Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $600,000)
The Cameron County Juvenile Justice Department (CCJJD) proposes to create the A.C.T. (Accountability Creates Trust) Juvenile Specialty Court which will promote public safety and divert juveniles with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders from being placed in alternative placement or sent to a correctional institution. CCJJD recognizes the best approach is to work with juveniles within the community and provide them a support system via treatment, accountability and skill-sets to help them succeed. The program will serve moderate to high risk youth (14-17 years old) who have been diagnosed with substance use and/or co-occurring mental health disorder. The A.C.T. Juvenile Specialty Court Team will consist of a Judge, Prosecutor, Defense Attorney, Project Coordinator, Specialized Juvenile Probation Officer, Field Compliance Officer, Mental Health Clinician, Law Enforcement Officer, and a Qualified Mental Health Professional (LCDC). The main objectives for eligible participants are to hold them accountable in participating with therapy, A.C.T. activities, random urinalysis testing, GPS electronic monitoring system, community service projects, and following their conditions of probation. Through collaborative planning and integrated approach, the team will use validated instruments/assessments, evidence-based case management, family support and engagement, substance use/mental health treatment, pro-social activities and/or sanctions in order to best meet the juvenile’s unique needs and guide them to a path of success.