In 2005, Louisiana was selected to participate in the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Initiative. The goal of Models for Change was to create successful and sustainable models of juvenile justice reform that could be replicated across the country by states and local jurisdictions seeking to improve their response to youth who come in contact with the juvenile justice system. The recommendations included in this guide are intended to provide juvenile drug courts in Louisiana with guidance about how to strengthen their programs and incorporate scientifically sound, effective interventions and services. Programs that screen and assess youth using scientifically sound measures and processes, and that use the results of those measures to refer youth to appropriate, evidence-based treatments and services, will yield better outcomes for the youth and families that they serve, and help to move Louisiana towards a model for developing and expanding evidence-based practices.

While the recommendations in this guide are specific to Louisiana, they offer learnings to other states and jurisdictions seeking to strengthen their juvenile drug courts.

The National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice (NCYOJ) originally developed and maintained this resource. The NCYOJ was operated by Policy Research, Inc. and operated from 2001 to 2022 and was formerly known as the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. The NCYOJ improved life opportunities for youth through systems and practice improvement initiatives.

This resource should be viewed as a reference document. It has not been updated since its publication. In addition, this document has not been made 508 compliant. If you would like a 508 compliant version of this document, please email

This resource was first shared in 2009.

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