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The OJJDP Court Coordination Program

The Court Coordination Program (CCP) was established by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in 2005 to address a challenge that many Judges—particularly those in large jurisdictions—face in ensuring that multineed children receive treatment and services from multiple agencies. Although judges may order appropriate services for these youth, they too often fail to get the complete services they need due to breakdowns in providers including public and private community mental health, social services, communication and coordination.

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CCP supports a court coordinator who reports directly to the juvenile court judge and oversees and coordinates these complex cases so that children get the comprehensive services they need. It is a very expedient method to leverage the authority of the judge to improve the quality of care in the most at risk populations. This has brought about reduced costs associated with residential placements that were avoided.

The program is based on the successful Wraparound Milwaukee model, which establishes that services should be provided to children on an individual needs-driven basis rather than a “one-approach-fits-all” model. Wraparound initiatives sponsored by state social service, education, and mental health agencies (such as such as Wraparound Milwaukee and the Alaska Youth Initiative) have had significant success providing placement, treatment, and services to youths known to the juvenile court (NMHA, 2004; Burns and Goldman, 1999). Each child’s plan is focused on areas of need of the individual child, such as school attendance, substance abuse, resolving family issues, or other variables. The program’s success lies in coordinating services and resources from different programs. It is a means to “jump start” this coordinated team based approach to service delivery in localities throughout the country. CCP can be scaled to meet expected caseload size. Smaller localities can reallocate existing staff resources on a part-time basis to handle CCP duties while larger localities may want to hire a full time CCP Coordinator.

Desired outcomes of CCP include improved efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery, reduced costs, increased speed in successfully closing cases, reduced duplicative services, decreased disproportionate minority contact, and a reduced recidivism rate for comparable juveniles appearing before the court.

A successful 3-year pilot of CCP was completed in five sites in FY2010 (Cleveland, Ohio; Miami, Florida; Portland, Oregon; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Albany, New York). Four of the five programs participating in the pilot program have met one of the great challenges of all new programs: securing funding to sustain their services at the conclusion of the grant cycle.

A cross-site evaluation was conducted of the CCP sites. Preliminary findings from the pilot sites showed major reductions in arrests while youths are in the program, major progress in mental health indicators, and over a two-thirds reduction in substance abuse. The process evaluation has found that four of the five programs have sustained continued program funding as well as sustained funding for the Court Coordinator position. A replication manual has been produced and can be used as a blueprint for sites receiving TTA.

Availability of Technical Assistance and Training

CCP training and technical assistance (TTA) was available through DSG, Inc. DSG assisted localities in targeting delinquent youth who were in foster care or at risk of removal from the home. Localities that received CCP TTA received the replication manual and evaluation instruments to conduct evaluations of CCP in their community. The expected outcomes of implementing CCP were: