January 2003

Grant Results

SUMMARY

The National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) developed a project to track substance abuse assessment, treatment and aftercare services within the juvenile justice system. NCJJ is the research arm of the National Council of Family and Juvenile Court Judges (in Reno, Nev.), which seeks to serve children by improving juvenile and family courts.

The juvenile court is uniquely positioned to contribute to collaborative community efforts for a comprehensive range of intervention and treatment services. These integrated treatment networks — with a juvenile justice focus — are promising strategies for early intervention of substance abuse problems of juvenile offenders, some 80 percent of whom have such problems. However, no national data source has existed that could track the amount and the type of substance abuse services that have been available through juvenile justice systems.

To develop a baseline survey instrument that would provide this information about juvenile courts and probation agencies, NCJJ organized an expert panel meeting entitled "Force Field Analysis Workshop." Seventeen representatives of juvenile probation, drug courts, and alcohol and drug treatment programs attended the meeting held in Pittsburgh, Pa., April 17–18, 2001. (See the Appendix for a list of panel members.)

Participants identified critical issues related to developing effective linkages between the juvenile courts and alcohol and drug treatment networks, including forces that drive the linkages — such as judicial leadership and public safety — and those that restrain them — such as a lack of funding and competence in substance abuse issues. Based on the panel's findings, NCJJ designed a 41-question survey with 123 items in categories that included:

  1. substance abuse screening and assessment practices
  2. availability and accessibility of substance abuse treatment services
  3. factors that influence probation department decisions to refer youth to treatment
  4. probation department characteristics.

NCJJ mailed the survey to chief juvenile probation officers, or their equivalent, representing 329 counties; this included all counties with a population of one million or more, a random sampling of smaller counties and an oversampling of those with populations from 250,000 to 999,999 people. The response rate was 70 percent (or 231 people).

Key Findings

  • Probation departments do not screen all youths; they are most likely to screen those who are referred to juvenile court on a drug-related charge or have a known history of substance abuse.
  • Most agencies report having specialized staff or training to facilitate the identification, the assessment, the treatment or the referral of court-involved youth for treatment.
  • Respondents perceive alcohol, marijuana and cocaine as the drugs most commonly abused by those youths involved with juvenile courts.
  • Respondents perceive available treatment resources as age-appropriate and individualized, but not as sensitive to culture, gender or to meeting the multiple needs of the youths.
  • Early intervention and outpatient services are more likely than inpatient services to accept, be affordable and have sufficient treatment slots for those youths involved with juvenile courts.
  • Most juvenile court judges and juvenile court agencies are supportive of drug and alcohol treatment services and actively involved in monitoring and enforcing treatment.
  • Respondents do not perceive parental involvement or community support as common features of substance abuse treatment for court-involved youth.

The survey also suggested a number of recommendations for juvenile courts in participating successfully in integrated substance abuse treatment networks. Among them are:

  1. The screening of all juveniles for alcohol and drug abuse upon referral.
  2. The encouragement of partnerships and collaboration by training staff about available treatment and intervention options.
  3. Having juvenile court, parental and community support.
  4. Individualizing treatment services.
  5. Making services accessible and affordable for those youths involved with juvenile courts.

The grantee organization detailed the results of the project in a report prepared for RWJF entitled National Survey of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers: Integrated Substance Abuse Treatment Networks. NCJJ hopes to conduct a similar survey in the future.

Funding
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funded this effort with a grant of $70,743.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

Tracking Substance Abuse Treatment Services Within the Juvenile Justice System

Grantee

The National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) (Pittsburgh,  PA)

  • Amount: $ 70,743
    Dates: February 2001 to November 2001
    ID#:  040596

Contact

Douglas Thomas
(412) 227-6950
thomas@ncjj.org

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APPENDICES


Appendix 1

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

Members of the expert panel entitled Force Field Analysis Workshop

James Allen
Administrator
The Allegheny County Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Russell Carlino
Deputy Director
The Allegheny County Juvenile Probation Department
Pittsburgh, Pa.

The Hon. Don Costello
Codirector
The Reclaiming Futures® Project
Bend, Ore.

Tony Damian
Principal Probation Officer
The Suffolk County Juvenile Probation Department
Yaphank, N.Y.

Michael Diaddigo
Director of Court Services
Cornell-Abraxas
Pittsburgh, Pa.

John Fiorillo
Consultant
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Princeton, N.J.

The Hon. Curtis Heaston
Presiding Juvenile Judge
The Cook County Juvenile Court
Chicago, IL

Katherine Kraft, Ph.D.
Program Officer
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Princeton, N.J.

Laura Nissen, Ph.D., M.S.W.
Codirector
The Reclaiming Futures Project
The Research Institute for Human Services
The Portland State University
Portland, Ore.

Dan Pompa
Court Administrator
The Lucas County Juvenile Court
Toledo, Ohio

Sandra Purcell
Media, Pa.

The Hon. James Ray
Juvenile Court Judge
The Lucas County Juvenile Court
Toledo, Ohio

Lynn Redick
Adolescent Coordinator
The Allegheny County Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Kristin Schubert
Program Associate
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Princeton, N.J.

Linda Sydney
Research Associate
The American Probation and Parole Association
Lexington, Ky.

Jeanne Walter
Community Services Supervisor
Cornell-Abraxas I
Marienville, Pa.

Christine Zak
Pittsburgh, Pa.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

Reports

The National Survey of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers: Integrated Substance Abuse Treatment Networks: Final Report. Pittsburgh, Pa.: the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ), January 2002. Report prepared for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

The National Survey of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers: Integrated Substance Abuse Treatment Networks: Summary Report. Pittsburgh, Pa.: the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ), January 2002. Report prepared for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Survey Instruments

"National Center for Juvenile Justice/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Survey of Juvenile Probation Departments." The National Center for Juvenile Justice, fielded nationally June 2001.

Sponsored Workshops

"Force Field Analysis Workshop," April 17–18, 2001, Pittsburgh, Pa. Attended by 17 representatives from juvenile probation, drug courts, and alcohol and drug treatment programs for adolescents.

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Report prepared by: Lori De Milto
Reviewed by: Janet Spencer King
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Program Officer: Katherine Kraft

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