APPA’s goal in setting forth this vision statement is to work with probation professionals, youth, and community stakeholders to establish a set of core principles that we believe should be incorporated into every juvenile justice agency. We know there are many agencies already on this path, and others that are just starting. Ultimately, our aim is to create a system-wide approach to probation that incorporates helping youth desist from delinquent behavior and achieve long-term success.

The 10 Core Principles of Juvenile Probation

For those youth who do require supervision, probation’s purpose should be to provide guidance, support, assistance, and opportunities that promote young people’s success and, in turn, protect public safety.

In pursuing this purpose, probation departments should be guided by 10 core principles:

1. Center youth and families to individualize probation.

The probation experience must begin with a meaningful discussion between the probation officer, the young person, and their family/support team to establish the expectations for supervision. These conversations should lead to a success plan that reflects not only the findings of a risk-need assessment or a preset list of probation-sponsored programs and services, but also a unique set of goals and activities calibrated to maximize the young person’s growth and success.


The vision presented on this page is merely a first step. For some, it will represent an aspirational statement; for others, an affirmation of what they are already working toward. We are calling for all juvenile probation departments across the nation to bring their practices in line with these 10 principles. APPA is looking forward to working directly with juvenile probation departments; youth, their families, and support teams; and community stakeholders to develop practical models to help agencies continue to support young people’s success.

Every day, juvenile probation professionals do their very best to help steer young people away from delinquency and toward success. APPA is calling for probation departments to adopt these core principles to position probation professionals to achieve more, to succeed more often, and to help young people realize their full potential.