Juvenile Drug Court Aftercare Program
Angela R. Shroyer, Juvenile Drug Court Coordinator
County Courts Building, Room 405
401 Bosley Avenue
Towson, MD 21204
The Juvenile Drug Court Aftercare program in Baltimore County is available to juveniles who have an extensive history of substance abuse problems who are re-entering the community from a long-term out of home residential placement. The goal of this program is to help youth achieve total abstinence from alcohol and other drugs through a method called “coerced abstinence.” This method combines an array of component services, including: (1) graduated sanctions, with linkages and cooperative programming to the Court, (2) involvement of the State’s Attorney’s Office, (3) smaller Juvenile Counselor caseloads for intensified supervision, (4) relapse prevention counseling, (5) life skills programming, and (6) immediate court intervention.
Operating historically under the names of Break-The-Cycle Early program from 2000-2003 and the Substance Abuse Re-Entry Network ("SARN") from 2003-2004, this ongoing Juvenile Drug Court ("JDC") program provides intensive aftercare services to juveniles with a demonstrated history of substance abuse. At the same time, the program also helps integrate these youth back into their homes and communities.
The Aftercare program is an alternative to cyclical residential placement—i.e., youth achieving abstinence while detained in residential placement, but once released, return to their habitual, addicted ways, ultimately requiring residential placement again. By providing enhanced clinical services and constant supervision for a minimum of 6 months, the program increases the chances that the juveniles will learn, obtain, and maintain a substance-free lifestyle in their home environment.
The Aftercare program aims to create safer communities and promote stable re-entry into the community by reducing delinquency and substance abusing behavior through intensive treatments, aftercare, court supervision and drug testing for eligible juvenile offenders. This will be accomplished in a non-adversarial “strength based” environment designed to support the participant and his/her family by utilizing community resources.
Who is Eligible for the Program?
The program has a capacity of 25 youth, per year. Eligible youth for the JDC Aftercare Program fall under three (3) specific categories:
- Youth who are on Aftercare supervision, who are participating in or completed an inpatient substance abuse program and who are in need of intensive substance abuse services. Youth may exhibit signs and symptoms of extensive substance abuse involvement, but have charges that are not substance abuse in nature.
- Youth who have a history of substance abuse problems and who have been committed to the Department of Juvenile Services for placement at the following facilities.
- Mountain Manor
- Jackson Unit (Finan)
- Schaefer House
- Catoctin Summit
- Meadow Mountain (Y.C.)
- Morningstar Academy
- Good Shepherd, upon release with substance abuse issues
- Youth deemed ineligible for the Juvenile Drug Court program because they have been adjudicated delinquent for a violent offense.
The JDC Aftercare Program has proven to be a necessary asset to the continuum of care of juveniles in Baltimore County, as it provides treatment and supervision at an appropriate level to an at-risk, troubled population of adolescents. Services at this level are otherwise not readily available to this population of youth in Baltimore County without the existence of this program.
Juvenile Drug Court Aftercare participation is modeled on a six month program consisting of two phases.
Phase One: There are six tasks that a youth in the Aftercare program must successfully complete before permission to enter the next phase is granted. They are as follows:
- Complete life skills counseling workshops and job readiness training. Girls referred to Gambaru may be exempt from the life skills workshop on a case by case basis because Gambaru has its on life skills training. This program is designed for an eight week duration and will be provided by the Department of Juvenile Services.
- Remain drug and alcohol free for a minimum of 45 consecutive days.
- Must have or must actively be trying to acquire a job or be enrolled in school to acquire a diploma, GED, or vocational degree.
- Attend all drug addiction counseling, implemented on an individual basis.
- Assisted by an Aftercare counselor, all youth are required to develop an individual work plan for completion of the Aftercare program that establishes the final goal of acquiring employment or enrolling in school.
- Attend additional counseling as directed if diagnosed with a disorder previously undiagnosed.
The expected completion of Phase One is two (2) months, although on average, the completion time is within three (3) months.
Phase Two: There are four components for successful completion of Phase Two of the treatment process. The tasks are as follows:
- Successfully complete Anger Management sessions with their Transitional Life skills Counselor from First Step. Minimums of four sessions are required, although additional sessions may be required on an individual basis.
- Complete a mandatory community service activity, as directed by the Department of Juvenile Services. A minimum 25-hour service commitment is required of each participant.
- Continue to sustain abstinence from drug and alcohol use and continue substantive abuse relapse prevention sessions. A minimum of 60 consecutive days abstinence is required for completion of this phase.
- Review progress of the work plan developed in Phase One, continue to seek employment and academic opportunities and continue any necessary life skill workshops.
The expected completion of Phase Two is three (3) months. The total expected completion time of the Aftercare program is six (6) months. However, incorporating potential relapses and other unforeseen occurrence, attendees proposed an expected completion time of nine (9) to twelve (12) months.
Incentives And Sanctions
Program incentives are one component of the Aftercare plan. Incentives are intended to reinforce positive change. They also reward individuals who achieve and maintain treatment goals. Incentives can be awarded at a formal court review, or in the discretion of the treatment team.
The primary goal of the JDC Aftercare program is to address treatment needs and prepare youth for life beyond the Juvenile Justice system. From time to time, the approach to treatment for a particular candidate may need to be modified to accommodate a treatment need. A change in the intensity of treatment services is not a sanction, and should not be viewed as punitive. Sanctions are, however, an integral part of the Aftercare program.
Sanctions are known punitive consequences for unacceptable behaviors. Since participants are likely to make better decisions when they are aware that there are swift and certain consequences for poor decision-making and behaviors. Sanctions serve to discourage undesirable behaviors thereby reinforcing the desired behaviors.
- Verbal commendation
- Early movement to next treatment phase
- Decreased reporting
- More liberal curfew or decreased restrictions
- Essay or Group Presentation on Investment in the Aftercare program
- Community Service
- Verbal Warning to be posted in treatment chart and increased drug testing
- Community Detention and mandatory conference between family, treatment counselor, and Juvenile Probation Officer
- Written paper describing group rule infraction to be turned in by next group meeting
- Curfew modification
- Electronic monitoring
- Weekend detention in respite bed
- Increased reporting or attendance
- Movement back to a former treatment phase
- Detention or Shelter
- Violation of Probation
All members of the JDC Aftercare team will meet with each program participant and their family members at monthly review hearings held before the presiding JDC Aftercare program Judge. At that time, progress reports will be presented on each participant in the program. The juvenile counselor assigned to the program will prepare a progress report on the following activities of the participant:
- Attendance at school or GED Program
- Status of home environment
- Curfew checks
- Employment status (if applicable)
- General behavior and associations
- Any subsequent delinquent behavior
- Reporting to the counselor
- Community service
- Community detention (with or without anklet)
The counselor assigned to the program will prepare a progress report that addresses these items, as appropriate:
- Urinalysis and/or breathalyzer testing
- Attendance at individual or group counseling
- Status of residential treatment & aftercare
- Attendance at other required meetings
- Abstinence from drugs and alcohol
At the review hearing, the presiding juvenile judge will review the progress with the participant and his/her family. Positive behavior will be commended by the judge, and reinforced with available incentives, such as decreased supervision, movement to the next program phase, and rewards such as pins or corporate incentive rewards. Negative behaviors will also be reviewed.
Completion and Termination
The Juvenile Drug Court Aftercare program committee agreed that the program would utilize the following terminology to distinguish between the different circumstances under which a youth will be terminated from the program:
- Successful Completion: The participant successfully completes Phase One and Phase Two of the Aftercare program.
- Satisfactory Completion of Probation/After Care: The participant satisfactorily completes some, but not all of the requirements of Phase One and/or Phase Two and the youth has received the maximum possible benefit from program participation. A member of the Aftercare team may recommend this category of termination to the court for final approval. One example of a satisfactory completion would be a youth who relapses and, at age 18, is admitted to Right Turn of Maryland where he/she successfully completes an in-patient program. Upon discharge and recommendation, with court approval, the youth could be terminated under this designation.
- Unsatisfactory Completion: The participant fails to complete Phase One and Phase Two of the Aftercare program, repeatedly violates probation, and/or has a new adjudication.
A Review team member may recommend termination under any termination category that he/she deems appropriate. Termination is subject to court approval.
Revised May 9, 2013