NCJFCJ’s Juvenile Drug Court Learning Collaborative

NCJFCJ pic

NCJFCJ
Image: ncjfcj.org

A former judge of the Alameda County Superior Court, in Oakland, California, Paul Seeman has been deeply involved with juvenile concerns such as serving as chair of the Alameda County Collaborative Juvenile Court and establishing the Alameda County Juvenile Dependency Drug Court. Paul Seeman also served as chair of the international committee of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ).

Founded by a group of judges to enhance the delivery of services in the juvenile and family courts, NCJFCJ is a national judicial membership association. Since its establishment in 1937, the organization has established a solid track record of influencing positive changes in these courts. It receives funding from federal and state sources.

One of NCJFCJ’s initiative is the Juvenile Drug Court Learning Collaborative. This multi-year project involves juvenile treatment drug courts (JDCs) who desire among others to build capacity, implement appropriate program improvements, initiate strategic planning, help sustain programs and evaluate program performance. These JDCs or sites become the model for system change.

NCJFCJ selects the sites that can participate. These sites obtain ongoing coaching as well as training to institute meaningful changes to existing practices that will eventually lead to improved outcomes for the families and youths they serve. The results can be shared with other JDCs throughout the country.

Functioning since October 2014, there are currently 18 sites participating in the project. Funding comes from grants awarded by the Office of Juvenile Delinquency and Prevention, a federal agency.

An Overview of Collaborative Justice Courts

Alameda Collaborative Juvenile Court pic

Alameda Collaborative Juvenile Court
Image: bhcs.co.alameda.ca.us

An experienced legal professional based in California, Paul Seeman most recently served Alameda County Superior Court as a judge. In this capacity, Paul Seeman chaired the Alameda County Collaborative Juvenile Court.

A common institution in the California court system, collaborative justice courts are often referred to as problem-solving courts. Using a combination of rehabilitation services and judicial oversight, collaborative justice courts focus on improving offender outcomes and reducing recidivism. Common examples of collaborative justice courts include DUI courts, domestic violence courts, veterans courts, and community courts.

As their name implies, collaborative justice courts involve collaboration in the decision-making process. They also allow for direct communication between defendants and the judge, who can take on a much more proactive role compared with traditional courts.

Collaborative justice courts seek to integrate social and treatment services, which are closely monitored by the judicial system. The court typically adheres to a predetermined strategy when responding to compliance issues involving the participant. In many cases, the court works closely with community organizations and public agencies to improve the effectiveness of the program.