+ How to Design Services

Find a Model

      • Looking for a comprehensive model to identify and treat youth with mental health and substance abuse needs in contact with the juvenile justice system? See this Blueprint for Change (2007) from Kathleen R. Skowyra and Joseph J. Cocozza, PhD, at the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. The document includes detailed descriptions of promising work at the community level.
      • Need a quick overview to give legislators? Hand them this brief guidebook (2011) from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Go here for the full juvenile justice guidebook for lawmakers .
      • Want to improve your state’s health and mental health systems and improve continuity of care for youth? See what The California Endowment accomplished in this collection of publications and reports (2010) on promising practices.
      • How can your community best serve juvenile justice youth through a “systems of care” model? Learn more from the Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health.

How to Implement, Evaluate, and Sustain Programs

+ How Many Youth in the Juvenile Justice System Have Mental and Substance Use Issues?

Review Multi-State Studies

      • A nationwide study published in 2010 by Gail A. Wasserman and colleagues, which  found “(a) varying mental health needs across settings, (b) prior justice contact relating strongly to need, (c) girls’ unique mental health disorders, and (d) racial/ethnic differences in diagnostic profiles.”
      • See also, a 2008 national study of 70,423 youths from 283 juvenile justice probation, detention, or corrections programs by Gina M. Vincent, et. al., that examined the prevalence of mental health issues across sex and race.
      • See  Jennie L. Shufelt and Joseph J. Cocozza for a comprehensive study of youth with mental health disorders in the juvenile justice system (2006).

Studies of Special Populations

+ Screening and Assessing Youth in the Juvenile Justice System with Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Issues

How to Choose the Right Tool and Implement it Well

For a four-phase, ten-step guide to screening, see the Mental Health Screening in Juvenile Justice Settings section of the Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Collaborative for Change’s website.

      • You can find an updated list of tools to identify mental health needs and risk to reoffend -- and what factors to consider in choosing and implementing them -- in this 2011 brief from Dr. Gina Vincent and the Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health.
          • For a brief guide to mental health screening in juvenile justice and key issues to implementation and using the results, see this 2007 publication from Models for Change.
          • For useful background on the role of screening and assessment in juvenile justice, guidelines for selecting the right screening or assessment tools, and a menu of screening and assessment instruments with basic information about each one, see this 2004 resource guide for practitioners authored by Thomas Grisso and Lee A. Underwood.
          • For an in-depth guide, see Mental Health Screening and Assessment in Juvenile Justice (The Guilford Press, 2005), edited by Thomas Grisso, Gina Vincent, and Daniel Seagrave, which reviews mental health screening and assessment tools as well as risk assessment tools and tools for evaluating competence.

Legal Issues with Screening and Assessing Youth: Protecting their Rights

+ What’s the Right Treatment Program?

Find Evidence-Based Practices for Prevention, Intervention, and Aftercare

Cost-Benefit Analyses of Evidence-Based Programs

Use brief reports from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) to compare costs and benefits of numerous treatment programs for youth in the justice system.

Suicide Prevention Resources

Trauma-Informed Care

+ Diversion

Divert Youth with Mental and Substance Abuse Disorders from the Juvenile Justice System

      • See this Juvenile Diversion Guidebook from Models for Change on implementing effective juvenile diversion programs. For a web-based adaptation of the juvenile diversion guidebook that focuses on diversion for justice-involved youth with behavioral health needs, go here.
      • Review brief information from Models for Change on strategic innovations to divert youth with mental health issues in schools, at probation intake, and when they encounter law enforcement.
      • To divert youth from secure detention, examine these policy and program briefs from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI); much more information is available at the JDAI Help Desk.

Treatment Courts

              • The second brief details two examples of programs that have successfully expanded their services to provide individualized and comprehensive treatment to youth with co-occuring disorders.
              • The last brief focuses on the importance of serving youth in drug courts with an integrated screening, assessment, and treatment planning process that addresses both substance abuse and mental health disorders in a mutual context.

      • Mental Health Courts
          • For an overview of juvenile mental health courts, particularly focusing on Alameda County’s Collaborative Mental Health Court, see this 2011 report from the National Center for Youth Law.
          • In 2012, a national survey of juvenile mental health courts found that these courts are not systematically collecting outcome data.

+ Funding

+ Protecting the Legal Rights of Youth

Protect Youth from Self-Incrimination During Screening

How to Share Confidential Information

      • The Child Welfare League of America and Juvenile Law Center produced a toolkit on information sharing within the juvenile justice system in 2008 – you can download it here. Recorded webinars related to the toolkit can also be found at the same location, along with a presentation on information sharing and federal law.
      • For a concise overview of mental heath screening and information sharing, with recommendations: see this 2007 publication from Models for Change.
      • See the Juvenile Competence to Stand Trial section of the Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Collaborative for Change’s website for further information and resources on developing juvenile competence statutes, conducting competency assessments, and competency remediation programs.

Evaluating Youth Competency to Stand Trial

      • For an in-depth examination of due process issues involved in screening and assessing youth in the juvenile justice system with regard to self-incrimination and competency, see Thomas Grisso’s 2004 book, Double Jeopardy: Adolescent Offenders with Mental Disorders. You can find the executive summary here.
      • Dr. Grisso’s 2005 book, Evaluating Juveniles’ Adjudicative Competence: A Guide for Clinical Practice (Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Press), provides clinicians with a method to assess a young person’s competence to stand trial.

Work with Lawmakers to Ensure Youth Are Competent to Stand Trial

+ Improving Services for Youth/Family Engagement

Families Make a Difference

      • New research from the “Families as Partners” program suggests that regular family visits to confined youth are linked to better youth behavior and school performance.

Engaging Families to Ensure Youth Success

      • Family members have made comprehensive recommendations about how to build a more effective and family-inclusive juvenile justice system.
      • For families: this toolkit from Washington State, A Guidebook for Implementing Juvenile Justice 101, provides justice-involved families with essential information about the juvenile justice system, supports, and community resource connections. Here’s another juvenile justice guide for families from Pennsylvania, and another from Illinois.
      • For juvenile justice professionals seeking to increase family involvement at the local and state levels: see “Family Involvement in Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System.” See also a workbook from the Campaign for Youth Justice that analyzes current family engagement and family partnership practices in juvenile justice systems across the country and provides practical tools and resources for undertaking a family-driven approach to juvenile justice.
      • For families and policymakers: this inventory of family resource publications can assist families in navigating the juvenile justice system and to advocate for change; there are also resources for policymakers on working with families to address barriers.
      • For families and professionals working toward family-driven care for youth, see Closing the Gap: Cultural Perspectives on Family-Driven Care, which discusses the role and importance of incorporating culture, as defined by families, into efforts to provide services.
      • This toolkit from The National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center (NDTAC) provides multiple tools for facilities seeking to better engage families.
      • This family guide provides information to families with children in juvenile facilities on how to connect with your child’s facility school and keep your child on track to complete school.
      • See Law Enforcement’s Leadership Role in Juvenile Justice Reform for recommendations by the International Association of Chiefs of Police to their members on how to build partnerships with youth and their families.
      • “Juvenile Defense Attorneys and Family Engagement” provides new insights on how juvenile defenders and families can work together as a team to create the best outcomes for youth.
      • “Family-Driven Justice,” by Neelum Arya, argues that a family-driven justice style is needed to transform the juvenile justice system into a system that serves youth and families without sacrificing public safety. The article describes five features of what a transformed juvenile justice system would look like.

Start a Family Advocacy Program

      • Are you a system professional or a family member? Then check out this online, interactive “Family Advocacy Toolkit” from Colorado. It explains what family advocates do, gives examples of family advocacy programs around the country, and has resources tailored to professionals and family members.

See this inventory of family resource publications that can assist families in navigating the juvenile justice system and advocating for change; there are also resources for policymakers on working with families  to address barriers.

For Further Information . . .

To learn more about this issue and about available opportunities for training and technical assistance, visit Collaborative for Change led by the National Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Center.

For resources on mental health and a broad range of other juvenile justice issues, visit the Models for Change website section on mental health: