Welcome to the Baltimore County Juvenile Drug Court. This program is designed for individuals whose problems come from substance abuse and irresponsible behavior. When you choose to enter this intensely supervised treatment program, you will need to be motivated to work toward changing your lifestyle and becoming free of alcohol and drugs. This program is open to you regardless of your race, religion, sex, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability.
Table of Contents
II. Your Goals
VII. Case Management
XII. Court Review
The Baltimore County Juvenile Drug Court (BCJDC) is a court-managed drug treatment program, designed to provide a cheaper alternative to usual court actions and sentencing. This program is offered to you because you are charged with an offense and you have a problem with drugs or alcohol. If you are qualified and choose to be in this program, you must be willing to commit to the entire program. You can successfully complete the program within twelve months. Successfully completing the BCJDC program may ultimately lead to dismissal of your current charges, meaning that, the charges will be erased from your record. If you do not follow the program requirements, you could be asked to leave the BCJDC. If that happens, your charge will be referred back to the Juvenile Court for disposition.
Although the BCJDC staff will work with you on individual goals, the following are goals for every participant:
- To learn to be alcohol and drug free
- To learn better life coping skills
- To adjust to a drug free lifestyle
- To develop a non-criminal pattern of living
- To enhance employment skills through job training and school
- To attend peer support groups
- To increase social skills
- To enhance self-esteem and self-motivation
- To learn the warning signs of relapse and develop a relapse prevention plan
- To accept responsibility for money debts and learn budgeting skills
- To develop time management skills
All services are provided free of charge. There are no costs associated with participation in this program.
The Baltimore County Juvenile Drug Court Judge will review any violation of the rules. The Judge may impose sanctions if you break any of these rules:
- You must remain free of alcohol or illegal drugs at all times.
- You must attend all treatment sessions on time as scheduled.
- You must submit to all Urinalysis or Breathalyzer testing. Refusal to submit a sample for Urinalysis or Breathalyzer test will automatically serve as positive urine. The Drug Court Team will consider unusually low creatinine levels as tampering with a urine sample. These samples will be treated as positive urine.
- You must attend all Drug Court sessions on time.
- You must refrain from violence or threats of violence against peers or staff.
- You must attend school or GED classes regularly and pass all classes. If you are not in school full-time, you must be working full-time.
Positive behavior is important at all times at home, school, work and at treatment sessions. You must show respect to all members of the Drug Court Team as well as all participants in the program.
The BCJDC program provides you with the opportunity to access treatment services that fit your individual needs. Your addictions counselor will design an individualized treatment plan based on your suggestions and recommendations. In treatment, you will have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of therapeutic services in a wide range of settings. Your treatment program will include a combination of individual, group and family therapy.
Group counseling is the main treatment method. The groups will not only focus on substance use and abuse issues, but will include the following: problem recognition, coping skills, communication skills, anger management, stress management and alternative solutions to daily problems. Group counseling is important for you as a substance user because it teaches you to relate socially with others and to express yourself freely in a group situation without the aid of chemicals.
As a participant in the Juvenile Drug Court, you will be required to enroll in Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) to learn about yourself and what motivates you. This program lasts for a minimum of 12 weeks and helps you to focus on what drives you to behave in the ways you do. It will also enable you to identify your values and moral beliefs, and will attempt to challenge them.
The Phase I life skills program of the Juvenile Drug Court is a program through which you will gain, build, and apply skills to effectively function in your life and community. Cognitive skills, such as decision-making and anger management are coupled with practical skills, such as study techniques and career development to promote your future success without the support of the Juvenile Drug Court team. The series of 12 activities builds upon your skills and abilities through a peer support-driven therapeutic environment using cognitive-behavioral skill building techniques (recognition, rehearsal and application).
Urinalysis and Breathalyzer testing is an extremely important part of your treatment process. Testing promotes honesty with the therapist; you are less likely to lie about your use if you know that you are going to be tested. When you are honest about your use, your therapist is able to treat you with full knowledge of the problem. Urinalysis and Breathalyzer testing also provides an excuse not to use when placed in a situation where drugs could be offered. When you know that you are going to be tested, you are less likely to use, knowing the use will be discovered. Additionally, you will be sanctioned for every positive screen while participating in the Juvenile Drug Court.
You will be urine and Breathalyzer screened throughout the entire treatment process. You may be tested weekly or as is often as appropriate at first based on the length of time that your drug of choice usually stays in your system. If you are using water-soluble drugs such as cocaine, crack, amphetamine, methamphetamine or ecstasy (MDMA), you will be tested no more than three days apart. As you progress through the program with consistent negative testing, the frequency may decrease. The Court will have access to all drug test results, including any refusal or failures to appear for tests. The Court, DJs, or assigned substance abuse counselor may require a drug test at any time.
The goal of the Drug Court Program is to help you achieve total abstinence from alcohol, and drugs. However, a positive drug or alcohol test does not automatically exclude you from continuing in the Drug Court program. The Drug Court program recognizes that abstinence is not something that can be achieved overnight; therefore, other sanctions may be used for these slips. However, continued use may result in your removal and referral for a delinquency disposition hearing.
It is important to mention that the Court does not tolerate adulteration or dilution of specimens. If it is determined that your specimen has been adulterated in any way, this will be considered as a positive sample and you will be sanctioned.
Please also be aware that certain medications or foods can generate false positives on toxicology screenings. Please inform your addictions or juvenile counselor of any medications that you are taking and provide copies of any and all prescriptions.
Case management in the Juvenile Court will provide supervision and direction to you and your family for the entire time that you are in the program. Case management services will be an effective resource to help you satisfy all requirements with both juvenile justice and substance abuse treatment. Ultimately, case management services will result in linking you to appropriate services that will help you to meet the goals in your individual treatment plan.
The DJS case manager will be responsible for providing supervision, counseling, and monitoring. There will be a maximum of fifteen other cases assigned to your case manager. The Department of Juvenile Services case manager will talk with the addiction counselor to determine the best treatment program for you. The case manager will monitor your progress in all areas of your life. Counselors will visit you at the office and make home visits. They will visit you in school and receive school reports and school records. Additionally, the counselors will provide progress reports to the court.
You are required to attend school and pass all classes unless other agreements are made with your Drug Court Team. Staff will maintain contact with school officials to verify your attendance and progress. On-site visits will be conducted. It is your responsibility to notify Baltimore County Juvenile Drug Court staff of any absences or suspensions and to provide explanation for excused absences, tardiness and school progress.
The treatment team may require you to work and maintain a job while in the program. Community service may also be required. Staff will check work or community service hours routinely either through phone contact with the employer or copies of paycheck stubs. You will be allowed to change jobs while in the program; however, staff must be notified and give approval prior to change.
If you are required to maintain a job and lose your job while in the program, you will be given a timeframe to find another job. While searching for another job, you will be required to do community service.
You are responsible for informing your employer that you are participating in the Baltimore County Juvenile Drug Court program. You must make necessary arrangements for Court appearances, groups and meetings.
Program incentives are one part of the Juvenile Drug Court treatment plan. Incentives are intended to reinforce positive change. They also reward individuals who achieve and maintain treatment goals. The JDC team can reward incentives at a formal court review, or at their discretion.
The Juvenile Drug Court Participant Agreement allows the court to grant one or more of the following possible incentives during any review hearing to reward positive behavior and progress:
- Applause and praise
- Early movement to next treatment phase
- Decreased reporting
- More liberal curfew or decreased restrictions
- Participation in reward nights, such as sports events, miniature golf, group outings
- Gift Certificates
- Other incentives as available
Sanctions are also an integral part of the Baltimore County Drug Court Program. Sanctions are punishments for unacceptable behaviors.
Prior knowledge of the consequences is very important because we believe that you are likely to make better decisions when you are aware of consequences for poor decision-making and behaviors. Sanctions serve to discourage undesirable behaviors while reinforcing the desired behaviors.
The Juvenile Drug Court Participant Agreement allows the court to impose one or more of the following possible sanctions during any review hearing in response to any program violation:
- Essay or Group Presentation on Investment in Drug Court
- Community Service
- Verbal Warning to be posted in treatment chart and increased drug testing
- Referral to AA or NA for mandatory attendance
- 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
- Expulsion from group until conference between family, treatment counselor and Juvenile Probation Officer to resolve behavior issue
- Curfew imposition
- Electronic monitoring
- Weekend detention in respite bed
- Increased reporting or Drug Court attendance
- Inpatient treatment referral
- Movement back to a former treatment phase
- Detention in a Juvenile facility
- Removal from Juvenile Drug Court and referral back to juvenile court for disposition hearing
All members of the Juvenile Drug Court team will meet with you and your family members at review hearings held before the Juvenile Drug Court Judge. The Judge will ask you to report on your progress at each court session. The court may also ask your parent or guardian about your behavior at home. At that time, program staff will also present progress reports. The juvenile counselor assigned to the Drug Court will prepare a progress report on the following activities:
- 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 addictions counselor assigned to the Drug Court will prepare a progress report that addresses these items, as appropriate:
- Urinalysis or breathalyzer testing
- Attendance at individual or group counseling
- Status of residential treatment and aftercare
- Attendance at AA or NA 12 step meetings
- Abstinence from drugs and alcohol
At the review hearing, the juvenile Judge will review the progress with you and your family. The judge will praise positive behavior. Available incentives (decreased supervision, movement to the next program phase and rewards such as pins or corporate incentive rewards) will be given. Negative behaviors will also be reviewed.
When program sanctions are needed, the juvenile judge must first determine whether you have committed a violation. The drug court team will review information about your behavior, and you will be given an opportunity to explain or comment on the behavior in question. This review process will be conducted informally. Formal rules of evidence do not apply. You will have the right to have an attorney at all review hearings. The juvenile Judge must determine whether a program violation occurred based upon the evidence.
There are a number of ways in which you may be asked to leave the Juvenile Drug Court Program. These may include a new arrest or a violation of probation from a prior offense. Other incidents, which could result in your termination or suspension, include:
- Persistent missing, diluted and positive drug or breathalyzer tests
- Violation of any aspect of the treatment plan
- Violence or threat of violence against program staff or participants
- Placement in a long term treatment facility
If you are recommended to leave the program, you are entitled, if requested, to an evidentiary hearing to discuss further the grounds for termination. The State will bear the burden of proving the program violation at that hearing. If you request such a hearing, the matter will be postponed to the next available Juvenile Drug Court review date to allow adequate time for you and the State to prepare and subpoena witnesses. Formal rules of evidence do not apply to these proceedings.
If you are terminated from the program, this will be a violation of the probation conditions initially established by the juvenile court. Therefore, upon termination you will be referred back to juvenile court for a hearing for violating that probation. At that time, the juvenile Judge or Master will decide the appropriate disposition.
Successfully completing the treatment program and meeting all program requirements will make you eligible for completing the Juvenile Drug Court Program. After successfully completing all four phases of the BDJDC program, you may graduate from the program and terminate your probationary status.
Graduating from the Juvenile Court Drug Program is a special event. You will receive recognition for achieving your goal of being totally drug and alcohol free. The Juvenile Court Judge and all members of the Juvenile Drug Court team will hold a graduation ceremony to congratulate you on your success.
Revised June 25, 2015