine the best course of action. If appropriate, the case will be handled without a formal Court proceeding. Many cases are scheduled for a formal Court proceeding based on the nature of the charges, the juvenile's history with the Juvenile Probation Office, and/or the juvenile's overall behavior. In all of these cases, a Probation Officer is assigned and supervision commences.