Youth Drug and Alcohol Court
The Youth Drug and Alcohol Court (YDAC) is a specialist court for young offenders between ages of 14 and 18 who have a drug dependency. The Court aims to help teenagers overcome both drug dependency and criminal offending by diverting them into individual treatment programs supervised by the Court for up to 12 months.
YDAC is a court designed for young people with a drug and/or alcohol problem who have committed criminal offences and are facing a prison sentence. Its objective is to reduce drug and/or alcohol related criminal activity by children through judicial and therapeutic interventions that are designed to reduce or manage drug and/or alcohol usage. Your son/daughter may be referred by a Magistrate or apply to be referred from the Children’s Court to the Youth Drug and Alcohol Court.
The YDAC sits at Parramatta Children’s Court on Monday; Bidura Children’s Court on Wednesday; and Campbelltown Children’s Court on Thursday.
Why should my son/daughter consider attending a Youth Drug and Alcohol Court?
Attending a YDAC presents significant benefits including:
- Allowing your son/daughter to remain out of prison in order to participate in the program
- Potentially leading to a lesser sentence
- Your son/daughter will may be able to avoid a Control Order/custodial sentence
- Enabling your son/daughter to improve their long-term quality of life
- Helping your son/daughter break the cycle of drug-related crime
- If a participant does not complete a YDAC program a higher penalty will not be imposed.
Is my son/daughter eligible to participate in the YDAC program?
A young person can be referred for assessment for eligibility to participate in YDAC if they meet the following criteria:
- Be between the ages of 14 and 18 at the time of committing the offence
- Demonstrate drug and/or alcohol problem
- Be charged with an offence the Children’s Court can deal with
- Resides, identifies with, or have committed the offence in the boundaries of a YDAC
- Plead guilty or been found guilty all charges against him or her, and none of the offences are sex offences
- Be eligible for a caution or a Youth Justice Conference under the Young Offenders Act 1997.
What is involved?
After being referred to a YDAC your son/daughter is preliminarily assessed by a Juvenile Justice Officer and then by a Joint Assessment and Review Team (JART). JART will submit a report to the court detailing whether they can come up with an appropriate program. The program plan details the activities, responsibilities, and interventions proposed.
The program plan typically includes components which require the young person to:
- Reside as directed (maybe at an accommodation or residential rehabilitation service)
- Accept supervision by the Department of Juvenile Justice
- Accept case management support from a YDAC Case Manager
- Participate in individual, group, and/or family counselling
- Participate in educational or vocational assessments and programs
- Participate in health related assessments or intervention
- Participate in recreational/leisure programs
- Submit to random urinalysis
- Attend the YDAC for Report Back sessions as directed
What do participants in the Youth Drug and Alcohol Court program say?
Research has shown that the YDAC has had a positive impact on the lives of many of those participating and that graduates of the program were less likely to re-offend than those who did not complete the program. Participants experienced decreased drug use and were also motivated to reduce their drug use. They also experienced improvements in mental health over the longer term. The research also showed that young people were happy with the program and especially the court and casework staff.
If your son, daughter or any other relative are eligible for the Youth and Alcohol Drug Court program please call us for further assistance and representation.
WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.