Veterans’ Health

Project Title

Strengthening and Increasing Access to Veterans Treatment Courts Statewide

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Veterans’ Health

Date Awarded

June 18, 2024




In Progress


Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs) were founded in Buffalo, New York, in 2008 as a type of problem-solving court that provides treatment as an alternative to incarceration for eligible veterans with mental health or substance use disorders. VTCs offer a lifeline for veterans encountering the criminal justice system, but access to these courts was not historically universal across New York State. A law enacted in 2021 now authorizes the transfer of cases from jurisdictions without VTCs to adjacent counties that have them, but In 2024, NYHealth awarded the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic (VLC) at Syracuse University’s College of Law a grant to provide comprehensive legal services to VTC participants in New York State to increase their likelihood of success in treatment. NYHealth also awarded a complementary grant to the New York State Defenders Association to work with existing and new VTC judges and court professionals to facilitate successful case transfers.

Under this grant, the VLC will leverage a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that VTC participants have the legal services they need to support their recovery efforts. The VLC will conduct outreach to and coordinate with VTCs to incorporate legal services—covering areas such as government benefits, family law, housing, and debt management—into their treatment programs. It will also create a blueprint and provide support to other legal clinics in New York about how to replicate this model.