Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $5,988,057)
The purpose of the OJJDP Initiative to Develop and Test Guidelines for Juvenile Drug Courts is to establish guidelines that will continue to improve the performance and capacity of juvenile drug courts across the nation to better serve youth with substance abuse (and co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders). Through two phases, this initiative will identify research-informed juvenile drug court and treatment practices, develop and disseminate guidelines for juvenile drug courts, test the impact of the guidelines to inform the improvement and advancement juvenile drug courts, and modify the guidelines, as appropriate. The long-term goal of this initiative is to improve the quality and effectiveness of juvenile drug courts. OJJDP will enter into a cooperative agreement with the successful applicant to implement this initiative in two phases.
Phase 1 will focus on the development and dissemination of research-informed guidelines to enhance what is known about effective court, treatment and coordination practices to improve juvenile drug courts nationally. Phase 2 will identify key questions to determine what types of research will be most valuable to inform ongoing efforts to develop an effective juvenile drug court (based on the guidelines developed in Phase 1) and address gaps in the research about factors that may impact the implementation of the guidelines, test these research questions, and modify the guidelines, as appropriate.
The American Institutes for Research (AIR), in partnership with Vanderbilt University's Peabody Research Institute (PRI), the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University (GMU), WestEd, and the Court Centered Change Network (CCCN), proposes to lead OJJDP's Initiative to Develop and Test Guidelines for Juvenile Drug Courts (JDCs). The project will incorporate knowledge collected through meta-analysis, implementation science, and practitioner and participant feedback to provide a better understanding of the core components of JDC program effectiveness. The project will include a test of those components in the real world, with the end result being a set of structured performance-based standards for local jurisdictions. The project looks to impact youth, younger than age 18, who come to the attention of the juvenile justice system through drug-related offenses. The expected outcomes are a descriptive and analytic summary of the research conducted on JDCs and related EBPs, gaps in that research, patterns of evidence about the effectiveness of these interventions, and characteristics associated with differential effects. Results will provide directions for future research and guidance for JDC stakeholders.