Assessment & Development

The mission of Assessment and Development Services (ADS) is to provide leadership in the production and dissemination of innovative and rigorous evidence and practices that align with the agency mission and strategic plan.  ADS achieves this mission through research, policy analysis, program development, training and consultation to improve processes and practices within the Family Court and throughout Family Court Services. 

Director:  Pamela Behle, PhD

Research and Development

The purpose of this department is to provide accurate data and information to help Family Court Services Administration develop policy and make decisions on an empirical basis; and to conduct research on topics that advance knowledge in the areas of juvenile justice, family justice, case processing and related topics.  This department also provides innovative leadership in advising Family Court Services Administration in selecting and guiding implementation of evidence-based programming and services.  For additional information, contact the Management Analyst, Justine Greve, at (816) 881-6549.

Training Department

Staff in the Training Department provide professional training, education and support to the 16th Circuit employees through online and instructor-led courses.  Training records and histories for all department staff are managed through Epicor.  For additional information, contact the Manager, Natasha Edwards, at (816) 881-6501.

Family Drug Court

The Family Drug Court Program (established April 1998) provides judicially managed community-based services, close supervision and specialized treatment to parents whose substance abuse places their children at risk of substantially increased intervention by the justice system. 

The primary goal for the Family Drug Court (FDC) is to stop substance abuse by parents which threatens the safety and permanency of their dependent children. 

Specific eligibility criteria govern admission to the program.  Services offered to participants include substance abuse treatment, mental health assessment, academic and vocational assessment, transitional living, and other services as needed or required.  For additional information, contact the program manager, Brittani Williams at 816-435-4757.


The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) began 25 years ago to reduce the reliance on detention for court-involved youth.  Detention has long-lasting negative consequences for juvenile development as well as public safety.  It also has implications for racial justice, as minority youth are often detained at higher rates than their white counterparts.

JDAI provides training and technical assistance to over 300 sites across the country.  Core strategies include using risk assessments and objective detention admission criteria, expanding alternatives to detention, reducing the number of youth detained for rule violations, collaborating with community partners, and using data to guide decision making.

Since becoming involved in the initiative in 2006, Jackson County has redefined detention as a continuum - adding a non-secure residential facility and home detention with electronic monitoring.  The Court saw a 67% reduction in the average daily population of detention between 2006 and 2019 with no increase in the rate of failure to appear at hearings or new charges while awaiting adjudication.

Research & Development monitors a number of metrics related to detention, and an Executive Steering Committee consisting of community stakeholders meets twice a year to review the Court's progress.

For more information about JDAI, see or contact the JDAI Site Coordinator, Justine Greve, at (816) 881-6549.