Can the Probation Department help with my child before he/she breaks a law?
Unfortunately, the department does not have resources to work with children and families before a child breaks a law, besides talking with a probation officer assigned to a high school campus (see below). There are, however, various community based organizations, who offer counseling programs to work with at-risk children and their families. Also, there may be programs within the public schools to help you with your child.
My child just received a citation/was arrested. What happens now?
In either instance you will be contacted by a probation officer who is responsible for investigating your child’s circumstances and determining a course of action. If your child is booked into Juvenile Hall or the JTC (a Juvenile Detention Facility), a detention hearing will occur before the Juvenile Court no later than the third Court day following his/her arrest if he/she is not released from custody by the probation officer. After the circumstances are investigated by the probation officer, a variety of actions may occur ranging from a reprimand to Juvenile Court proceedings.
My child was arrested and now has to go to Juvenile Court. Where can we get information about what happens in Juvenile Court?
The Administrative Office of the Courts has developed a 13 minute video to help youth, parents and victims of juvenile crime understand Delinquency Court. The video walks the viewer through common types of juvenile hearings and helps explain what to expect during the course of a typical Delinquency Court case. The video can be located at
Why is there a Probation Officer at my child's high school? Are the conditions at the school that bad?
The conditions at your child’s high school are not bad. Probation officers are on high school campuses for a variety of reasons, few of which have to do with crime or dangerous circumstances. Each officer at a school has a caseload of minors who are under probation supervision for one reason or another, and can closely supervise them during school hours. Officers are also on campus as a resource for students having difficulties at school, home or in the community. They are able to answer questions about these issues and how they relate to the juvenile justice system, and make referrals to services. Probation officers are available as a resource to school teachers and administrators regarding problems and issues that may arise on campus.
How do we have our child's record sealed?
If the law allows your child’s record to be sealed, the Probation Department can assist you in this process. To obtain further information, and an application to request the sealing of your juvenile record, please contact the probation office that handled your case, or see the “Juvenile Record Seal Application” in the “Forms” section of this website at
My thirteen year old child will not do anything I say. Can I put him/her in a Juvenile Detention Facility for a night to teach him/her a lesson?
No, you cannot “put” your child into either Juvenile Detention Facility, as your child must commit a crime and be arrested by a police/sheriff’s officer in order to be booked into custody. There are other community resources available to assist you with your child.
Does the commitment or placement of my child outside of my home cost me any money?
Yes, the Welfare and Institutions Code provides that you can be charged for the costs of care and support of your child for each day he/she is detained in either Juvenile Detention Facility, a juvenile ranch, or a camp. You must also reimburse the cost of your child being placed in a group home or foster home.
I received a bill from the Probation Department for the care and support costs of my child in a Juvenile Detention Facility. Since I have joint custody of my child with my ex-spouse, do I only have to pay half the bill?
>Under the Welfare and Institutions Code the father, mother, spouse, or other person liable for the support of a minor, the estate of that person, and the estate of the minor, shall be liable for the reasonable costs of support of the minor while the minor is placed, or detained in, or committed to, any institution or other place pursuant to an order of the Juvenile Court. The liability of these persons and estates shall be a joint and several liability, which means both parents are responsible for the payment of the bill in its entirety.
I cannot afford the billing I received for the care and support costs of my child in a Juvenile Detention Facility. What can I do?
You may contact the Probation Department’s Fiscal Unit to obtain a financial evaluation form and discuss the process with a fiscal staff member. Payment plans may be set up if financial documents support it. This payment plan does not reduce the liability incurred. If no contact is made with the Probation Department, accounts that are delinquent past 60 days will be referred for collection.
I am a victim of a crime. How do I get restitution?
If you are named as a victim of a crime in a law enforcement report, the person who committed the crime is convicted of the crime, and the case is referred to the probation officer, you will be contacted by the probation officer for specific information regarding your losses. From your information, the probation officer will determine an amount of restitution that is recommended to the Court. Once the Court orders restitution on your behalf from the person who committed the crime, the probation officer will make every effort to collect the amount owed to you. As payments are made to the Court, they will be forwarded to you.
If you are named as a victim of a crime in a law enforcement report, but no juvenile petition or criminal complaint was filed by the District Attorney’s Office, you may contact the District Attorney’s Office.
If law enforcement has not investigated the crime against you, you may contact the Sheriff’s Office or Police Department, whichever is appropriate.
If law enforcement has investigated the crime against you but the case has not yet gone to Court, you may contact the District Attorney’s Office (adult) or the Probation Department (juvenile) to determine the status of the case.
What is the difference between Court Probation, Summary Probation, Summary Court Probation and Formal Probation in adult matters?
The first three mean an offender is on probation to the Court without the supervision of the probation officer. A person on formal probation is typically a felony offender in which the Court has suspended imposition of sentence to prison and ordered the offender placed under the supervision of the Probation Officer.
I know my ex-husband is on probation with you. Can you tell me where he is so I can collect child support?
The law prohibits the Probation Department from disclosing this information to you. You may contact Child Support Services for assistance in obtaining child support. That department has offices in Placerville and South Lake Tahoe.
I know my neighbor is on probation. What can you tell me about him?
The law prohibits the Probation Department from disclosing this information to you as a general rule. If the department determines an offender is a threat to your personal safety, you may be advised of this threat. Megan’s Law determines that you may learn the identity of sex offenders within your neighborhood through the Sheriff’s Office or Police Departments.
I have a child custody order that says my ex-husband must be drug tested before he can see the children. Will the Probation Department drug test him for me?
No. The department does not drug test anyone who is not under the Probation Departments’ supervision; most often there is a Court order authorizing testing.