Yolo County Juvenile Drug Court

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See also: Juvenile Justice System & Youth for Recovery

Location
Yolo County Superior Court - Department 12
275 First Street, Woodland, CA 95695
Website
[WWW]http://www.yolo.courts.ca.gov/DrugCourt/

The Yolo County Juvenile Drug Court is a Court-supervised multi-agency program employing the 10 Key Foundational Components for Drug Courts, which includes the Probation Dept., Communicare Health Centers, Yolo County Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Dept., and other community resources. It is a Court, so the District Attorney and Public Defender/Defense Counsel also are involved. School personnel where the juvenile attends school is also an important player.

The process begins with the arrest and adjudication of the teen and where confinement (juvenile hall, etc.) is a possibility. The teen is given a choice to participate in the Drug Court program instead. In some instances, the juvenile is court-ordered to the program.

A Probation Officer meets with the juvenile and the parents for an interview to assess suitability for participation. If deemed appropriate, the juvenile is referred to Youth for Recovery for screening and a subsequent assessment. The assessment is done solely to gather information to determine levels of services needed and to develop a treatment plan. Juveniles accepted into the program either do the After-school program or Day Treatment program. The Judge is required to make the final determination as to suitability and acceptance to the Drug Court program, but Youth for Recovery will start the juvenile on the their treatment program before any Court hearing is done.

In addition to the Youth for Recovery program requirements, Drug Court participants also have weekly Drug Court appearances. In addition, the juvenile is supervised by a Probation Officer, which includes unannounced home visits for search of the area under the control of the juvenile. A curfew is imposed (10:00 pm or earlier depending on the recommendation of the Probation Officer). Perfect attendance and good behavior at all Court hearings, YFR meetings and school is required. If poor behavior (including poor academic progress) is reported anywhere, then sanctions may be imposed. Sanctions can be anything from having to write an essay to an order to spend time in juvenile hall. Lack of progress can result in termination from Drug Court and the juvenile is returned to Juvenile Court for full enforcement of their sentence.

Due to laws that require the identity and privacy of juveniles to be protected, parents and participants are required to sign a statement authorizing the release of confidential treatment information to the Drug Court, specifically information on attendance and results of drug tests are required and progress reports are desired. Also required is a signed waiver allowing other participants to be present at the Court Hearings. Everyone scheduled for a hearing attends together and stays for the entire time which can take up to 2 hours. The Drug Court is very sensitive to the confidential nature of some information that is discussed in the Court and care is taken to discuss more sensitive issues in a more private way, i.e. sidebars with the Judge that are out of earshot of the general public. Hearings for juvenile Drug Court are on Friday afternoons at 2:00 pm, so if a child is participating, parents will need to arrange to get off work to attend with their child.

Summer - As a participant in the Juvenile Drug Court program, you are required to have summer plans which include working (minimum of 20 hours per week, either paid or volunteer), summer school or other planned activities. Family vacations, camps, etc. can also be included in the summer plan - though scheduling these types of activities is difficult due to the scheduling demands of the program, the requirement that youth on probation usually have to be at their legal residence or with a legal guardian at night, and the requirement that the student hold down a part-time job. Additionally, any missed group meetings only lengthens the duration of the program as time in each phase is measured in group meetings attended. At best, the family can try to avoid feeling trapped in Davis by going on short day trips to regional venues - rafting, bike rides, Marine World, state and county fairs, etc. Forget that week-long annual family camping trip or your child attending Scout/Sport/music camp. Summer plans are reviewed by the Judge at the beginning of summer. Juveniles in the Day Treatment program meet 3 hours per day at the John H. Jones clinic in Woodland to continue their program during the summer break.

To graduate, participants must be clean and sober for a minimum of 6 months & complete the 4 phases of their treatment. Graduates of the Juvenile Drug Court program may be rewarded with a reduction of their sentence, including dismissal of charges if deemed appropriate by the Court. It is noted that the program is not easy to complete. The graduation rate for the program is only 18% (1 child out of 5 children graduate). Failure to complete is considered a violation of probation, or, if adjudication has been deferred, failure to complete diversion. Parents should go into the program with the understanding that chances are they will not complete and eventually may be given more severe probation requirements or a period of confinement by the Court. Only children who are heavy drug users, beyond parental control and in need intervention and treatment should participate in Juvenile Drug Court.

The program is a minimum of 8 months long. Families should expect their child to be in the program for sometimes up to a year or two. All participants are made wards of the Court and parents are generally excluded from drug court team discussions and decisions.

Former Judges for the Yolo County Juvenile Drug Court have been Honorable Doris Shockley, Honorable David Rosenberg (until 7/3/2006), and Honorable Steven Basha (until 12/31/2006) and Commissioner Paul K. Richardson.

Currently, Judge Gaar presides over the court's specialty calendar, including Adult/Juvenile Drug Court and domestic violence cases (3/2008)

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