The Juvenile Code authorizes 14 different dispositional alternatives for delinquency cases that result in Level 1 dispositions and 23 different dispositional alternatives for delinquency cases that result in Level 2 dispositions. G.S. 7B-2508(c), (d); G.S. 7B-2506(1)-(23). For both Level I and Level 2 dispositions, cooperating with substance abuse treatment is a dispositional option. It can be challenging to sort through the many available dispositional alternatives to order an effective and individually tailored disposition that addresses the risks and needs of the juvenile. This blog addresses why it might be important to focus on substance use disorders as part of disposition, how to know when a juvenile needs substance use disorder treatment, and how substance use disorder treatment may be included as a dispositional alternative.
The Juvenile Code requires the court to select the most appropriate disposition for the delinquent juvenile. G.S. 7B-2501(c). Under this statute, the disposition must be designed to protect the public and to meet the needs and best interests of the juvenile based on offense severity, the need for accountability, the importance of protecting public safety, the juvenile’s degree of culpability, and the rehabilitative and treatment needs of the juvenile. There are many different statutory pathways available to the court to structure individualized dispositions targeted to meet the needs of the juvenile and reduce their risk of reoffending. This post explores some of those options, with an emphasis on alternatives outside of standard terms and conditions for probation or placement in out-of-home settings.