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NY Statewide Veterans Treatment Court Strategic Planning Initiative

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,330,028)

For more than a decade, New York State (NYS) has been a leader in meeting the needs of justice-involved veterans. In 2008, the Buffalo City Court opened the first veterans treatment court (VTC) program in the country. The court’s presiding judge, Honorable Robert Russell, realized that veteran participants in the adult drug court needed more specialized services to help them succeed in the program. NYS continued to lead the field in the development and growth of VTCs, with 32 courts as of May 2022. While the foundation for VTCs in NYS remains strong, growth has stagnated and census of participants in VTCs has been declining as all problem-solving courts continued to endure numerous challenges due to changing legislation and the impact of COVID-19. 

The New York State Unified Court System (UCS), in partnership with the Center for Court Innovation (the Center), is applying for funding under the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA FY22 Veterans Treatment Court Discretionary Grant - Category 3: Statewide), an award of $1,330,028. The funding will allow the state to refocus efforts on strengthening existing VTCs, expanding access to VTC programs, and addressing critical emerging issues, such as racial equity, gender-responsive practices, expansion of mentor programs, developing community awareness, and early identification. To achieve these goals, UCS and the Center will engage in statewide strategic planning and implementation for VTCs. Based on the findings of a needs assessment, a diverse group of stakeholders comprised of subject matter experts, VTC practitioners, and peers will convene to identify goals and objectives that create a coordinated effort towards the enhancement and sustainability of VTCs. The funding will allow for priority strategic planning goals and objectives to be implemented during the project timeline and will leave a road map for the next five years.  The proposed number of VTC participants currently being served are approximately 120 per year.  However, we anticipate that number may increase based on initiatives to identify veterans.

This project will address the following Adult Drug Court Best Practice Standards: I. Target Population (pg. 4-6, 13), II. Equity and Inclusion (pg. 8, 10,12), V. SUD Treatment (pg. 13), VI. Complementary Treatment and Social Services (pg. 7, 14), VII. Multidisciplinary Team (pg. 8-13), and X. Monitoring and Evaluation (pg. 15, 19-20).

The NYS UCS previously received statewide BJA grant awards implementation #2007-DC-BX0001, 2009-DC-BX-0018, 2010-DC-BX-0121, 2011-DC-BX-0140 and 2011-DC-BX-0138, 2012-DC-BX-0012, and 2013-DC-BX-0070, 2013-DC-BX-0071, 2018-DC-BX-0137, 2018-DC-BX-0141, 2020-MU-BX-0130, 15BJA-21-04197-DGCT.

Date Created: September 28, 2022