About Webb Weekly

Webb Weekly is a family-oriented newspaper direct mailed to over 58,000 homes each week.

Webb Weekly

280 Kane St. STE #2
South Williamsport, PA
United States

Phone & Fax

Phone: 570-326-9322
Fax: 570-326-9383

Get In Touch With Us

Latest Issue


County Hall Corner: Ed Robbins – Juvenile Probation Champion

On July 10th, Lycoming County Government will be losing yet another one its exceptional department heads. The county commissioners should be commended for their ability to find excellent replacements for these departing chiefs, but they will need to find someone with really big shoes to fill those of retiring Juvenile Probation Department Director Ed Robbins.

On July 10th, Lycoming County Government will be losing yet another one its exceptional department heads. The county commissioners should be commended for their ability to find excellent replacements for these departing chiefs, but they will need to find someone with really big shoes to fill those of retiring Juvenile Probation Department Director Ed Robbins.

Juvenile probation is an important part of the justice system. It is a form of juvenile sentencing which attempts to do two things at once; serve as a punitive measure yet at the same time seek to reduce the risk of the juvenile offending again in the future by rehabilitating them.

Working with troubled youth is obviously not a pleasant task, as it requires discipline with compassion, wisdom with intuition, and practice with patience. It takes this to deal with teenagers that commit property offenses, public order offenses, drug law offenses, and worst of all, person offenses.

In Lycoming County, Ed Robbins has managed eleven juvenile probation officers (JPOs), three clerks, and a deputy chief since May of 1998. Ed was prepared to head the Juvenile Probation Department because he had spent the previous twelve years working his way up the ranks. Starting out as a shelter care worker that was used for at-risk youth and truant kids, he then went on to day treatment to teach life skills, and then a JPO, and ultimately department head.

Ed has seen a lot in his 34 year career in juvenile probation. The overall juvenile population in the county is roughly 10,000 and through the years about four to five percent get into trouble. The rate of juvenile crime was relatively steady through the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s until the recession of 2008. That crash caused serious financial restrictions which resulted in budget cuts. Where this was felt most severely was the lack of funds to utilize various detention centers around the state for the most serious youth offenders who needed specialized treatment. With state funding shrunk to half of what it had been, many detention centers throughout the commonwealth were forced to close, and this created something of a crisis.

But sometimes crisis creates opportunity, and this is what happened here. After 2008, a new statewide program was designed called the Juvenile Justice Enhancement Strategy. Far too complex to explain in any detail here, it is an amazing tool that reviews every aspect of the juvenile justice process, collects and analyzes the data necessary to measure the results of these efforts; and then with this knowledge, strives to continuously improve the quality of the decisions, services and programs that are utilized in Juvenile Probation. Directors like Ed Robbins now could make informed decisions based on evidence-based information, using this research to design and utilize programs that work.

And they did work. In the past ten years, the juvenile delinquency rate is measurably lower. Not only that, but the networks have strengthened, as the JPO office also networks closer with the schools, Children and Youth Department, and of course, the parents themselves which also has strengthened the effectiveness of the programs.

Ed Robbins has overseen all this with a professional yet personal hand. He was not the type of director who sat in the office, but one who was actively involved. Ed noted that just recently he was able to congratulate a young man who had gone through their system and has recently graduated high school, yet this time last year he was on the verge of dropping out of school. Ed notes that hardly two weeks go by that someone does not recognize him on the street and share their appreciation for what the JPO and/or he personally did to help change their life.

Ed plans on taking some well-earned rest for a few coming months and then has accepted a teaching position at Lycoming College. He has been teaching there on a part-time basis since 2000, so he is certainly well prepared. It is refreshing to know that the wealth of knowledge and experience he has gained is going to be deposited to a future generation. Ed’s success is a guide to all of us — give your heart with your head to the work of your hands.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply