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Juvenile Drug Treatment Court (JDTC) Guidelines Cross-Site Evaluation Plan

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2019
321 pages
This report describes the cross-site evaluation design to be used in determining whether juvenile drug treatment courts (JDTCs) that operate in compliance with 2016 JDTC guidelines produce better participant outcomes than traditional juvenile courts (TJC).
The 2016 JDTC Guidelines, whose development was funded by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), are based on the findings of a meta-analysis of JDTC; a JDTC systematic research review/qualitative synthesis; a meta-analysis and systematic review of adolescent substance-use treatment research; and a systematic review of the factors that impact the quality of child welfare, public health, and education programs for adolescents. The 2016 JDTC guidelines are an attempt to encourage JDTCs to use more of the practices that "on average" were associated with less recidivism and substance use, as well as to encourage these courts to avoid practices that "on average" were associated with more recidivism and substance use. The current report presents the design of the first cross-site evaluation of the impact of the 2016 JDTC guidelines. The goals of the evaluation are to 1) determine the extent to which it is feasible to implement the 2016 JDTC guidelines and the kinds of adaptations courts make to use them; 2) examine the impact on youth of the JDTC relative to TJC; 3) identify whether there is evidence for some components of the guidelines being more or less important or unimportant; and 4) recommend changes to the guidelines based on the aforementioned analyses. The specific research questions to be answered are outlined, along with the outcomes to be evaluated. The cross-site evaluation involves two parallel studies across 10 sites. The details of the evaluation methodology to be used at each site are included in this report. 9 figures, 3 tables, 45 references, and appended evaluation instruments

Date Published: March 1, 2019