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What are juvenile drug courts in Virginia?

Learning that a child has fallen into a lifestyle that includes drugs is often difficult for parents. When that fact is learned because the child is facing criminal charges of some sort, the parent might soon learn that the child is going to be sentenced to juvenile drug court. This court, just as with its adult counterpart, is aimed at rehabilitation of the child instead of being aimed at punishing the child. Our Virginia readers might be interested in learning more about the juvenile drug courts in the state.

What does juvenile drug court do?

Juvenile drug courts are aimed at helping the child to work through the addiction and learn how to live without the drug. They use an intensive monitoring approach to help guide the child. With the court overseeing the child's progress, it is more difficult for the child to slip back into old habits without having to face consequences.

Are all children with drug problems eligible for juvenile drug court?

Anyone who has a prior conviction for a violent offense isn't eligible for juvenile drug court. Additionally, the participation in drug court is strictly voluntary, so a child who is unwilling to participate in the program wouldn't be forced to go through the program. In that case, the judge overseeing the child's case would hand down an alternate sentence.

While some people might think that the juvenile drug court isn't an effective tool, it can be very effective for a child who wants to change. Having a support system, such as family members, standing behind them can help the child to successfully go through the program. Any parent who has a child facing the juvenile justice system because of drug problems should contact someone familiar with drug court to inquire about the suitability of the program.

Source: Virginia Drug Treatment Court, "Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Standards" accessed Jan. 15, 2015

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