Section 5: Supervision
2 Hours

Lecture Topic TOPIC: SUPERVISION

Establishing Specialized Caseloads

Another supervision strategy that is being used to respond to the unique needs of these youth is the creation of specialized caseloads, whereby individual probation or parole officers—or even units—are designated to provide supervision for juvenile sex offenders. Supervision agencies in many states have prioritized their implementation and as a result, we’ve seen a proliferation of them in recent years across the country.37

What are some potential benefits of having specialized caseloads to work specifically with this population of youth?

(ALLOW FOR AUDIENCE RESPONSES.)

Use SlideUse Slide #28: Benefits of Specialized Caseloads

There are a number of potential advantages to specialized caseloads:38

On the other hand, there can be some challenges associated with using specialized caseloads. What are some potential pitfalls or difficulties that could arise?

(ALLOW FOR AUDIENCE RESPONSES.)

Use SlideUse Slide #29: Challenges of Specialized Caseloads

Although there are several potential benefits to establishing specialized caseloads for supervising sexually abusive youth, they aren’t a magic bullet and may not be the “best” answer for every jurisdiction. Here are some potential issues to keep in mind:39

Specialized Training and Knowledge

Regardless of whether an agency or jurisdiction decides to establish specialized caseloads, all supervision officers responsible for working with juvenile sex offenders can benefit from specialized training, so that they understand the unique characteristics of these youth, the risk factors specific to this population, and the kinds of interventions and strategies that can be most effective when working with them. Beyond providing officers with the skills and information necessary to enhance the efficacy of their work, specialized training can also provide a common language by which officers, treatment providers, and other stakeholders can communicate as a team about critical assessment and risk management issues. Remember that no one individual can do this work alone.

Today’s training is a very good step in the right direction in terms of specialized training, but it’s probably not enough. Because the juvenile sex offender management field is constantly changing—as new research and literature emerge and as practice evolves—supervision officers and others who work with these youth should be afforded ongoing opportunities to participate in specialized training. And cross–agency training can be particularly helpful in ensuring that supervision officers and their collaborative partners gain a more comprehensive understanding of how the larger management system works, and the specific roles, responsibilities, capabilities, and limitations of the various individuals and agencies who are a part of that larger system.40

Use SlideUse Slide #30: Resources

There are also ways to enhance the specialized knowledge of supervision officers without depending entirely on training, which can be costly. For example, establishing a resource library that includes articles, books, manuals, examples of policies and procedures, and other written resources can be very helpful. And several national organizations and projects have developed specialized information and resources regarding this youthful offender population. These include:

If you have Internet access and are interested in learning even more about juvenile sex offenders, you might visit these sites or request information from these organizations. Written materials can be downloaded from a number of them, free of charge.

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