In 1992, Judge Thomas Adams saw the need for an alternative to the traditional juvenile justice system for young first-time offenders and founded Santa Barbara County Teen Court.

Teen Court, a program of the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, has served thousands of teens and their parents throughout the county and has a remarkable track record of success.

Santa Barbara County’s Teen Court is the oldest Teen Court in California.

Each week, local judges, attorneys and law enforcement personnel act as Teen Court judges and teen peers act as the jury. Since its inception, more than 20,000 teens have been diverted from the juvenile justice system.

The public is invited to witness the comprehensive prevention program by attending the Teen Court Open House from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Santa Barbara County Superior Court, 118 E. Figueroa St., Department 10.

The event will include refreshments, a Teen Court judges overview, a peer review hearing and a question-and-answer session.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Marilyn Luna at 805.963.1433 x103 or

— Tess Greenberg is a media and special events coordinator for the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.