Substance abuse poses a significant threat to the well-being of the nation's youth and to the communities in which they live. There were 20.4 million people age 12 and older with a substance abuse disorder related to their use of alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year, according to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Research presented in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP's) Model Programs Guide estimates that 60 to 80 percent of substantiated child abuse and neglect cases involve addiction by a parent or guardian.
OJJDP-funded drug courts help youth and families overcome the effects of substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. Since 2007, OJJDP has provided more than $176.5 million to establish or expand juvenile drug treatment courts, family drug courts, and tribal juvenile healing to wellness courts. To enhance program effectiveness, the funds also support research and training and technical assistance.
Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Program
In fiscal year (FY) 2020, OJJDP awarded more than $5 million to provide resources to state, local and tribal governments to create and enhance juvenile treatment court programs for youth in the justice system who face substance abuse challenges, with a specific focus on opioid abuse. The courts work to strengthen family engagement, address the root problems that may cause substance use and addiction, and empower young people to lead drug-free and crime-free lives.
Family Drug Court Program
Family Drug Courts (FDCs) serve children, parents and families involved in the child welfare system due to parental substance use as a contributing factor to child abuse or neglect. FDCs provide intensive judicial monitoring and equal access to family-focused interventions, services, and supports using a multidisciplinary approach to meet the comprehensive needs of these families. Program goals are to ensure children have safe, nurturing, and permanent homes; parents achieve stable recovery and family members receive needed supports and services to improve family functioning.
In FY 20, OJJDP funded the Family Drug Court Program with more than $19 million to build the capacity of states, state and local courts, local governments and federal recognized tribal governments to support existing family drug courts or establish new courts.
Juvenile Tribal Healing to Wellness Court Program
Through this program, OJJDP enhances the capacity of tribal courts to respond to the substance use challenges of court-involved youth. The courts employ cultural informed approaches to promote accountability, healing, and tribal identity in youth younger than 21.
In FY 20, OJJDP awarded $33.5 million to drug treatment court programs nationwide. This funding allows the courts to provide services for youth and families with substance abuse challenges, specifically those related to opioid abuse or co-occurring mental health disorders.
- Fiscal Year 2020–$33.5 million
- Fiscal Year 2019–$19.8 million
- Fiscal Year 2018–$18.2 million
- Fiscal Year 2017–$12 million
From the Field
Guam launched the island's first family drug treatment court in November 2017 with funding from OJJDP. The Guam Family Recovery Program seeks to strengthen and reunite families by providing collaborative, culturally respectful, and family-centered treatment and services.
"We have witnessed a significant transformation in the parents' behavior," the grantee said. "Parents are holding themselves accountable and are committed to working toward the goal of sobriety and reunification with their children."
- In Focus Fact Sheet: Drug Courts
- Drug Courts
- Juvenile Court Statistics, 2019
- Model Programs Guide: Drug Courts
- Model Programs Guide Literature Review: Drug Court
- Model Programs Guide Literature Review: Family Drug Courts
- Opioid Affected Youth Initiative (OAYI) Website
- OJJDP 2020 Annual Report
- Supporting Youth and Families Impacted by Opioid Use