The Faulkner County Juvenile Drug Court (FCJDC) announced expanded partnerships with the University of Central Arkansas and other community partners.

The announcement was made Thursday on the UCA campus.

“Adolescents with substance disorders frequently have mental health disorders, traumatic histories, and other risk factors that present unique challenges for the court. As such, it is imperative that the court develop a strong team to support youth,” said Judge Troy Braswell. “We are excited to announce the expansion of this team and explain how it will impact our youth, their families and our community.”

The Drug Court partnered with the UCA Department of Occupational Therapy to support youth through life skill training and providing opportunities for leadership and giving back to the community. The program, which meets weekly, invites participants to attend meetings on campus and be surrounded by positive peer influences.

As a result, Dr. Lorrie George-Paschal, UCA professor and leader of this program, has been added to the Drug Court team. George-Paschal began working with FCJDC in 2015 after mentoring a UCA student whose thesis focused on reintegration after incarceration.

“Research results supported the need for occupational therapy services for individuals who had been incarcerated. Subsequent to this research, I chose to partner with the FCJDC-to create a community program designed to re-direct adolescents who are on the verge of embarking on a lifetime of drug use, illegal activities, and recidivism, as seen in the adult participants we interviewed,” George-Paschal said. “The mentoring program quickly evolved into a club where occupational therapy student mentors facilitate adolescents to participate in goal-setting, engage in new leisure interests and develop leadership skills, and give back to their community.”

Other additions to the Drug Court team include two school resource officers, Deputy Kevin Miller with the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office and Officer Sean Julian with the Conway Police Department; two community representatives Jerry Boyer, who serves on the Faulkner County Quorum Court, and Daniel Tyler, executive director of Deliver Hope; and Bobby Strobel with Central Arkansas Workforce Services.

Originally, the team included Braswell; Faulkner County Public Defender Jim Lane; Faulkner County Juvenile Court Prosecuting Attorney; Leslie Dawes, the drug court coordinator; therapists Kristy Kennedy and Aaron Croy; and Dr. Ed Franklin, education representative.

Juvenile drug treatment courts are designed for youth with substance abuse disorders who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. These courts offer an important way to respond to the needs of the youth and treat their complex disorders, which require specialized intervention.

Carol Crews, chief deputy prosecuting attorney said, “We’ve had the honor of partnering with Judge Braswell’s drug court and have had a front row seat to it’s quantifiable success. Rehabilitation works best at the juvenile level while our young people are still malleable.”

The Faulkner County Juvenile Court also partners with a number of UCA faculty, staff and students.

A former collegiate boxer, Dr. Neil Rutman, professor of piano, volunteers as a boxing instructor.

“We have a blast boxing safely in the Faulkner County Juvenile Court Boxing Club!” Rutman said. “But this is really about giving the young men love, role models, encouragement, and alternate choices to make a great future.”

Other UCA partnerships are as follows:

Dr. Taine Duncan, director of UCA gender studies program and associate professor of philosophy, and UCA students
Domestic and Dating Violence Handbook for Girl Scouts Troop; serves 6th, 7th, and 8th grade girls

Dr. Lesley Graybeal, director of Service-Learning
UCA Service Learning tutoring

Dr. Roger Pauly, associate professor of history
Tutor and mentor

Dr. Femina Varghese, associate professor of psychology, Dr. Elson Bihm, professor of psychology, and psychology graduate students
Assess values of court-involved youth and provide mentoring to juveniles to determine if their behavior matches their stated values

Dr. Femina Varghese, associate professor of psychology, and graduate student
Provide brief therapy through an app to young men ages 14-17

Dr. Art Gillaspy, professor of psychology, Dr. Ed Powers, chair of the UCA Department of Sociology, Criminology, and Anthropology and associate professor of sociology and criminology, Dr. Femina Varghese, associate professor of psychology, and others
Conduct staff training in motivational interviewing, disproportionate minority contact, cultural competence and other topics

Lisa Ray, clinical instructor II of Health Sciences
Has served as a Sober Support facilitator for some of youth who struggle with addiction

Dr. Mary Ruth Marotte, professor of English and executive director of Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre
provided tickets for Shakespeare Festival for incentives for youth

Amanda Horton, director of UCA Public Appearances and Reynolds Performance Hall
Provided tickets to UCA performances for incentives for youth

Dr. Amy Hawkins, director for The Center for Teaching Excellence and associate professor of public relations
Public relations Cases and Campaigns class will develop public relations campaign plans for Juvenile Court this fall semester. She also will head up a Parent Coaching Program

Dr. Janet Wilson, professor of sociology and criminology
Fall and spring interns work in probation, intake, assessment, Drug Court and mentorship programs.

Dr. Janet Wilson, professor of sociology and criminology
Victimology class provides feedback in developing restorative justice involving victims in Juvenile Court cases

Dr. Nelle Bedner, professor of communication
Will develop a communication class for parents/teens

Shelley Mehl, associate vice president of Outreach and Community Engagement
Has assisted Drug Court team’s meeting in Brewer-Hegeman

Dr. Joe Howard, associate professor of political science
Policy class projects suggest the implementation of new policies or improving current policy

Dr. Sherry Skaggs, assistant professor of criminology
Will oversee a student’s study of Drug Court team

Dr. Denise Demers, assistant professor of Health Sciences
Health education students develop program ideas to improve the 7 Areas of Wellness for the court-involved youth

Jennifer Deering, grant writer for sponsored programs
Coordinated letters of support from numerous faculty for a grant application we were making.

Doug Isanhart, executive in residence and lecturer I of management
Financial Literacy

Dr. Adam Frank, associate professor in the Honors College, and Honors College students
Partnered with the Faulkner County Juvenile Drug Court

UCA interns act as facilitators, tutors and mentors
Troop Leaders Girl Scouting in Juvenile Court
Restorative Justice Circles
My Next Chapter (Girls Book Club)