Sandoval County Juvenile Drug Court Program

Southwest Family Guidance Center is the treatment provider for the Juvenile Drug Court Program in Sandoval County. With an emphasis on trauma-informed care, the Sandoval County Juvenile Drug Court Program is designed to address the individual needs of youth who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. The program utilizes multiple interventions including: drug testing, individual/family/group counseling, youth support services, regular court appearances, and educational opportunities. Both the Sandoval Country Drug Court and Adapted IOP Programs utilize the Seven Challenges treatment model.


The Seven Challenges is an evidence-based, comprehensive counseling program for youth with drug, alcohol and other problems. It is designed to motivate youth to evaluate their lives, consider changes they may wish to make, and then succeed in implementing those changes. It supports youth to taking control of their own rehabilitation.

The Seven Challenges approach is unique and more effective because it does not assume or assert that the youth should abstain from the use of drugs and alcohol, but instead helps them take a complete and honest inventory of why they use, and the positive and negative effects of these behaviors. A youth who is able to make their own determination that the behavior should be changed is far more likely to have the ability to make the change in a lasting and sustainable manner.

The Seven Challenges approach is designed to help youth look at what is happening in their lives, recognize what is going well and what is problematic. As youth go through this model, the “challenge process” is used to help them make thoughtful decisions in their life, including about drugs and alcohol.

In the group, young people address their drug problems, co-occurring life skill deficits, as well as situational, social and psychological challenges. Counselors provide a structure and framework for individual sessions, the content of each session is not scripted, but flexible to the immediate needs of youth. “We do not fit the youth into our program; rather, we wrap the program around the concerns of the youth we serve.”

The Seven Challenges

  1. We decided to open up and talk honestly about ourselves and about alcohol and other drugs.
  2. We looked at what we liked about alcohol and other drugs, and why we were using them.
  3. We looked at our use of alcohol and other drugs to see if it has caused harm or could cause harm.
  4. We looked at our responsibility and the responsibility of others for our problems.
  5. We thought about where we seemed to be headed, where we wanted to go, and what we wanted to accomplish.
  6. We made thoughtful decisions about our lives and about our use of alcohol and other drugs.
  7. We followed through on our decisions about our lives and drug use. If we saw problems, we went back to earlier challenges and mastered them.