(a) Beginning October 1, 1998, the Administrative Director of Courts shall promote the delivery of juvenile probation services for youths alleged or adjudged to be delinquent or in need of supervision, establish and promulgate reasonable minimum standards for initial and continuing certification of juvenile probation officers, and verify any applicant meeting these standards for the position of juvenile probation officer.
(b) The Administrative Director of Courts may establish and schedule in-service education and training for juvenile probation officers which shall include training and educational programs to enable juvenile probation officers to meet the minimum standards established pursuant to this section. Juvenile probation officers in counties having a population of 99,000 or less according to the 1990 federal decennial census may attend judicial colleges, including, but not limited to, programs of the Alabama Judicial College, institutes, seminars, conferences, or other meetings concerning probation and aftercare services, juvenile justice, and the administration of justice, in or outside of the State of Alabama, as may be approved by the Administrative Director of Courts. Written authorization, as required by Section 36-7-21, shall be obtained in advance for any education-related travel outside the State of Alabama. Juvenile probation officers from counties having a population of 99,000 or less according to the 1990 federal decennial census shall receive reimbursement for their expenses at the same rates and pursuant to the same rules and regulations applicable to other court personnel when attending approved seminars, institutes, conferences, judicial colleges, or meetings.