Perceived and Actual Knowledge Gain among Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Team Members: A Pre-Post Analysis of On-Site Training and Technical Assistance

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Juvenile drug treatment courts (JDTCs), in large part, are a product of the therapeutic jurisprudence movement. When they were established in 1993 in the U.S., JDTCs were initially modeled after adult drug treatment courts but insufficiently addressed unique characteristics of adolescence. In 2003, recommended practices, known as the 16 Strategies, for JDTCs working with adolescent offenders with substance use disorders were introduced to the field by the National Drug Court Institute (NDCI) and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ). Recently, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the American Institute of Research (AIR), proposed a set of evidence-based, recommended practices outlined in the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Guidelines (JDTC Guideline). However, little research examines the effectiveness of training and technical assistance on recommended, evidence-based practices for JDTC teams. The current study uses a pre/post-training survey design to examine perceived and actual knowledge gain of JDTC practitioners who receive targeted training and technical assistance on recommended practices for JDTCs. The data demonstrate significantly higher perceived knowledge gain, post-training, on the topics of recommended practice (as outlined in the 16 Strategies and JDTC Guidelines). Implications are discussed.

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