Section 5: Supervision
2 Hours


The Importance of Collaboration and Working Closely with Treatment Providers and Other Key Stakeholders

All of this highlights that the successful community management of juvenile sex offenders—and the responsibilities that go along with it—cannot rest solely on the shoulders of supervision officers. There’s no way that juvenile probation and parole officers can do it alone, regardless of how skilled, hard–working, and committed they are. As we mentioned in the Introduction section, multidisciplinary collaboration is critical for juvenile sex offender management—particularly in the context of community supervision.5

For those of you who are supervision officers, who might be some of your collaborative partners? Why are they important partners? And how can they support your supervision efforts as you work with youthful sex offenders?


Use SlideUse Slide #9: Potential Collaborative Partners

When working with juvenile sex offenders, multiple individuals and agencies can be valuable partners for supervision officers:

The stakeholders we’ve talked about here fall into two broad categories. First, there are “system actors,” such as treatment providers who have clearly defined roles in the juvenile sex offender management process. And second, there are others whose roles may be more informal, such as parents or caregivers, school personnel, youth mentors, and members of the faith community.

In light of the data that indicates that our outcomes are much better when we combine supervision with treatment services, let’s spend a few minutes talking specifically about collaboration between supervision officers and specialized treatment providers. A little later on, we’ll discuss the development of community support networks that include individuals such as parents and school representatives. Here are some specific ways that officers can partner with treatment providers to support a rehabilitation–focused or success–oriented philosophy to managing juvenile sex offenders.6

Use SlideUse Slide #10: Implications for Supervision Officers

Collaboration between supervision officers and treatment providers appears to be fairly common practice in the management of juvenile sex offenders. Recent survey data from programs nationwide highlight some of the ways in which supervision officers and specialized treatment providers are working together.8 In more than 90% of community–based juvenile sex offender treatment programs across the country, supervision officers and treatment providers report sharing information on a regular basis. And supervision officers were reported to be visiting treatment groups in about 40% of community–based and institutional programs. Only in rare cases did programs report that probation and parole officers co–lead treatment groups.

So the good news in this national data is that supervision officers and treatment providers seem to recognize the importance of collaborating when working with sexually abusive youth which, in turn, can facilitate a success–oriented approach to supervision.

For the supervision officers in the room, I’d like you to think of a juvenile sex offender who is on your caseload. It could be a youngster who has had great difficulties with supervision and treatment, or someone who has done quite well. When was the last time that you:

If you said “recently”—like yesterday or last week—you’ve probably already recognized the value of engaging in a collaborative and rehabilitative–oriented approach to supervision. If you said “never”—or “I can’t remember”—then I’d encourage you to consider how collaborating with treatment providers might make your work with juvenile sex offenders and their families more effective.

That brings us to the end of the first section. In sum, we know that relying on surveillance, deterrence, and punishment as the sole approach to supervision is not likely going to give us positive outcomes with youthful sex offenders. Instead, the contemporary research indicates that we can have better results when we embrace a more balanced, success–oriented philosophy and approach. Knowing the risk factors and needs that exist for youth and their families—and making sure that these issues are addressed adequately—can help to reduce the likelihood of future difficulties, which means that community safety will be enhanced. And all of this is contingent upon multidisciplinary collaboration.

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