The Juvenile Assessment Center, a collaborative effort of Probation, Human Services Agency and Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, opened in March 2002. It is partially funded by a Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act 2000 grant. The program is the cornerstone of the Youth Services Center, serving the therapeutic and custodial needs of at risk juveniles living in San Mateo County.

The program is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and closed on Saturdays and holidays (hours of operation may change based on staffing). Services currently provided are for all newly referred juvenile offenders both in and out of custody. A multi-disciplinary team completes all assessments, and youth determined eligible for diversion are placed on contracts with consequences, support and supervision services. Assessment Teams are comprised of a Deputy Probation Officer, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist or a Social Worker. Services also include Alcohol and Drug consultation. Supervision and support services are provided by community workers from the Human Services Agency and the Probation Department. Bi-lingual staff is available and written materials are provided in English and Spanish. Program goals include:

  • Intake decisions that incorporate multi-disciplinary team screening and assessment.
  • Decrease duplication of services between agencies.
  • Multi-agency background information and records checks on youth’s police/probation contacts, mental health and social service history.
  • Provide a continuum of care with immediate services and supervision to youth released pending diversion or court.
  • Provide comprehensive recommendations and background information to the Juvenile Court for detention and release decisions.
  • Reduce the number of juveniles in Juvenile Hall and decrease detention time prior to bringing youth before the Juvenile Court
  • Provide an offense specific program for petty theft cases.
  • Provide additional support with “bridging” services for mental health and alcohol and drug services for immediate services to high risk cases.

The Juvenile Assessment Center evaluates all requests for juvenile records sealing. Lastly, Assessment Center staff work with our collaborative partners in the community (Youth and Family Enrichment Services and North Peninsula Family Alternative) to provide the Victim Impact Awareness Program for the youth who have committed crimes against others in the community.

To contact the Assessment Center, call (650) 312-8816

If you have questions about a court case, contact the San Mateo County Courts.
If you want to know which Probation Officer is assigned to your case, call (650) 312-8807.


 How does the Assessment Center determine what will happen with my child?

A Deputy Probation Officer from the Assessment Center will schedule a meeting with you and your child to discuss information received in a police report alleging that your child committed a crime.  The meeting will take place at the Youth Services Center with the assigned Deputy Probation Officer and a clinician from Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.  They will discuss all major factors in your child’s life, including school, mental health, and alcohol and drug use history.  They will then determine whether your child’s case may be handled informally or if the police report will be sent to the District Attorney’s Office for review.

In cases where your child is in custody in Juvenile Hall (and is a San Mateo County resident), the Assessment Center staff will complete an assessment on your child, including an assessment with Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and a phone interview with the parents.  In all cases, the Deputy Probation Officer will make a decision regarding possibly releasing your child from custody and whether your child would benefit from an alcohol and drug evaluation or a mental health evaluation.

What do I need to bring with me to the Assessment Center?

Please bring a photo ID and the child’s social security card and birth certificate. It is also helpful if you bring the names and birth dates of everyone living in your home, whether they are related to you or not.

What can I expect at the Assessment Center?

You are going to be asked to share information regarding the child; their performance in school, in the home, and in the community. You will be asked about the child’s strengths and any areas of concern you may have. The more truthful and helpful you are, the better we will be able to assess the situation and provide the appropriate intervention and support.

We will be asking you to sign release of information forms so that we can obtain verification of school and/or counseling program attendance and performance.