Language can influence and set the tone for participants of juvenile drug treatment courts (JDTCs). Please refer to this glossary for any questions about the terms in the juvenile justice field. This is a living glossary, meaning definitions will be altered, added, and removed as new research is presented and best practices are established, so check back often.
Adjudication: Judicial determination (judgment) that a juvenile is responsible for the delinquency or status offense that is charged in a petition or other charging document. (OJJDP)
Aftercare: Supervision and services provided to a juvenile following his or her release from a correctional facility. Generally includes evaluation of treatment, educational, vocational needs and a plan to help the young person with successful readjustment to the community. (NCSL)
Alternatives to Detention: Alternative services provided to a juvenile offender in the community to avoid placement in a detention facility. (OJJDP)
Assessment: Evaluation or appraisal of a candidate's suitability for placement in a specific treatment modality/setting and the relationship to custody and supervision. In mental health, an assessment refers to comprehensive information required for the diagnosis of a mental health disorder. An assessment differs from a screening, which is used to determine if an assessment is needed. See screening. (OJJDP)
Child Abuse: Acts that cause physical and/or emotional injury to the child (not necessarily resulting in a court finding). Types of child abuse include physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. (OJJDP)
Child Neglect: Acts that include abandonment, expulsion from the home, failure to seek remedial health care or delay in seeking care, inadequate supervision, disregard for hazards in the home, or inadequate food, clothing, or shelter (not necessarily resulting in a court finding). (OJJDP)
Commitment: A court order giving guardianship of a juvenile to the state department of juvenile justice or corrections. The facility in which a juvenile may be placed may be publicly or privately operated and may range from a secure correctional placement to a nonsecure or staff-secure facility, group home, foster care, or day treatment setting. (OJJDP)
Cultural Competency: The ability of service agencies to understand the world view of clients of different cultures and adapt practices to ensure their effectiveness. (OJJDP)
Delinquency: An act committed by a juvenile that would be criminal if committed by an adult. (OJJDP)
Detention: Usually refers to the placement of a youth in a secure facility under court authority at some point between the time of referral to court intake and case disposition. (OJJDP)
Disposition: Sanction ordered or treatment plan decided upon or initiated in a particular case by a juvenile court. The range of options available to a court typically includes commitment to an institution; placement in a group or foster home or other residential facility; probation (either regular or intensive supervision); referral to an outside agency, day treatment, or mental health program; or imposition of a fine, community service, or restitution. (OJJDP)
Diversion: A mechanism designed to hold youth accountable for their actions by sanctioning behavior and in some cases securing services, but at the same time generally avoiding formal court processing in the juvenile justice system. (OJJDP)
Evaluation: An evidence-based assessment of a problem-solving court conducted by a neutral third-party and resulting in documentation and/or a report of findings (e.g. Cost-Benefit, Outcome, Process Evaluation). (NCSC)
Evidence-Based Program: Programs and practices that have been shown, through rigorous evaluation and replication, to be effective at preventing or reducing juvenile delinquency or victimization, or related risk factors. (OJJDP)
Exit Type: The way in which the a participant leaves the program.
Successful completion: Participants who have met all requirements of the program and successfully graduated.
Administrative closure: Participants who left the program due to some extenuating circumstance completely outside of the court’s control. Examples of these events would include death and deportation.
Voluntary withdrawal: Participants who voluntarily withdraw from the problem-solving court while in compliance (i.e., the court was not considering termination).
General discharge: Participants who are discharged from the program, including participants who are compliant but unable to meet graduation requirements or those who become incompetent after entering the program.
Transfer: For jurisdictions with multiple treatment courts, this category consists of participants who are terminated from the problem-solving court and transferred to another treatment court. Typically, these participants were either initially placed incorrectly or other issues arose during treatment or case management to indicate a better fit in another program.