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Louisiana Models for Change Lead Entity Holds Juvenile Drug Court Conference and Training to Celebrate 4th JDC Juvenile Drug Court Model

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Louisiana Models for Change lead entity—the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Institute for Public Health and Justice—held a conference in New Orleans on April 10, 2012, to mark the culmination of it’s grant with the University of Louisiana at Monroe, which sought, among many things, development of a 4th Judicial District Court model juvenile drug court program. The conference was also hosted by University of Louisiana at Monroe and the Louisiana Supreme Court Drug Court Office.

“The Supreme Court Drug Court Office was delighted to participate in this collaboration between MacArthur, ULM and the 4th JDC as they worked toward development of a model juvenile drug court.  With the help of MacArthur experts, the hard work of Judge Sharon Marchman and her team at the 4th JDC and the dedication of Dr. Jana Sutton and her staff at ULM, we look forward to better serving the juveniles of Louisiana who end up in our juvenile drug courts as they struggle with drug addiction and dependency issues,” Louisiana Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Kitty Kimball said.

All Louisiana juvenile drug courts were invited to the daylong conference, which was kicked off with an address by Chief Justice Kimball. Esteemed state participants included 4th Judicial District Court Judge Sharon Marchman, Dr. Jana Sutton with University of Louisiana at Monroe, Orlando Davis with Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice, as well as national experts from the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, the National Center for Juvenile Justice and the Justice Management Institute, via support from MacArthur Foundation. The event was chaired by Dr. Debra DePrato, project director for the Louisiana Models for Change Initiative and director of the LSUHSC Institute for Public Health and Justice.

“Our partnership with the MacArthur Foundation and ULM enabled the 4th JDC to work with a team of national experts and, as a result, improve our juvenile drug court program through development of a proven, research and evidence-based treatment program for youth and their families in Ouachita Parish who experience alcohol and drug-related problems,” Judge Marchman said. “We look forward to working with other juvenile drug court professionals across the state, many of whom expressed interest in replicating the model in their jurisdictions,” she said. 

In addition to the creation of a model court, the Models for Change grant to the 4th JDC also focused on creation of a strategic plan through data driven decision making for the development of continuum of care for evidence-based practices for the juvenile justice system, development and implementation of a model juvenile district attorney best practice triage screening process and identification of a best practice juvenile justice parenting model. 

 “The greatest achievement noted by each of the 4th JDC stakeholders was the collaboration among all parties involved in the court system to accomplish a best practice assessment and treatment model for the district’s juvenile drug court system, “ Dr. DePrato said. “From the district attorneys and defenders, to the juvenile judge, case managers, treatment providers and probation officers, the model is only successful through a team effort of all those involved in the system.”

The conference also included a training module for Louisiana juvenile drug court professionals to learn about the Louisiana model, role definitions and successes and challenges of the 4th JDC initiative.  

States: Louisiana