Article

Juvenile drug court: Enhancing outcomes by integrating evidence-based treatments.

Family Services Research Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (Impact Factor: 4.85). 03/2006; 74(1):42-54. DOI: 10.1037/0022-006X.74.1.42
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Evaluated the effectiveness of juvenile drug court for 161 juvenile offenders meeting diagnostic criteria for substance abuse or dependence and determined whether the integration of evidence-based practices enhanced the outcomes of juvenile drug court. Over a 1-year period, a four-condition randomized design evaluated outcomes for family court with usual community services, drug court with usual community services, drug court with multisystemic therapy, and drug court with multisystemic therapy enhanced with contingency management for adolescent substance use, criminal behavior, symptomatology, and days in out-of-home placement. In general, findings supported the view that drug court was more effective than family court services in decreasing rates of adolescent substance use and criminal behavior. Possibly due to the greatly increased surveillance of youths in drug court, however, these relative reductions in antisocial behavior did not translate to corresponding decreases in rearrest or incarceration. In addition, findings supported the view that the use of evidence-based treatments within the drug court context improved youth substance-related outcomes. Clinical and policy implications of these findings are discussed.

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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this article is to examine the effectiveness of 2 theoretically different treatments delivered in juvenile drug court-family therapy represented by multidimensional family therapy (MDFT) and group-based treatment represented by adolescent group therapy (AGT)-on offending and substance use. Intent-to-treat sample included 112 youth enrolled in juvenile drug court (primarily male [88%], and Hispanic [59%] or African American [35%]), average age 16.1 years, randomly assigned to either family therapy (n = 55) or group therapy (n = 57). Participants were assessed at baseline and 6, 12, 18 and 24 months following baseline. During the drug court phase, youth in both treatments showed significant reduction in delinquency (average d = .51), externalizing symptoms (average d = 2.32), rearrests (average d = 1.22), and substance use (average d = 4.42). During the 24-month follow-up, family therapy evidenced greater maintenance of treatment gains than group-based treatment for externalizing symptoms (d = 0.39), commission of serious crimes (d = .38), and felony arrests (d = .96). There was no significant difference between the treatments with respect to substance use or misdemeanor arrests. The results suggest that family therapy enhances juvenile drug court outcomes beyond what can be achieved with a nonfamily based treatment, especially with respect to what is arguably the primary objective of juvenile drug courts: reducing criminal behavior and rearrests. More research is needed on the effectiveness of juvenile drug courts generally and on whether treatment type and family involvement influence outcomes. Trial Registry Name: Clinical Trials.gov, Identified NCT01668303. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
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