Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Kaitlyn McCreary, Intern at Richland County Juvenile Court

Kaitlyn McCreary is an intern at Richland County Juvenile Court. This court system is aimed at executing adjudication hearings for juveniles within Richland County.

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.
I work as a Diversion Officer and Community-Control Officer, which is a type of probation officer, and I have both types of clients on my caseload. The Diversion Program is designed for youth who have minimal to no previous involvement in the juvenile justice system and provides youth a second chance at having a clean record. If a youth completes Diversion successfully and does not commit another offense within a year and a half of being terminated, their file becomes sealed and their record is kept clean. Community-Control works in a similar way; the offense does go on your record, but this is still designed for giving youth a second chance. Both types are minimal supervision, and I am required to enforce court orders and make recommendations at court hearings when I feel they can be terminated or if they need to have more intense supervision to be placed in a higher level of probation. I get to work with juveniles and their families in all capacities. It is a great mix of criminal justice and social work. It can almost be viewed as mini-counseling sessions when I conduct office visits. I make sure to convey to my clients that I am here to help them be successful while in this program and that I care about their well-being. I work closely with parents and children and try my best to help better that relationship.

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in?
It’s hard to name all of my duties and explain them all, but my main part has been having my own caseload of about 25-30 juveniles. They are placed on either Diversion or Community-Control. I am responsible for all of my youth and meet with them at least once a month, connecting them with resources that will help them complete probation successfully. I attend court hearings for a variety of cases, including my clients. Also, I file charges for the Intake Department, which means I read the police reports, make sure the alleged charge is applicable to the situation, and that the Ohio Revised Code number matches the charge and is written correctly on the summons. I also administer drug and alcohol assessments, and I conduct drug tests and office visits for my clients. I am the lead presenter for the Truancy Awareness Program the court organizes every other week.

I will become trained to administer OYAS Assessments to juveniles (Ohio Youth Assessment System – March 10-11 is my training). This allows me to interview all of my clients to assess their level of risk to better help place them in the correct level of probation based on the amount of supervision needed.
How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared you for your internship?

The program has prepared me with the specific information and scenarios I would be dealing with in the field. The curriculum is exactly what I needed to learn to help me succeed in my internship. It has allowed me to think critically and apply my knowledge in my internship when working with clients. I have been able to see when a specific class has impacted my success while working in my internship. I am very thankful for my education at Ashland University and can see every day how it paid off to choose getting my education from this social work program. I feel very prepared for grad school, as well as becoming a professional social worker in any field I choose to pursue.

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?
I have simply enjoyed learning so many things so far. There is always more to learn, and I feel more prepared and more confident with every step. I have also enjoyed getting to meet new people and being part of a professional group. I have been blessed with the greatest supervisors and it truly has enhanced my experience. I know it will be hard to leave them once the semester is over, but I am anxious to see what my future brings.

For more information about the Richland County Court, please visit their website.
For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit their website.

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