Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania
County of Allegheny
Juvenile Probation | Operations


  • D & A Units
    The CISP Program is licensed by the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs (BDAP) for prevention and education.

    The CISP prevention program targets 6-12 year olds in Garfield, the Hill District, Homewood, Wilkinsburg and McKeesport. Prevention programming may take place in schools, churches or community centers.

    CISP prevention curricula will focus primarily on drug and alcohol education and social skill development. Drug and alcohol education will include: pharmacology, mental, social, emotional and legal consequences. Social skill development will include: self-awareness/acceptance, values clarification, sharing/inclusion, anger management, conflict resolution and decision-making.

    The targeted schools are Turner Elementary (Wilkinsburg), Crescent Elementary (Homewood), Reizenstein Middle School (Garfield), Miller Elementary (Hill District) and McClure Middle School (McKeesport).

    The Substance Abuse component of the CISP Program is based on two premises. The first premise is that there is a very high correlation between delinquent behavior and substance abuse among adolescents. The second premise is that traditional treatment has been largely ineffective for delinquent and minority children. Therefore, the substance abuse staff provides intervention that addresses the unique concerns of our clients from a culturally specific framework.

    The Substance Abuse Program enables youth to make a critical review of their personal substance abuse, substance abuse of significant others including family members and community abuse, and distribution of substances that are impediments to their healthy growth and development.

    The CISP Substance Abuse staff provides youth with the opportunity to make better, more informed choices about drug and alcohol use through improved problem solving and refusal skills as well as alternatives to drug dealing. Additionally, CISP holds youth accountable and personally responsible for their behavior through natural consequences, including referrals to long-term placements or more restrictive treatment environments when necessary as well as sanctions.

    CISP Substance Abuse Intervention provides two levels of services. They are Education/Assessment and Outpatient Intervention. There are four phases of programming.

    Phase I: Consists of the evaluation of all youth including a psychosocial history of the adolescent and his family, diagnostic interviews and the completion of the assessment package.

    Phase II: Involves assigning youth to the most appropriate tract, i.e. prevention, outpatient, or in extreme cases, referral to an inpatient facility. Placement in this phase is based on Phase I information and the results of the random, on-site drug testing Referrals are made by Substance Abuse staff in conjunction with the remainder of the CISP treatment team.

    Phase III: During this period, group norms and expectations are established that allow the group to become a therapeutic community. At this stage, all youth have individualized treatment plans and participates in a 15-week drug and alcohol educational group curriculum. Intervention includes individual counseling, principles of group psychotherapy, behavior modification and reality therapy.

    CISP is in its third year of working in collaboration with Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and the Bloomfield/Garfield Corp. All youth in the outpatient intervention tract attend weekly NA meetings. Additionally, many youth who have addicted parents are identified and taken to Children of Alcoholics (COA) support groups. Substance Abuse staff led clients through a culturally specific curriculum that addresses the following topics: the history of substance abuse in the African American community, individual and cultural self-esteem, and developing trust as means to reduce criminal behavior. When youth have completed the CISP program, the D&A treatment team makes appropriate referrals according to needs identified throughout the treatment process.

    Phase IV: Includes follow-up contacts on a bimonthly basis to determine each youth adherence to the recommended aftercare plans.

    Intensive outpatient intervention in CISP utilizes individual, group and family therapy, psycho educational lectures, reality therapy and therapeutic activities based upon the philosophy and principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. The process of intensive outpatient intervention allows the adolescent to live at home, attend community and family functions while going through the process of assessment and treatment. It incorporates daily living activities and develops new coping skills to enhance the recovery of the participant and his family as well as to prevent and/or minimize the risk of relapse.


  • Electronic Home Monitoring/Home Detention Unit (EHM)
    Our goal is to provide an effective Home Detention and Electronic Monitoring program by utilizing state-of-the-art technology and employing highly trained staff.
    • Sanctioning
      Clients referred for minor probation violations remain in the home detention program for seven days and receive daily telephone calls, regular home visits, and weekly school checks by Home Detention Officers.
    • Home Detention
      Clients are referred to this program by a Judge or Hearing Officer and receive daily telephone calls, regular home visits, and weekly school visits by Home Detention Officers.
    • High Risk Home Detention
      Clients who are charged with certain serious crimes may be placed in this program. Clients designated as "high risk" receive hourly telephone calls starting at 4:00 P.M. until 12 midnight seven days a week and unless otherwise specified by the Court.
    • Electronic Monitoring
      A Judge or Hearing Officer refers clients to this program and their locations are electronically monitored twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Any violations are subject to revocation of monitoring privilege and readmission to secure detention.
    • High Risk Electronic
      Monitoring Clients who are charged with the most serious crimes may be placed in this program. Clients designated as "high risk" receive an increased frequency of electronic signals to their transmitters, which communicates the location of clients.
    • School Partnership Initiative
      The purpose of this program is to educate young elementary and middle school students about services offered by the Home Detention/Electronic Monitoring Program. Home Detention officers will visit schools presenting educational seminars to students about the HD/EM services.


  • Intake/Investigations Department
    • Intake
      If a youth has charges filed against him/her and he/she is not sent to Shuman Center, the case is referred to a Juvenile Court Intake Officer. The Intake Officer may resolve the case in one of the following manners:
      • Withdrawn at Intake [Jurisdictional mandates not met or the victim does not want to proceed.]
      • Informal Adjustment [If a juvenile commits an offense and the offense is not considered to be serious, or if it is a victimless crime; and if he/she and his/her parents or guardian and the victim (for non-serious crimes) and the police agree.]
      • Mediation [A formal process whereby the victim and the offender sit together with a trained mediator in an attempt to resolve the problem without formal Court intervention.]
      • File a delinquency petition. Intake Officers also handle Protection From Abuse cases involving juvenile perpetrators and a variety of other duties.
    • Investigations
      When a youth is placed in Shuman Center, the Intake Officer must schedule a detention hearing within 72 Hours.
      • The youth remains at Shuman. If the youth is detained at Shuman, the Intake Officer must file a petition within twenty-four hours. After filing the petition, the case is assigned to an Investigations Officer to prepare for Court. The delinquency hearing must occur within ten days of the filing of the petition
      • The youth is released to the parent’s control subject to home detention or electronic monitoring. If the youth is released, the Intake Officer must file a petition within twenty-four hours. The delinquency hearing usually occurs within three weeks of the filing of the delinquency petition.
      • The youth is released to the parent’s control without conditions. If the youth is released, the Shuman Intake Officer must file a petition. After filing the petition, the case is assigned to an Intake Officer to prepare for Court. The delinquency hearing usually occurs within two months of the filing of the delinquency petition.
      • If the youth is already under Court supervision the active Probation Officer performs the duties outlined in Investigations and Intake.


  • Placement Management
    The Placement Management Department facilitates all provider contracts, payment of invoices and assists the Judges and Probation Officer in securing appropriate placement for difficult to place youth. This department also serves as the liaison between Allegheny County Juvenile Court and provider programs.
    • Placement Services Non-Secure
      The majority of Allegheny County youth in placement reside in non-secure settings. This type of placement includes residential, group, and foster care settings. All of these placement services were provided by the private sector offering 86 programs from 30 different agencies. The Department of Public Welfare licenses all of these agencies.
    • Secure Placements
      When it is necessary to protect the community from a juvenile, the youth may be placed in a secure facility operated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These are either locked facilities or Youth Forestry Camps located throughout the Commonwealth


  • Special Services Unit (SSU)
    The Special Services Unit (SSU) was created in 1985 by Allegheny County Juvenile Court to provide intensive supervision and specialized treatment services for convicted sexual offenders. A supervisor, two community-based Probation Officers and three Aftercare Probation Officers staff the SSU.

    The following three components make up the SSU:

    • Aftercare
      The aftercare component of the SSU includes three Probation Officers whose goal is to successfully reintegrate the offender upon his release from an institution.

      The Aftercare Probation Officers are generally assigned to the case at least six months prior to the youth's targeted release date. Typically, the Probation Officer will contact the youth at the facility on a monthly basis and develop a plan for the youth's return to the community. Upon the offender's release from the institution, the Aftercare Probation Officer directly contacts the youth several times weekly to ensure compliance with the supervision/treatment plan. In addition, the family, school, employer, and victim are also contacted on a regular basis.

    • Community
      Since 1998 a grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD)/Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grant (JAIBG) has enabled the community-based component of the SSU to collaborate with Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) to provide comprehensive supervision and treatment to sex offenders.

      The SSU/WPIC Program has two primary goals:

      • To promote public safety
      • To provide intensive treatment and services to sex offenders.

      Juveniles are court ordered into the SSU/WPIC Program after being placed on probation for a sex offense. Within days, a clinician from WPIC begins a thorough diagnostic evaluation of the offender, typically two to three sessions each lasting approximately two hours. Emerging from this evaluation is a plan for treatment that may include individual and family therapy, mental health wrap-around services, home and school contacts, support groups, and medication. Treatment sessions are held at the clinic, home, school, or other community setting. The offender's family is included in the treatment whenever possible. Clinicians from WPIC and the SSU regularly communicate to ensure all pertinent information is shared and progress monitored. On average, juveniles stay in the SSU/WPIC program for approximately one year.

      Probation Officers in the SSU intensely supervise juveniles in the program, personally contacting each offender two to three times weekly at home, school, or in the community. In addition, the SSU Probation Officers maintain regular contact with the youth's family, school, employer, and victim. The officers also facilitate weekly group treatment sessions in their Northside office.

    • Educational
      The SSU offers an educational curriculum for those youth deemed appropriate who have not been found delinquent of a sex offense. In these sessions the SSU probation staff deals with issues related to human sexuality, victim awareness, relationships, stress of daily living, and myths about sex offenses.

      The SSU provides a full range of services for the special population of sex offenders, the SSU/WPIC Program focusing on those placed on probation and the aftercare component working with those returning from institutional placement. The officers maintain a flexible schedule; working from noon to 8:00 pm at least three days per week to ensure their many duties are fulfilled. SSU Probation Officers closely monitor all conditions of supervision and promptly respond to any violation. Serious noncompliance results in further court action. The SSU incorporates a highly structured, and balanced approach that enhances public safety, emphasizes victim restoration, and provides rehabilitation to the offender.