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Superior Court of California - County of San Diego: Juvenile: Juvenile Drug Court: Testimonials/Accomplishments


Judge Amalia Meza

Through a collaborative effort, the Juvenile Drug Court Program provides young people close supervision with rewards and consequences to redirect their behavior, teach them skills for achieving success, and ultimately empower them to become responsible and productive members of society.


Commissioner Michael Imhoff

Delinquency Teen Drug Court is a multi-disciplinary approach established to help break the cycle of chemical dependency that substantially interferes with the day to day functioning of the teenager. We are fortunate in San Diego to have so many dedicated and talented professionals to assist the teens and their families navigate all of the frustrations, challenges and disappointments of continued drug and alcohol abuse. While the Teen Drug Court is an arduous program, it has been very successful in assisting our teens and their families reestablish and maintain a sober and productive lifestyle and all of the hope and happiness a healthy future provides.


Judge Dwayne K. Moring

The Juvenile Drug Court Program offers wards a unique opportunity to address their substance abuse issues with maximum support from the Probation Department, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, treatment providers, a staff therapist, and the Court. This team approach to probation supervision is all-encompassing, gauging minors’ progress in substance abuse treatment, school, and in the home. We also strive to set clear guidelines for our participants. Outstanding compliance is rewarded through our 100 Percent Club Incentives Program and non-compliance is swiftly addressed through a multitude of elevated sanctions. The Juvenile Drug Court is truly one of the best rehabilitative programs the San Diego Juvenile Court utilizes for juvenile probationers.


Mara Steinberg, Supervising Probation Officer

There are key components to a successful Drug Court, which the San Diego County Juvenile Drug Court team has not only striven to achieve, but has remained committed to over the past 10 years. These essential principles, as a non-adversarial approach and prompt access to intensive treatment, have been supplemented by the Juvenile Drug Court team’s enthusiastic quest for the most current research and information on what rehabilitative methods work best with substance abusing adolescents.

We know now that adult substance abuse treatment models cannot be successfully applied to juveniles, who typically do not have the comparable experience of “hitting bottom” that a chronic adult addict has. Additionally, the fiscal savings realized by providing services to children through Juvenile Drug Court, where adolescents can learn to address their substance abuse issues within their homes and neighborhoods, is one of the most highly tenable arguments for sustaining the Drug Court program, particularly in today’s economic climate.

By participating in Drug Court, adolescents are given the opportunity to receive a comprehensive system of care, while remaining in the environment they would have otherwise been removed from, if the alternative of costly long-term custody or residential treatment had been imposed. Parents or guardians of the adolescents are engaged in their child’s rehabilitation process, and an understanding of teen substance abuse and their role as a parent is promoted. Furthermore, a community partnership is fostered with the adolescent, as the Probation Officer and the Juvenile Recovery Specialist work collaboratively with the schools, local agencies, community centers, and mentors, to help the child forge new relationships and develop a strong support system that can be tapped, long after graduation from Drug Court.


Michele Linley, Deputy District Attorney

"It is rare that drug addiction is overcome without treatment including some period of sobriety. Unfortunately, it is well established that a large percentage of drug treatment participants leave treatment prior to completing the program. We have seen that the juvenile drug court — using both incentives and sanctions — has been very successful in achieving treatment compliance and thus providing our youth with the tools and skills necessary to remain sober. We are happy to be part of the Juvenile Drug Court Team."


Daniel Ybarra, Deputy Public Defender

On behalf of the Juvenile Division, Office of the Public Defender, we are grateful for the opportunity work with the Juvenile Drug Court Team. By adhering to the juvenile drug court model, we have touched the lives of thousands of deserving teens. The Public Defender’s Office looks forward to many more years of continued collaboration.

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