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About Us


The juvenile drug court is a program in which participants are required to attend substance abuse counseling, submit to random drug screens, attend school or obtain a general equivalency diploma (GED), follow court-ordered sanctions, and comply with any other orders issued by the court.   The end goal is to have the legal charges dismissed. 


Tampa's Juvenile Drug Court was developed and implemented under the direction of Chief Judge F. Dennis Alvarez. This was the first Juvenile Drug Court put into operation in the State of Florida and one of the first in the nation.

The first court session was held on February 7, 1996 with Judge Alvarez as the presiding judge. At that first court, eight youth were admitted into treatment. Within six months there were 58 participants and within one year there were 85 youth receiving treatment through the program. The program has continued to evolve to meet the community’s needs.


Initially treatment was provided by ACTS, Inc. (Agency for Community Treatment Services, Inc.). Today the Juvenile Drug Court utilizes three treatment agencies for the core treatment programs, DACCO, Inc., Phoenix House, and ACTS. Many other agencies supply specialized and residential programs.

The Tampa Juvenile Drug Court began operating without additional funding but received a grant from the Drug Court Programs Office, Department of Justice, shortly after the beginning operations. This first grant provided two Drug Court Specialist I positions who handle some case management and in-court support for the judge. These positions were made permanent positions in the Administrative Office of the Courts after the grant expired. The treatment agency, ACTS, also received Byrne Grant funds for treatment during the first four years of the program. Presently none of the treatment programs, supplying treatment for the Juvenile Drug Court, are receiving grant funding.


In the Spring of 1999 the Tampa Juvenile Drug Court began a program, in cooperation with the Hillsborough County School System. It was at this time when the drug court expanded to three treatment agencies and expanded beyond the cap of 225 that had been in place for a couple of years.

October 1, 2002 we received an Edward Byrne Memorial Grant which allowed us to hire a Drug Court Specialist I, especially to handle the case management functions, for the referrals coming from the schools. This position was picked up as a permanent position, by the State on July 1, 2004.


Performance Measures
None at this time.