NCJFCJ Observes National Drug Court Month 2016

May 4, 2016


May is National Drug Court Month! The NCJFCJ celebrates the exceptional success of adult drug courts, juvenile drug courts, family dependency treatment courts, tribal healing to wellness courts, DWI courts, and veterans treatment courts across the U.S. Juvenile drug courts (JDCs) in particular serve a critical role in helping youth address, and ultimately overcome, concurrent substance abuse and delinquent behaviors. Comprehensive interventions for juvenile substance abuse are particularly important because early substance abuse is a risk factor for justice system involvement and lifelong addiction issues. The NCJFCJ is proud to be the provider of training and technical assistance for JDCs nationwide; providing support to these vital programs as they undertake the work to help youth transform their lives.

In observance of National Drug Court Month, the NCJFCJ created a blog series titled: Seven Deadly Sins: Juvenile Drug Court Practices that Can Lead to Poor Outcomes. The series identifies seven specific practices that can be detrimental to a juvenile drug court and its youth. To read the series, click here.

JDCs are multidisciplinary collaborations – judges and probation officers, treatment providers, and ancillary services working in concert to address successfully the many interrelated challenges that juveniles and families present. Effective assessment, training, technical assistance, and performance measurement for JDCs focusing on strengthening a jurisdiction’s ability to provide quality, evidence-based adolescent services within a team framework while being responsive to each juvenile’s particular strengths and needs is available from the NCJFCJ.

Juvenile Drug Court Training – Improving Practice on a National, Regional, and Local Level

Research has shown that participating in training is a key component to a high-functioning team, which in turn leads to better outcomes for youth and families served in JDCs. The NCJFCJ provides a wide variety of training types.

Training to Introduce Concepts – these trainings are short (1–2 hours) and are designed to raise the audience’s awareness of a topic or issue.

  • Webinars
  • State and national conference inserts

Training to Improve Individual Effectiveness – these trainings are short (3-4 hours) and are designed to build on a participant’s existing knowledge while encouraging him or her to implement change:

  • Online workshops
  • Practice Advancement Institutes

Training to Change Team Practice – these trainings are intensive (1-3 days) and are designed to move a team from current practice to best practice:

  • On-site technical assistance
  • Juvenile Drug Court Best Practice Trainings
  • Treatment Modality Training

Training for the Self-Guided Learner – these resources can be used by members of the JDC team and are designed to provide them with training at their own pace moving from the introduction of concepts through to a change in practice:

  • National Juvenile Drug Court Online Knowledge Center
  • Juvenile Drug Court Planning Guide
  • In-Practice Tips Sheets

Juvenile Drug Court Learning Collaborative – A Community Built on Training and Technical Assistance

The Juvenile Drug Court Learning Collaborative (Collaborative) is a multi-year project for juvenile drug courts (JDCs) to build capacity, assess needs, initiate strategic planning, implement appropriate program improvements, evaluate program performance and help sustain programs. The Collaborative consists of regionally located sites across the United States, and each site:

SETS GOALS – to strive for program improvement

  • Increase/improve access to evidence-based screening/assessment/treatment for adolescents
  • Increase/improve fidelity to the Juvenile Drug Court 16 Strategies in Practice
  • Goal driven outputs and outcomes (short and long-term)

ENHANCES AND IMPROVES – through targeted training and technical assistance

  • Participate in self-assessment of program/team practice
  • Develop strategic plans focused on eliminating gaps in training/services/system enhancements
  • Participate in multifarious types of training/technical assistance to improve practice and technology transfer

LEVERAGES THE LEARNING COMMUNITY – building collaboration through networking

  • Site-level practitioner learning through JDC cross-site visits and All-Sites training
  • Build a learning infrastructure with online and remote networking opportunities
  • Share lessons learned with the larger JDC field

MARKS CHANGES – through qualitative and quantitative evaluation 

  • Gather historical data on practice and program outcomes
  • Gather and track any change data connected to goals and enhancements
  • Conduct process evaluation to gauge implementation efforts 

Juvenile Drug Court Adolescent-Based Treatment Database – Linking Courts to the Evidence-Based Treatment Community

The adolescent substance abuse treatment field is young compared to adult substance abuse treatment services. For many years, services for juveniles were merely adult models, most of which were only slightly modified to address a multitude of adolescent-specific issues. When studies examined these treatment practices, they found that such modified adult models were often ineffective with juveniles and, perhaps not surprisingly, caused more harm than good. However, in the last 15 years, researchers have successfully developed a range of validated substance use disorder treatment modalities normed for adolescents. The NCJFCJ has compiled information on validated treatment interventions and assessment instruments in The Adolescent-Based Treatment Database (Database), which can serve as a one-stop-shop for JDCs researching adolescent-focused treatment and assessment instruments.

  • The Database serves as a valuable tool for juvenile drug courts by detailing intervention basics;
  • The Database provides special considerations, regarding specific treatment interventions for JDCs;
  • The Database provides engagement strategies (for treatment providers, allied agencies, youth, and families; and
  • The Database provides an Adolescent-Based Treatment Intervention Comparison Matrix, which will help readers quickly identify brief, individual, group, and family interventions that may work in their jurisdiction.

National Drug Court Month has been celebrated for more than twenty years throughout the treatment court community. It is coordinated by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). This year, treatment courts throughout the nation are celebrating National Drug Court Month with the theme “Criminal Justice Reform in Action.” Since the late 1980s, drug courts have paved the way for significant justice reform in the U.S. Without the innovative, evidence-based treatment these programs provide, more than 1.4 million Americans would not be living in recovery from addiction. This year, National Drug Court Month comes amid unprecedented interest in criminal justice reform as policy makers at the state and federal level are seeking solutions that reduce substance abuse, crime, and incarceration while saving lives and resources – check out this video - President Obama Calls for Drug Courts. No solution has proven more effective than drug courts and other treatment courts.

Throughout the month of May, the NCJFCJ will publish blog posts to recognize National Drug Court Month.

For more information about National Drug Court Month, please click on these links:

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