Juvenile Probation

John Bickford


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McKean County Court of Common Pleas Statement of Purpose:

The Purpose of the Court is to justly decide the controversies presented.
We do that by…

  • Treating all people with dignity, courtesy, civility and respect.
  • Listening carefully, considering conscientiously, and deciding wisely.
  • Applying the law with impartiality and integrity.
  • Providing a forum that is fair, in a setting that is dignified, safe and clean.
  • Recognizing the Court’s responsibility to protect the rights of all citizens.
  • Acknowledging the Court’s duty to encourage where possible, and to compel to where appropriate, every citizen to carry out the responsibilities owed to one’s family, community, state and nation.
Because ultimate Justice cannot occur without eventual reconciliation, all Court Staff will attempt to create an environment in which reconciliation can take place.


The Mission of Juvenile Probation is to reduce and prevent juvenile crime; promote and maintain safe communities; and improve the welfare of youth and families who are served by the Court.

The principle beliefs supporting the Mission are grounded in Act 33 of 1995, The Juvenile Act, in which it states “consistent with the protection of the public interest, to provide the children committing delinquent acts programs of supervision, care and rehabilitation which provide balanced attention to the protection of the community, the imposition of accountability for offenses committed and the development of competencies to enable children to become responsible productive members of the community.” (The Juvenile Act, §6301)

The philosophy of "BARJ” (balanced and restorative justice) gives priority to repairing the harm done to crime victims and communities and defines offender accountability in terms of assuming responsibility for the harm caused by his/her behavior and taking action to repair that harm to the extent possible.  At the foundation of this philosophy is the concept that crime victims and the community, as well as juvenile offenders, should receive balanced attention and gain tangible benefits from their interactions with Pennsylvania's juvenile justice system.

In essence the duties and responsibilities of the McKean County Juvenile Probation Department are to carry out the Court orders to supervise youth adjudicated delinquent and/or diverted from the system in a community setting when possible under the principles of Balanced and Restorative Justice. The successful execution of these orders accomplishes the following: 1) community protection (curfews, community service, public service projects), 2) accountability to the victim (restitution, victim awareness classes, apology letters, etc.), and 3) juvenile competency development (counseling programs, education, social skill programs, parenting programs, etc). 

Services provided by Juvenile Probation Officers to youth and families involved in the Juvenile Justice System include the development of individualized supervision plans, monitoring of school, home and community behaviors, monitoring curfews and/or utilization of electronic monitors, referrals to appropriate service providers (MH, Drug and Alcohol, Parenting, etc.), collaboration with families and service providers, problem solving between agencies (schools, social services, placements, etc.), supervision of community service, competency development programming (Victim Awareness Classes, Boondocs and Think Right classes), Victim and Offender meetings, collection of restitution, costs and fines, and fostering community engagement just to name a few. 

The Juvenile Probation Department continues to solicit communities to be more involved in developing programs to help troubled delinquent youth become productive. At times, however, the seriousness of a crime or the complexity of the youth's problems warrants being placed to a juvenile facility. Institutional programs are expensive, however, the department attempts to control costs by exhausting community programs and also by seeking funding to reduce the costs to the McKean County taxpayers.