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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
March/April 2009, Volume 17, Number 2 

Funding for Juvenile Drug Courts

Collaborative Effort Helps Potential Grantees

“A drug court is only as good as the treatment program, so it made sense for us to partner with SAMHSA, said Gwen Williams, M.S.W., a program manager at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) within the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). “Each Agency brings its own strengths to the table.”

SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and DOJ are working together now on an interagency collaboration that includes funding to expand existing juvenile drug courts. (See grant for details.)

A juvenile drug court is a special docket that aims to rehabilitate rather than punish nonviolent substance-abusing youth, explained Randolph D. Muck, M.Ed., Chief of CSAT’s Targeted Populations Branch. Each grantee will receive two awards, with CSAT funding the treatment component and OJJDP funding the court component.

While the two Agencies have jointly funded drug courts before, they did so by transferring money to each other. “Now we’ll be working together in a more seamless fashion,” Mr. Muck said.

It’s not just Federal agencies that are collaborating. CSAT and OJJDP issued the request for applications in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). RWJF will fund technical assistance and training as grantees use the RWJF-supported “Reclaiming Futures” model.

That model advocates for providing more substance abuse treatment in the juvenile justice system, improving treatment, and moving beyond treatment to help families and communities support young people.

“At the local level, we need to get our substance abuse and mental health programs working very closely with our juvenile justice providers to get kids up and out of that system as fast as possible,” explained Laura Burney Nissen, Ph.D., M.S.W., National Program Director for RWJF’s Reclaiming Futures and an associate professor of social work at Portland State University in Portland, OR. “This partnership is the Federal version of what we’re trying to do at the local level.”

This joint solicitation is just the beginning, emphasized Kenneth W. Robertson, Team Leader of Criminal Justice Programs in CSAT’s Targeted Populations Branch. “The next goal is to bring the same level of collaboration to the adult drug court arena,” he said.


CSAT’s relationship with the Department of Justice goes back a long time, Mr. Robertson explained. But when the Office of Management and Budget reviewed CSAT and BJA’s drug court portfolios, it recommended that the two Agencies find ways to work together even more closely.

“The review’s purpose was to look at federally funded programs and determine if those programs are effective and cost-effective,” said Mr. Robertson. The review found CSAT’s portfolio to be effective to a degree, he said, but it also recommended that the two Agencies could do more to eliminate any duplication of efforts.

To do that, CSAT, BJA, and its OJJDP, took action. They created a working group focused on program coordination and signed a memorandum of understanding laying down a philosophical framework for joint work. And in March 2009, they issued a joint request for applications to expand substance abuse treatment capacity in juvenile drug courts.

“Working together, we can do more to help individuals turn their lives around. Everybody deserves that chance,” said Mr. Robertson.

Previously in SAMHSA News

Helping Young Offenders Return to Communities

Incarceration vs. Treatment: Drug Courts Help Substance Abusing Offenders

Treatment in Lieu of Jail: Diversion Succeeds

  Cover Story & Related Articles  
Treatment as an Alternative to Jail

Treatment as an Alternative to Jail & Related Articles


Funding Opportunities

Requests for applications include a variety of new grants including Project Launch.

Awards for Suicide Prevention

Awards for Suicide Prevention

Symbolic “big checks” were presented to six organizations.

  Underage Drinking  
Underage Drinking: Related Articles

Underage Drinking: Related Articles

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Find out what you can do to help prevent and reduce drinking by teens and college students.

  Building Awareness  
Inhalants Often “First”

Inhalants Often “First”

News of recent deaths from sniffing refrigerants.

Are Prevention Messages Working?

Are Prevention Messages Working?

We’ve heard the commercials urging parents to talk. Are teens getting the message?

American Indians, Alaska Natives

American Indians, Alaska Natives

“Culture Card” offers information on tribal sovereignty, myths & facts, and more.

  Mental Health  

Economy: Help in Tough Times

You can’t see stress, but you certainly can feel it. A new SAMHSA Web site offers resources, referrals, and more.

States, IT, and Mental Health Services

States, IT, and Mental Health Services

A recent report gives a state-by-state update on information technology’s effect.

Lifeline on Twitter

Lifeline on Twitter

“Tweets” from the Nat’l Suicide Prevention Lifeline help awareness.

  Treatment Roundup  

Admissions, Facilities, & More

Recent data from two SAMHSA surveys – National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) and Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) – provide updated information.

DVD Kit on Homelessness

DVD Kit on Homelessness

Programs in Seattle and Philadelphia are two success stories highlighted in this DVD.

Recovery Month

Recovery Month

Send your press releases, studies, and news on recovery for posting on the site.

  Staff in the News  
Kana Enomoto Honored

Kana Enomoto Honored

Deputy Administrator receives the inaugural King Davis Award for Emerging Leadership.

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