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Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Guidelines

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention


The goal of the Initiative to Develop Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Guidelines is to synthesize all of the evidence from juvenile drug treatment courts (JDTCs) to determine the implementation components associated with the best outcomes and to supplement this understanding with research from related fields and interventions serving the same target population. To understand specific outcomes from JDTC programs, the research team identified 46 randomized and well-controlled quasi-experimental evaluation studies that reported on the effects of JDTCs compared to traditional juvenile court processing and used research synthesis techniques to examine implementation characteristics and outcomes related to recidivism (for delinquent offenses and drug offenses) and drug use outcomes across these studies. The results indicated that, overall, JDTCs were no more or less effective than traditional juvenile court processing for reducing recidivism or drug use. However, the quality of the evidence from these studies was seen as a limitation in drawing firm conclusions on the effectiveness of JDTCs, a finding consistent with previous research on JDTCs and seen in the supplemental study that looked at interventions from related youth-serving fields.

Despite the need to improve the quality and rigor of JDTC and other adolescent treatment studies, the authors identified common implementation themes associated with more positive JDTC outcomes. Many of these themes align with previous research reported in the drug treatment and juvenile justice literature and are consistent with research on effective adolescent interventions from the fields of child welfare, public health, and education. A panel of experts with experience in JDTC settings and individuals working in and with JDTCs across the country who participated in a series of public webinar listening sessions approved these implementation themes. After refining the research themes with feedback through these critical stakeholders, the authors developed the following research-based and practice-informed guidelines (the full report is available here.)

To access the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Guidelines, click here


North America - United States

Year Language

2016 English

Category Type

Grey Literature Report


Drug, Intervention, Juridical, Treatment

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  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

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  • Head Office: Rue Armand Campenhout, nº 72 bte 10. 1050. Brussels. Belgium

    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

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