The juvenile drug court system has been a pioneer in providing intervention, treatment, and structure to youth involved in substance abuse and delinquency. To fully realize the vision of the juvenile drug court, OJJDP realized that work was needed to develop additional capacity to provide treatment services and retool the service infrastructure so that it can accommodate the volume and complexity of cases in partnership with communities. In 2007, OJJDP entered into a partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation enhance the capacity of states, state courts, local courts, units of local government, and Indian tribal governments to serve substance-abusing juvenile offenders by developing and establishing juvenile drug courts adopting the Reclaiming Futures model. In June of 2007, OJJDP issued a solicitation inviting communities to propose the implementation of a juvenile drug court program committed to integrating the Reclaiming Futures model with best practices in substance abuse treatment. OJJDP awarded a total of $1.275 million over 4 years to three jurisdictions in Greene County, MO, Hocking County, OH, and the New York State Unified Court System to implement the program. In 2009, awards totaling $1.275 million were provided to the Colorado Judicial Department in Denver, Colorado, the Superior Court of the County of Ventura in California, and Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, Oklahoma for a four year period, and in 2010 up to $1.275 million was provided to Travis County, Texas, Hardin County, Ohio, and Snohomish County, Washington to implement the program.
The goal of the program is to build the capacity of states, state courts, local courts, units of local government, and Indian tribal governments to develop and establish juvenile drug courts adopting the Reclaiming Futures model for justice-involved youth who are abusing substances.
Applicants presented descriptions of their current or planned juvenile drug court programs in accordance with the guidelines offered in the Bureau of Justice Assistance publication Juvenile Drug Courts: Strategies in Practice. Applicants described elements that were in place or would be to achieve an effective juvenile drug court program and further described how the Reclaiming Futures model would enhance those elements. For example, collaborative planning is a significant strategy that is required for an effective juvenile drug court. An effective juvenile drug court is implemented with relevant stakeholders that have been a part of the initial process and the development and maintenance of collaboratives and community partnerships that support plans for the youth participants. Other significant strategies for effective juvenile drug courts include identifying the target population, screening, proper assessments, drug testing, and incentives and sanctions.
The Reclaiming Futures model embodies three essential elements: designing a system of care that coordinates services, involving the community in creating new opportunities, and improving treatment services for drug and alcohol use. Emphasis will be placed on screening and assessments, and training and technical assistance will be provided in the effective use of screening and assessment tools. The integration of the juvenile drug court and Reclaiming Futures models should enable communities to identify substance abusing youth, match them with appropriate treatment options, and deliver services through a coalition of providers working under the guidance of a local court.