Research • Policy • Practice

Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Training and Technical Assistance Initiative Awarded $2 Million

The Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Training and Technical Assistance Initiative announced today it has been awarded $2 million from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to expand and extend its training of and technical assistance for juvenile drug treatment courts (JDTCs) working to implement the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Guidelines. With this new funding, the Initiative will expand its scope to provide JDTC practitioners, families, and schools critical and timely new trainings and resources to combat racial and ethnic disparities and the increase in opioid use among youth in their communities.

The Juvenile Drug Treatment Court (JDTC) Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Initiative is run by the Justice Programs Office, a center in American University’s School of Public Affairs, in partnership with the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). With this funding, the JDTC TTA Initiative will provide JDTCs access to local, regional, and online training and technical assistance on topics such as the roles and responsibilities of treatment team members, adolescent brain development, engaging families, addressing racial and ethnic disparities, gender- and culturally-responsive treatment, and opiate use disorder in juveniles and their families.

“With the release of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Guidelines less than a year ago, the juvenile drug treatment court field is in a really exciting time of transition,” said Kim Ball, director of the Justice Programs Office. “Receiving this supplemental funding allows the Justice Programs Office to continue to guide the field in this new direction and help JDTCs build themselves into stronger, more effective programs that can provide needed support and resources for youth and their families.” 

JDTCs hold tremendous, yet often unrealized, potential to help youth with substance use disorders cease drug use and receive the educational, social, and emotional support needed to become productive adults. To be most effective, JDTCs need training and technical assistance to align both their policies and practices with the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Guidelines recommendations, which offer evidence-based, developmentally-appropriate, and treatment-oriented approaches to improving outcomes for youth in JDTCs.

“Working with the Justice Programs Office to help Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts align their practices with OJJDP’s Guidelines has been most rewarding. NADCP is pleased to expand and extend its work with JPO to improve the lives of youth with substance use disorders and their families,” said Terrence Walton, chief operating officer of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

As part of this new funding, the JDTC TTA Initiative will work with Reclaiming Futures and The W. Haywood Burns Institute for Justice Fairness & Equity to develop and deliver specialized and comprehensive training and technical assistance programming designed to assist JDTCs in their efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities along a set of key behavioral health decision points and in alignment with the goals of the Guidelines.

“Implementing OJJDP’s Guidelines offer a great opportunity to address racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, and our team at Reclaiming Futures is excited to collaborate with JPO to improve outcomes for justice-involved youth of color,” stated Evan Elkin, the executive director of Reclaiming Futures.

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