Juvenile substance abuse is a widespread issue. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that 14.3 percent of 12th grade students used illegal drugs in 2016.
Juvenile substance abusers have different needs than adult users. California courts created a system of juvenile drug courts to address the root of their substance use, and rehabilitate the youth. As a parent, what should you know about the juvenile court system?
- Juvenile courts support the entire family. Youth are greatly influenced by the community in which they live and grow. They rely upon the people around them to learn about the world, and how to thrive in society. To help your child overcome drug use, the court must address issues at home and within their larger community. Therefore, the courts create a rehabilitation plan that engages your entire family. You will receive training on how to provide structure for your child throughout the rehabilitation process. Additionally, the court identifies family habits that could contribute to long-term drug use and dependency.
- Expect individualized treatment plans.There is no “one-size-fits all” rehabilitation program. Each individual has a unique background and set of needs that affects their treatment. Juvenile courts take your child’s gender, background, location, personality, abuse patterns and environment into account to set up their treatment plan.
- Be ready for ongoing support. The goal is to help your child lead a life of long-term sobriety. Expect status hearings on a regular basis. These will vary in frequency, but are often scheduled on a weekly basis to foster a sense of teamwork and encourage accountability.
It is frightening to find out that your child has to go to juvenile drug court. Remember that the court is there to help your child. They are intended to be a support network, and to create a positive environment that puts your child on a path to long-term success.
You may have questions about how drug charges could affect your child’s future. Consider contacting an attorney who can discuss your child’s case with you, and determine the best course of action.