West Virginia Judiciary

Juvenile Drug Court

 

Juvenile Drug Court

The West Virginia Juvenile Drug Court Program is a cooperative effort of the juvenile justice, social service, law enforcement, and education systems in the state. This program seeks to divert non-violent juvenile offenders exhibiting alcohol or substance abuse behavior from the traditional juvenile court process to an intensive, individualized treatment process. The goal is to reduce future court involvement for these youth.

On any given day in West Virginia, approximately 7,000 youths are under some form of court-ordered diversion program or supervision by a probation officer. Annual West Virginia juvenile probation reports demonstrate that controlled-substance violations are the third-largest category of offenses charged. This fact is the motivating reason behind the development of juvenile drug courts in West Virginia. In 1999, the first drug court in West Virginia was piloted in Sixth Judicial Circuit (Cabell County) through U.S. Department of Justice grant funds and U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration treatment funds. This juvenile drug court operated on grant funding for approximately four years and was re-established in July of 2007.

Juvenile Drug Courts are initiated through legislative funds, grant funds, and other funds made available to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Administrative Office. Counties selected for juvenile drug courts have demonstrated support from their county, including their circuit judges. They also have sufficient juvenile case loads and substance abuse indicator data to support the programs.

 

Juvenile Drug Court Model

West Virginia is dedicated to developing, enhancing and coordinating new and existing community services to address the specific needs of substance-abusing youth through a comprehensive approach involving the judicial and educational systems and prevention and treatment programs systems. The juvenile drug court process includes intensive out-patient drug and alcohol treatment, intensive probation case management, compliance monitoring and family involvement.

The objectives of juvenile drug court are to improve the youth's general functioning by reducing internal and external problems and to increase family self-sufficiency and ability to cope with life’s difficulties.

The juvenile drug court protocol was developed and is updated through a consensus with juvenile drug court team members and West Virginia Supreme Court Administrative Office Probation Division staff to best meet the treatment needs of participants and families while providing the supervision by the Court. The program is structured in four phases, with the last phase being graduation. The average program length is 8.5 months but varies according to a youth’s treatment needs.

Map of Juvenile Drug Court Programs

Juvenile Drug Court Research Update

Exploring the Evidence - The Value of Juvenile Drug Courts