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Juvenile Drug Courts: Policy and Practice Scan

NCJ Number
Date Published
Kyungseok Choo, Anthony Petrosino, Hannah Persson, Trevor Fronius, Sarah Guckenburg, Kevin Earl
This policy and practice scan of a sample (n=25) of local juvenile drug treatment courts (JDTCs) in the United States focused on their current operations and structures, challenges in implementation, and perceived or measured successes.
To be eligible for a scan, the JDTC must have been established in 2004 or later and have been operational for at least 2 years at the time of the scan. Data were collected through a semi-structured protocol that included items from the following domains: history, treatment options, local partnerships, operations, performance monitoring and evaluation, successes, challenges, sustainability, and guidelines. Data on these domains were collected from available documentation and follow-up validation calls with key contacts at each JDTC. The most common documentation source was the JDTC policies and procedures manual. The intent of this scan was not to determine “what works,” but rather to ascertain “what is going on” with operating JDCTs in the United States. Overall, the scan findings show that the 25 JDTCs varied widely on many aspects of their policies and practices; however, they shared many similar attributes. Key JDTC contacts were generally familiar with current practice standards, which they supported; and some JDTCs were committed to complying with these standards; however, a few JDTCs struggled with implementing standards such as developmentally appropriate treatment and the use of incentives and sanctions. Key contacts did not identify any guidelines to add or remove, believing that the current guidelines were fairly comprehensive. Most of the JDTCs lacked the funding they needed to implement the guidelines as thoroughly as they desired. This funding shortage apparently undermined meeting the goals of providing incentives, sanctions, and comprehensive drug testing. 6 exhibits, 9 illustrations, and appended material on validation-call data collection, profiles of the sample JDTCs, and policy and procedures manuals and participant handbooks for Washington and Maryland
Date Created: December 18, 2016