Building community connections
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Building Community Connections. Excellence and sustainability. Objectives. Understand why broad community engagement is vital to problem-solving court operations. Review strategies for engaging the community in the operation of the drug court.

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Building Community Connections

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Building Community Connections

Excellence and sustainability


  • Understand why broad community engagement is vital to problem-solving court operations.

  • Review strategies for engaging the community in the operation of the drug court.

  • Identify potential resources that may be available to your participants through broader community engagement.

  • Develop a preliminary plan for engaging the community and expanding available resources

What is Sustainability?

  • Working in a team of two to three and using the scrap paper provided, write a definition of sustainability as it relates to your treatment court.

  • Share your definition with the people around you.

  • Are there common themes?

Key Component #10

Forging partnerships among drug courts, public agencies, and community-based organizations generate local support and enhance drug court program effectiveness.

Problem-Solving Courts Need

  • Participants

  • Talented and committed team members

  • Substance abuse and mental health treatment

  • Drug testing

  • Skill-building classes including parenting

  • Educational and job training

  • Transportation

  • Safe and sober housing

  • Incentives

  • Community service and job placement sites

  • Domestic violence programing

Problem-Solving Courts Need

  • Medical and dental treatment

  • Sober recreational opportunities

  • Money for staff and programing

  • Court space and court staff

  • Political support

  • Positive press

  • Accurate data collection and reporting

  • Evaluation support

  • Training


Use data to:

  • ensure you are serving the appropriate target population.

  • identify what your court participants and courts need.

  • access services and supports.

  • demonstrate utilization of services.

  • demonstrate efficacy of your program.

  • garner support.

  • get money!

How are you going to ensure that your problem-solving court and court participants get all the resources they need?

Conduct a needs assessment

What do your participants and court need?

  • It is available but you are not currently accessing

    • Outreach to partners to find out how your participants can begin accessing

    • Figure out what is “in it for them” to provide the service

  • It is not available and needs to be developed

    • Is there another agency or group which has already conducted/is conducting a needs assessment and identified the same gap?

    • Is there an existing agency that would be interested in developing?

    • Co-develop the request for funds

    • You are supplying the consumers and supervision, they are providing the specialized service


  • State Funding

  • Medicaid and Managed Care

  • Insurance/Affordable Care Act

  • Counties and Municipalities

  • Client fees

  • Establishing a Non-profit Entity


  • State Agency Partners

  • Law Enforcement and Probation

  • Treatment Partners

  • Community Organizations

  • Partnering with non-profits,foundations, service organizations and private business


  • Work with providers to identify areas for cooperative development

  • Identify potential funding partnerships including grant opportunities (especially non court-based grants)

  • Develop pilot projects

Partnership development

  • Quantify their impact on client engagement, progress and outcomes.

  • Recognize the value of providers of services at court graduations and in formal correspondence to head offices.

  • Meet and “check in” regularly with partners.

  • Data sharing.

  • Maintain communication to maintain TRUST.

Partnership development

  • Develop a vibrant problem-solving court advisory committee

  • Participate in community collaboratives

  • Invite current and potential partner agencies to observe court

  • Develop a group of graduates who are willing and able to present at community meetings

    • Chamber of Commerce

    • Bar Association

    • “Animal” Clubs

    • Women’s groups

Communication Strategies

  • Build a media strategy and crisis response plan.

  • Build community understanding by inviting the court staff, community leaders and the media to planning sessions, courtroom hearings, graduations, and alumni events .

  • Communication involves not just the message, but the messenger.

  • Communicate research and evaluation results, but also individual stories which powerfully personalize the message.


  • Effective strategies are based on information gathering, education, developing relationships, visibility and credibility.

  • Fundraising tools include brochures, historical documents, clear program mission and vision, and clear evidence of effectiveness.

  • Consider working with a professional fundraiser.

Non-profit status

  • Government agencies are non-profits

  • Partner with an existing non-profit with a complementary mission

  • Problem-solving court association

  • Develop your own non-profit

Receiving gifts

  • What can you accept?

  • Under what circumstances can you accept the gift?

  • Who can accept it?

  • How will you receipt it?

  • How will you secure it?

  • How will you track it?

  • How will you distribute it fairly?


  • Maintain good data!!

  • Assess needs

  • Assess existing resources

  • Access broad funding strategies

  • Develop partnerships

  • Develop new resources

  • Track gifts

  • Engage in care and feeding of partnerships

  • Evaluate impact

  • Develop communication strategy

  • Educate everyone

  • Think creatively

What is Sustainability?

Your job is to so thoroughly weave your treatment court into the fabric of the community that no one could imagine its elimination.


Kirstin Frescoln

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