Veterans’ Health



Funding Area

Veterans’ Health


December 19, 2022


Although most veterans adjust to civilian life without major difficulties, many returning veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and substance use issues. Behavioral health issues among veterans are associated with various related problems such as homelessness, unemployment, strained relationships, and criminal behavior. Sometimes these challenges lead to involvement with the criminal justice system.

Founded in Buffalo, NY, in 2008 and replicated across the country over the past decade, Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs) are a type of specialty court geared toward veterans who have been charged with non-violent offenses and have mental health or substance use issues. VTCs provide an alternative to incarceration, giving justice-involved veterans a second chance by providing them with the treatment they need while allowing them to stay in their own communities.

To ensure every justice-involved veteran in New York State has access not only to a VTC if needed, but also to the highest quality support possible during their treatment, NYHealth began investing in the evaluation, replication, and strengthening of VTCs beginning in 2009 with the ultimate goal of ensuring universal access statewide. Since then, we’ve made series of grants leading up to a significant policy win in 2021—when a bill that allows for universal access to VTCs for all veterans in New York State was signed into law.

Read about the grant outcomes, lessons learned, and recommendations for the future.