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> Probation - FAQs - Juvenile Services

Contact Information

TOMPKINS COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PROBATION AND COMMUNITY JUSTICE
Patricia Buechel, Probation Director
320 West State/Martin Luther King Jr Street
Ithaca, New York 14850
(607) 274-5380
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Freqently Asked Questions about Juvenile Services

  1. What is a Person In Need of Supervision (PINS)?
  2. What is a Juvenile Delinquent?
  3. I have a concern about my child. How do I get help?
  4. My child leaves home without my permission. What can I do? ?
  5. I suspect my child is smoking marijuana. What should I do?
  6. My child won’t go to school. What can I do?
  7. How can I get information about services in the community?

 

#1  What is a Person In Need of Supervision (PINS)?
A Person In Need of Supervision is a term used to describe a youth who is under the age of eighteen and showing a pattern of behavior problems known as status offenses, such as habitual disobedience, running away, curfew violations, drug or alcohol abuse, violent behavior or school truancy. Most referrals come from schools, parents/guardians, and the police.

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#2  What is a Juvenile Delinquent?
 A Juvenile Delinquent is a child over 7 and less than 16 who has committed either a misdemeanor or felony. A child under 16, who is charged with a criminal offense, is issued a Juvenile Appearance Ticket that directs the child and parent/guardian to appear at the Probation Department. If deemed appropriate, the child will be given a chance to keep the matter out of Court by cooperating with Intake, a more informal process where the child and family work with Probation and the victim(s) or complainant on creating consequences and services needed to turn the behavior around.

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#3  I have a concern about my child. How do I get help?
The Probation Department has someone available every business day from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. to discuss your situation and answer your questions. Just ask for the intake worker of the day. The intake worker is knowledgeable regarding community resources and will discuss whether the PINS Diversion Program is right for you and your family.

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#4  My child leaves home without my permission. What can I do?
If your child has left home and you do not know his/her whereabouts, file a Missing Persons report with the Police. Once you have filed a Missing Persons report, and you continue to be unaware of your child’s whereabouts, call the Probation Department and ask for an intake worker. If appropriate, the intake worker will assist you in preparing a PINS Petition for the purpose of securing a warrant. If your child’s whereabouts are known, the PINS Diversion Program can help you determine an appropriate curfew for your child, support your child’s adherence to the curfew and address other possible behavior issues in the home. An intake worker would also discuss what community resources may be available to promote more pro-social activities for your child and/or services directed toward the specific needs of your child and family.

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#5  I suspect my child is smoking marijuana. What should I do?
You may first want to try to verify whether your child is using marijuana. Ask your family doctor to do a surprise drug screen or buy a drug kit at your local drug store. Confront your child directly and see if s/he will admit using to you. Screens and evaluations can also be scheduled at Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services (CARS) or the Tompkins County Alcohol and Drug Council of Tompkins County (TCADC). If your child refuses to follow through with a screen or evaluation, call this department and talk to an intake worker to see if a PINS Diversion referral is appropriate for your child.

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#6  My child won’t go to school. What can I do?
You should first let your child’s school administration know that you are having difficulties getting your child to school and see what resources the school may have to motivate your child to attend. If attendance problems continue, your child’s school or you may contact an intake worker at this department to see if a PINS Diversion referral is appropriate for your child. A Probation Officer would work directly with your child, meet regularly with school personnel to monitor your child’s progress, set up supports within the school and work with you to see if there are any community services that might help address the issues behind the poor attendance. According to the Education Law, your child is legally responsible to attend the year in which your child turns 16. However, the Family Court does have jurisdiction of juveniles until they are eighteen and may require your child to attend school if the matter necessitates court intervention.

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#7  How can I get information about services in the community?
Tompkins County residents can now dial 2-1-1 to find health care, services for seniors, programs for people with disabilities, mental health services, legal assistance, addiction treatment, employment,
housing, food resources, consumer information, transportation, day care, youth programs, and other community services.

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