Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $556,767)
The Forsyth County Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) is seeking assistance in enhancing current program operations (Category 2 - Enhancement). The VTC was established in October of 2016, as a response to an increased number of Justice-Involved Veterans (JIVs) entering the criminal justice system. Forsyth County, North Carolina is home to around 20,000 veterans. In 2022, the Forsyth County Jail reported arresting 8,013 individuals that identified themselves as a veteran, representing 3.28% of the total population booked. The VTC’s target population is JIVs who have been identified as high risk/high need or low risk/high need.
Funding goals for the enhancements will directly align the essential key components of a successful VTC listed by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). The first goal of the enhancement is continued funding for the VTC's part-time peer Mentor Coordinator to recruit, train, supervise, and coordinate mentors within the program. The second enhancement is funding for the program's full-time Case Manager that will assist in connecting veterans and their families to important community resources, including JIVs who are not eligible to VA services, allowing the VTC to increase access to the court . Third, this proposal is requesting funding to enhance its drug and alcohol testing capabilities through the purchasing of 16-panel drug screening tests and the ability to confirm results through a lab.
Fourth, the requested funding will provide the court with the ability to implement a validated risk-assessment screening tool. As indicated by the completed process evaluation (attached), it was recommended that the court adopt begin using a validated risk-assessment tool to ensure continued identification of appropriate risk and need levels. Fifth, the funding will support continued training for the VTC team, including funds for travel to the annual NADCP conference. Last, the proposal is requesting funding for the continued evaluation by an independent researcher to examine the program's impact on the participants within the court. With these enhancements, the VTC hopes to build program capacity of up to 25 participants a year, totaling 100 over the course of funding. This will lead to an increase of program graduates, and a reduced likelihood of recidivism. The part-time Mentor Coordinator and full-time Case Manager are funded through a previous Bureau of Justice Assistance grant (2020-VC-BX-0129) that has an end date of 9/30/2023.