Staff Perspectives on Juvenile Drug Court Operations
A Multi-Site Qualitative Study
Amy A. Mericle, Steven Belenko, David Festinger, Jaymes Fairfax-Columbo, Michael R. McCart
Criminal Justice Policy Review
Substance use is pervasive among youth, particularly among those involved in the juvenile justice system. Juvenile drug courts (JDCs) are a promising approach for delinquent youth with substance abuse issues. However, research regarding JDCs has shown inconsistent effects, and little is known about the specific components associated with positive outcomes. The current study examines data from interviews of JDC judges and team member focus groups in six JDCs from two contiguous southeastern states to identify stakeholders’ perceptions about what places youth at risk for involvement in JDC and the factors that may contribute to successful outcomes. In addition, we examine these stakeholders’ perceptions of the strengths and challenges facing their JDCs. Our findings highlight the importance of parents and specific strategies implemented by JDCs in influencing the outcomes of youth in JDCs and the importance of interagency collaboration and access to treatment and community resources for the overall success of JDCs.