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All youth who are cited/arrested by law enforcement agencies are referred to the Probation Department, either by the issuing of a citation or by booking into the Juvenile Facility. A Deputy Probation Officer will assess whether youth arrested for a suspected law violation should be disposed by counseling and releasing the youth, referring the youth and/or family to a community counseling agency, placing the youth on informal probation or referring to the District Attorney to request a petition be filed with the court.
For more information, please refer to the Juvenile Justice Process Map (PDF).
When the District Attorney has filed a petition with the Court and the Court has found the youth to be responsible for committing a violation of the law, a Deputy Probation Officer is assigned to investigate the circumstances of the case. The Probation Officer’s investigation consists of a thorough review of all available information, interviews with concerned parties, careful evaluation of all relevant circumstances, assessment of risk for future delinquency, responsivity factors, family dynamics, peer relationships, academic history, and the youth’s prior and current activities in the community.
Recommendations in Juvenile Court range from release to parents, incarceration in the Juvenile Facility, removal from parental custody for placement in foster care, or a commitment to the Division of Juvenile Justice. Juvenile recommendations also center around a grant of probation or informal handling with a plan to be effective in rehabilitation.
Youth assigned to Juvenile Community Supervision have access to and are often referred to a wide variety of no-cost programs and services aimed at youth appropriate, targeted interventions that provide positive reinforcements to limit and/or eliminate contact with the justice system altogether. Deputy Probation Officers are also trained to recognize and identify signs of trauma and sex-exploitation, and to connect youth to appropriate levels of service, by need.
Furthermore, as required by statue, Deputy Probation Officers are an extension of the court and thus monitor compliance with court-ordered probation conditions, by working with the youth in a variety of supports and roles, such as, counselor, advocate, mentor and/or life coach.
If you were arrested or involved in a court case or had contact with the juvenile justice system when you were under 18, the courts, police, schools, or other public agencies may have records about what you did. An application for record sealing can be picked up at the Merced County Juvenile Probation Office located at 1880 Wardrobe Avenue, Merced, California 95341 or by following the link below. Once the completed application for record sealing is submitted to the Probation Department, an investigation is conducted following strict guidelines; which, can take up to eight (8) weeks to complete.
The Probation Department will then submit a petition to the court. The court will review the petition and any evidence presented by the petitioner, the Probation Department, the District Attorney, any agencies listed on your petition, or anyone else who has relevant information. After the court reviews all of the information, the judge will decide whether to grant or deny the petition.
For additional information regarding Record Sealings please visit Record Sealing.
A stepparent adoption is initiated when an adult files a petition in the county which they reside to adopt the child of their spouse or domestic partner. During the stepparent adoption process, a stepparent investigation report is written and submitted to the Court. It consists of declarations by the birth parent and the spouse or partner who is petitioning to adopt. A stepparent adoption intake packet can be picked up at the Merced County Juvenile Probation Office located at 1880 Wardrobe Avenue, Merced, California 95341 or by following the link below.
For additional information regarding Stepparent Adoption please visit Stepparent Adoption.