|Jurisdictions across the United States have begun to explore the use of drug courts for juvenile offenders. The model for these programs has been largely adaptive rather then prescriptive. Many juvenile drug courts are simply patterned after programs designed for adult offenders. While this has facilitated the diffusion of juvenile drug courts, it has not encouraged the development of programs and policies based on proven models. Juvenile programs have developed far more rapidly than the ability of researchers and practitioners to generate empirical support for their effectiveness. Policymakers are still without good answers to such basic questions as whether juvenile court drug courts are effective, and whether they are different enough from criminal courts and juvenile courts to warrant their own program models and evaluation strategies. Under a grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Urban Institute recently reviewed the available conceptual frameworks for evaluating juvenile drug courts, and developed a model framework to facilitate future evaluations.
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