Juvenile Drug Court (CHOICES)
Choosing Healthy Options Increases Confidence, Excellence and Success (CHOICES) is the name of the Fulton County Juvenile Drug Court Program. It is a highly structured, non-adversarial accountability and intervention program, targeting court-involved youth who use alcohol or other drugs.
CHOICES impacts the juvenile court system by reducing the number of youth in detention facilities for violations of their current conditions of probation or supervision. This intervention focuses on intensive substance abuse treatment and probation supervision, with frequent court appearances, educational support, random drug testing, mentoring, and individual, group and family counseling. The Court awards incentives for compliant behavior and imposes graduated sanctions for negative behavior.
Eligible participants are any Fulton County residents aged 14 to 17 who are on probation or supervision and have alcohol or other drug usage issues. All participants are screened prior to acceptance.
The mission of CHOICES: Juvenile Drug Court is to reduce substance abuse and recidivism of participants through individual, family, and group interventions and treatment. We strive to empower participants to make better choices by encouraging family and community support.
For inquiries regarding CHOICES: Juvenile Drug Court, please contact:
Using the framework identified by Juvenile Drug Court: Strategies in Practice, CHOICES is divided into an individualized four phase treatment, education, probation and civic awareness program. Participants are encouraged to master all elements of their current phase before applying to the next phase.
- Freshman (the CHOICE phase): the goal is to acquaint participants with the program and focus on treatment and accountability as participants begin their path to being clean and sober.
- Sophomore (the Challenge phase): the goal is for participants to maintain treatment and chart a path to attaining other goals.
- Junior (the Change phase): the goal is to focus on developing life skills designed to help participants function better in the community.
- Senior (the Creation phase): Here, participants create a relapse prevention plan, mentor freshmen, begin their step-down process and identify a continued care program.
After completing all phases, participants will graduate. After successful completion of the program, participants will have their Juvenile Court records sealed.
The Juvenile Drug Court concept is a therapeutic intervention which aligns with the emphasis of Juvenile Court to rehabilitate youth, protect the community and strengthen families. As such, CHOICES is a collaborative effort between the Juvenile Court, the District Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Public Defender, the Juvenile Court Probation Department, the Juvenile Court Education Advocate Department, the Fulton County Child Attorney’s Office, treatment providers, family, mentors and various community organizations. Parent or legal custodian involvement in the program is vital to the success of the participant and the program.