Management Response and Action Plan

Project Title: Evaluation for the Drug Treatment Court Funding Program (DTCFP)

Responsibility Centre: Policy Implementation Directorate

General Management Response

In anticipation of the need to negotiate new DTCFP funding agreements for April 1, 2015, the Ad Hoc Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on Drug Treatment Court Efficiencies and Resource Allocations was established in June 2013 in order to develop recommendations as to how the DTCFP could provide the most effective ongoing support for drug treatment courts (DTCs). The Working Group’s March 2014 Report was approved by FPT Deputy Ministers of Justice, and subsequently informed the negotiation of the new three-year DTCFP funding agreements which took effect April 1, 2015. One of the report’s key recommendations for maximizing the program’s effectiveness was that the availability of DTCFP funding be limited to provinces and territories only. The Department has been negotiating with nine provinces and territories and, as of May 1, 2015, six of these jurisdictions have signed DTCFP funding agreements. Funding agreements with the remaining jurisdictions are expected to be signed in the near future. All of these agreements will be effective April 1, 2015 and, once signed, the DTCFP will be providing funding support for a total of 10 DTCs in those jurisdictions. This will represent an expansion of the DTCFP’s support as six DTCs were receiving support under the funding agreements which expired on March 31, 2015. In addition, the Department expects to sign one-year funding agreements with two other provinces to conduct feasibility studies regarding the viability of DTCs in those jurisdictions. Finally, the Ad Hoc Working Group has evolved into a permanent FPT working group in order to maintain a forum for the ongoing collaboration and knowledge exchange in regards to matters concerning DTCs.

Conclusions Recommendations Management Response Action Plan Responsible Manager (Title) Planned Completion Date

Drug Treatment Court Funding Program Organizational Structure and Governance

Since the last evaluation, the Drug Treatment Court Funding Program (DTCFP) focused much of its efforts on building stronger partnerships with provincial and territorial governments. Given that the administration of justice is a provincial responsibility, it is important to consider the role of provincial and territorial governments in the administration of the DTCFP. Developing effective partnerships with provincial governments in the administration of DTCs has the added benefit of facilitating more effective leveraging of, and greater collaboration with, various provincial ministries.

Although some DTCFP funding recipients continue to be NGOs as opposed to provincial governments, DTCFP officials have established connections with all provincial and territorial jurisdictions — in particular through the Ad Hoc F/P/T Working Group on DTC Efficiencies and Resource Allocations (the FPT Working Group). This working group is currently considering appropriate federal/ provincial/territorial oversight of federally funded DTCs and how to distribute the DTCFP budget across jurisdictions interested in receiving federal funding for DTCs.

Recommendation 1:

It is recommended that the DTCFP continue to work collaboratively with provinces and territories to identify DTC’s unique costs and to consider the provincial/territorial role in the DTC funding agreements.

Agreed. All new three-year funding agreements will be with provinces and territories and will identify the unique DTC costs which are eligible for DTCFP funding. In addition, these agreements identify the roles of the signatory province and/or territory. These new agreements took effect April 1, 2015. Senior Director, Policy Implementation Directorate March 2016

Roles and Responsibilities of the DTC Team Members

Each DTC has its unique team composition. This maintains flexibility and allows variation in the DTC structure. However, the evaluation found room for improvements to the DTC structure and administration. Some DTCs are addressing the need for greater clarity concerning roles and responsibilities for the DTC team members. Some specific suggestions for clarifying roles and responsibilities were to increase collaboration and transparency in Crown decision making regarding applicants and to examine the roles of DTC committees to ensure lack of duplication in discussion of issues. Survey respondents considered the need for policies and procedures or some other written documentation that sets out roles and responsibilities particularly important, because of the rather high staff turnover in some DTCs.

Recommendation 2:

It is recommended that the DTCFP work with the provincial/territorial partners to encourage clarification of roles and responsibilities of DTC team members.

Agreed. All new three-year funding agreements will identify the roles of the signatory province and/or territory. In addition, through the Permanent FPT Working Group, the DTCFP team will continue to work with provincial/territorial partners to encourage clarification of roles and responsibilities of DTC team members. Senior Director, Policy Implementation Directorate March 2016

DTC Treatment and Court Components

The treatment component of the DTC generally follows best practices in the DTC literature, although there is some room for improvement in the use of the RNR model in order to appropriately match the services to the needs and risk level of their clients and to serve the clients most in need of the program.

In terms of admissions and reach, the evaluation found that the eligibility criteria and process of admissions met best practices in terms of being objective and evidence based. However, there is an issue related to reaching its target groups including youth, Aboriginal men and women, and other historically disadvantaged groups. Although current DTCs are still primarily admitting high-risk clients (which is also a best practice), concerns were expressed that lower-risk clients are applying.

In accordance with best practices, the court component provides structure to the DTC program, and the evaluation results indicate that the DTC court process is generally working well. However, there is a potential improvement on the use of sanctions in the court in an effective and consistent way.

Recommendation 3:

It is recommended that the DTCFP examine ways in which it can work with the provincial/territorial partners to share lessons learned and best practices among the DTCs, and more particularly, best practices for court and treatment components.

More specifically, it is recommended that the DTCFP work with the DTCs to strengthen the adherence to the eligibility criteria, ensuring they serve the optimal target population most in need of the program and at greatest risk of relapse and recidivism. Furthermore, DTCs should appropriately match their services to the needs and risk level of their client population.

Agreed. The DTCFP team will continue to work with provinces and territories through the Permanent FPT Working Group with a view to sharing lessons learned and best practices. This will include assessment approaches in regards to determining DTC eligibility. Senior Director, Policy Implementation Directorate March 2016

Housing Gap

The DTCFP supports the effectiveness of DTCs by providing funding for the treatment and rehabilitation systems and services required by DTCs. Such support is provided while at the same time respecting the provinces’ constitutional responsibility for the administration of justice as well as the independence of the judiciary.

Another gap that remains since the last evaluation is housing. The DTCFP followed recommendations made in the 2009 evaluation and worked with Human Resource and Skills Development Canada to fund two pilot housing projects. Evaluations of both projects showed promising results in terms of the retention of DTC participants; however, the issue of sustainable funding for DTC housing remains.

Recommendation 4:

It is recommended that the DTCFP work collaboratively with provincial/territorial partners to discuss issues affecting DTC effectiveness, including housing.

Agreed. The DTCFP team will continue to work with provinces and territories through the Permanent FPT Working Group to identify solutions for issues affecting DTC effectiveness. In addition, where appropriate, the DTCFP team will assist provinces and territories in obtaining assistance from other federal departments in order to address issues affecting DTCs. Senior Director, Policy Implementation Directorate March 2016

Performance Measurement

The DTCIS data was more complete than was evidenced in 2009, allowing the present evaluation to include analyses of the data. However, the DTCFP still needs to streamline the DTCIS so that it will support evaluations in the future.

Recommendation 5:

It is recommended that the DTCFP work with the Evaluation Division and provincial/territorial partners to determine ways to improve the DTCIS quality and consistency of data in order to support the next evaluation and departmental reporting requirements.

Agreed. All new three-year funding agreements will require provinces and territories to provide the data using the revised DTCIS to allow for consistent, national data collection. The revised DTCIS was developed in consultation with the Evaluation Division and provincial/territorial partners. Senior Director, Policy Implementation Directorate March 2016
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