Juvenile Treatment Court Develops Mentoring Program

Across the United States, drug treatment courts for adults and juveniles offer an alternative to incarceration for non-violent offenders.

In Rochester, N.Y., the juvenile treatment court is using mentors as aids in recovery, the first treatment court to systematically do so, USA Today reported on September 30. Rochester is a Demand Treatment community.

“There’s the thought in the drug court movement that it’s not programs that influence people — it’s relationships,” says Judge Anthony Sciolino. “We find that where we’re successful with youngsters turning their lives around, it’s because they’ve connected with a caring adult.”

The court finds its mentors through Compeer, Inc., a Rochester-based volunteer organization with national and international affiliate offices. Compeer matches community volunteers with children and adults who are receiving treatment for mental health disorders.

In Rochester, the treatment court coordinators approached Compeer just as the organization was starting a program to match adults with troubled teens. Mentors have been working with 20 adolescents so far, and at least half of the matches have been successful.

Compeer would like to extend mentoring to its chapters in other cities; however, the program has not secured money for next year.
Source:Indiana Prevention Resource Center at Indiana University Bloomington; June 2004.

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