El Dorado County offers collaborative courts which provide tools, treatments, and monitoring. The courts address drug-related offenses, alcohol abuse, juvenile drug/alcohol abuse, and mental illnesses.
Dependency Drug Court
The goal of the Dependency Drug Court is to provide another tool for parents impaired by substance abuse who want to recover from addiction, assume the full responsibilities and joys of parenting, and reunify with the family.
Dependency Drug Court is designed to get parents, whose children have been removed from the home, off illegal drugs in order to help ensure the safety and welfare of the abused or neglected child. Parents who qualify for the Dependency Drug Court Program must comply with the specific requirements of each program phase, including random drug testing several times a week, weekly counseling, bi-weekly court appearances, and participation in prenatal or parenting classes.
Juvenile Drug Court
The El Dorado Collaborative Justice Juvenile Drug Court began November 1, 2002 and addresses the high incidence of alcohol/drug abuse among juveniles in El Dorado County. The program has successfully provided family centered treatment to 13-17 year olds for over seven years. It includes Juvenile Drug Court sessions in both the South Lake Tahoe Branch and the Placerville Building C Branch. Services include: outpatient, individual, group and family counseling, residential treatment, incentives, drug testing, interpreter services and ancillary services appropriate to each participant (for example, job placement, vocational training, health care, or transportation assistance).
Proposition 36 Drug Court
Adults convicted of nonviolent drug-related offenses are sentenced to probation with drug treatment pursuant to Proposition 36 – the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act (SACPA); and probationers or parolees who commit nonviolent drug-related offenses or who violate drug-related conditions of their release may also be eligible to participate. Successful completion of Proposition 36 Drug Court could result in a dismissal of the defendant’s case.
Adult Felony Drug Court
The Adult Felony Drug Court program focuses on helping parenting adults who are struggling with alcohol and drug use and have committed non-violent felony crimes, and who are not eligible for Proposition 36 or Dependency Drug Court.
Adult Felony Drug Court is targeted for people, especially pregnant women and parenting adults, who are struggling with substance abuse and who have committed non-violent felony crimes. The program is a collaborative effort between numerous agencies in El Dorado County, including the Public Health Department, Superior Court, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender, Sierra Recovery Center, and the Probation Department.
Participants of the Adult Felony Drug Court receive outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment if indicated and submit to frequent drug testing. They must also come to court a minimum of once every two weeks to have their progress reviewed by the judge. The judge actively monitors each participant closely throughout the course of treatment and provides incentives and encouragement for those who are doing well. Incentives include stones, candy and Starbucks gift cards.
To successfully graduate from the program, individuals must remain clean and sober, and complete the objectives in their treatment plans and terms of probation. For most individuals, the program takes one year to 18 months to complete.
DUI Court Expansion Program
The El Dorado County DUI Court was implemented in February 2008 and focuses on offenders with either two DUI convictions within a 5-year period or with three or more lifetime DUI convictions. Clients are first referred to the DUI Court case manager by the Court and screened to ensure the client meets all of the program requirements. Similar to other national model DUI court programs, the post-adjudication program operates on a team concept and involves enhanced supervision, mandatory substance abuse treatment, individual and group counseling, random and frequent drug testing, AA and NA meetings, bi-weekly appearances before the judge for either encouragement for positive participation (incentives) or, if needed, reprimand or sanctions for non-compliance. DUI Court participants receive treatment that focuses on alcohol use as a chronic disease and is therefore intensive in nature. Professional addiction specialists ensure that rehabilitation comes in the form of disease management and care.
The DUI Court is a minimum period of one year and a maximum period not to exceed 18 months, based on successful completion of all phases of the program. Except for situations of physical disabilities preventing work, DUI Court participants shall seek, obtain, and maintain gainful employment and pay a fee for their participation in the program. Fees are similar to current 18-month costs paid for standard DUI classes, which average about $1,800.00. Successful completion of the program shortens or meets requirements for driver license reinstatement by the DMV.
The El Dorado DUI Court integrates services and adheres to The Ten Guiding Principles of DWI Courts:
- Target the population
- Perform a clinical assessment
- Develop the treatment plan
- Supervise the offender
- Forge agency, organization and community partnerships
- Take a judicial leadership role
- Develop case management strategies
- Address transportation issues
- Evaluate the program
- Create a sustainable program
Behavioral Health Court
The Behavioral Health Court Program (BHC) targets mentally ill adults and transitional-aged youth that have entered the justice system.
The El Dorado County Behavioral Health Court is an intensive program designed to evaluate, treat, and monitor participants while providing coordinated and comprehensive mental health treatment and ancillary services. The Behavioral Health Court program is a strong community collaboration model which provides for system integration. The judicial system, law enforcement, probation, and mental health systems form the Behavioral Health Court Team and a clinical mental health manager works closely with each participant to successfully implement an integrated, individualized service plan that is strengths-based and culturally competent. The Behavioral Health Court Team draws on the expertise and mutual commitment of its members and represents a problem-solving approach to address unmet mental health needs.
Recognizing the contributions that our Veterans have made for our country and the resulting issues that that service can cause, the Legislature enacted provisions to assist and support our Veterans to return to their rightful position as vital members of our community. The Veterans Treatment Court Program (VTC) targets qualifying Veterans that have entered the justice system.
The El Dorado County VTC is an intensive one year to eighteen month program designed to evaluate, treat, and monitor participants while providing coordinated and comprehensive treatment and ancillary services. The Veterans Assistance Program, the judicial system, probation, District Attorney’s Office and (primarily) the Public Defender’s Office form the VTC Team. The Team works closely with each participant to successfully implement an integrated, individualized service plan.
Family Wellness Court
El Dorado Superior Court and the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians
Joint Jurisdictional Collaborative Court
The Family Wellness Court program is intended to provide system-involved youth and their families with a court-supervised alternative that emphasizes culturally-appropriate restorative justice practices. The program’s wrap-around continuum of care consists of prevention, intervention, and post-adjudication services. Program staff uses a teamwork approach to address needs of program participants using a culture-specific, trauma-informed, strength-based, and evidence-based approach.
The goal of treatment is to break the school to prison cycle of dysfunctional behavior in order to provide parents and children with achievable goals, which will improve self-confidence, result in positive life choices and give children and their families a true connection to tribal history and culture, inspiring them to become leaders in their community.
The Family Wellness Court, hears a wide range of cases, including juvenile (law violations or status offenses), child welfare (dependency), domestic violence (as part of a dependency, child custody, protective order petition), and criminal. Typically, the state court and the tribal court would hear these cases separately from one another, often making conflicting orders, working at cross purposes or failing to address the entirety of the families’ issues in a holistic fashion. The Family Wellness Court aims to break down these impediments. As soon as a child or youth comes to the attention of tribal or county authorities, the court can wrap the child and family with a multitude of tribal and county services especially designed to meet the needs of each family member. This approach maximizes the use of resources necessary to address the cultural, historical, and intergenerational traumas.
For additional information on the Family Wellness Court links are provided below to the Family Wellness Court Manual and Family Wellness Court Participant Manual