2012 Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative

This July, eleven Veterans Treatment Court teams from around the country converged on Orange County, California for the Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative (VTCPI), the nation’s only Veterans Treatment Court training. Since 2010, two of NADCP’s professional services divisions, Justice For Vets and National Drug Court Institute, have hosted VTCPI trainings for new Veterans Treatment Courts. Thanks to the support of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice, over 50 Veterans Treatment Court teams, totaling 600 individuals, have attended this comprehensive training.

“Every day the need for Veterans Treatment Courts grows,” said Justice For Vets Director Matt Stiner. “We must ensure that as new programs are launched they have the tools, training and resources they need to ensure that all veterans receive the care they have earned. The eleven teams that attended this training will go back to their jurisdictions ready to save the lives of our men and women who have worn the uniform. Justice For Vets is honored to have BJA as a partner so that we can provide this invaluable resource.”

Attendees participated in plenaries and breakouts on topics ranging from Identifying Target Populations to Building Veteran Mentor Programs. A site visit to the Orange County Combat Veterans Court provided the opportunity to see one of the country’s most successful courts in action and ask questions of the team.

Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court Judge Robert Russell with the Riverside, California Veterans Treatment Court team.


“We started our court about four months ago,” said retired Lieutenant Colonel John Walus, Veteran Mentor Coordinator with the Veterans Treatment Court in Southfield, Michigan. “We wanted to see exactly how our program stacked up…it afforded us the opportunity to evaluate what we currently have in the program and what we need to do to improve and enhance the program so we can provide a better service to veterans.”

The Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative requires that all interdisciplinary team members attend the training in order to build camaraderie and ensure each member of the team is aware of their roles and responsibilities. Bennock County, Idaho Veterans Service Officer Melissa Hartman attended the training with her team.   “After attending the training I realized what an important role Veteran Service Officers (VSO’s) play in Veterans Courts,” she said.   “Who better to match a Veteran with legal problems with a Veteran desiring to be a mentor, than the VSO who has worked with them both personally and knows their personalities and how they would work together.  As a County VSO, I was inspired to create a mentor program that will be designed to give our veterans the tools necessary to achieve a healthy life style.”

Learn more about the Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative and view upcoming trainings here.


Watch Attendee Testimonials