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Inter-agency cooperation in probation cases in a rural area : a study of the allocation of responsibility for probation supervision to a group of juvenile delinquents, between Probation Branch and Social Welfare Branch, Region IV, B.C. Howarth, Lionel Doyle

Abstract

This is one of the first studies made, in a rural area of British Columbia, of the co-operation between the Provincial Probation Branch and the Social Welfare Branch of the Government of British Columbia in the allocation of responsibility for the probation supervision of, and the casework services to, certain male juvenile delinquents. The juvenile delinquents under consideration in this study are those who were known to the Social Welfare Branch or who were in need of a specific service provided by that Branch at the time that they were brought before the Court. The research material was obtained from the files of one probation office and cover all cases opened over a three year period from 1953 to 1956. This probation office served a territory that was also served by one district supervisor and six welfare workers of the Social Welfare Branch. The study compares the characteristics of a group of 28 juvenile delinquents who were known to both the Provincial Probation Branch and the Social Welfare Branch with those of a group of 99 delinquent juveniles who were referred to the Provincial Probation Branch by the Juvenile Courts but who had no contact with the Social Welfare Branch. The groups are compared on the basis of age, offence, family background, religious affiliation, school record, work record and recreational interests. The study then presents seven case digests in detail, to show how the decision was reached between the probation officer and the welfare worker as to who would provide probation supervision, casework services to the child and casework services to the parents. These cases present a brief social history of the juvenile delinquent, a tentative social diagnosis of his troubles, an evaluation of his needs and a suggested solution to his problems. The results of the study indicate that there is no hard and fast rule to be used in allocating responsibilities towards the juvenile delinquents in the group under study between the two Government Branches. Each case must be considered on its own merits so that the agencies can cooperate to function in the best interests of the client. The usual social work practise of dealing with each client as a unique individual must be carried over into the field of corrections if the needs of the child are to be met by the social workers.

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