Mental Health Glossary

What follows are brief definitions of key terms or additional information about phrases used in the juvenile justice field. While not exhaustive, these are intended to provide additional information for users of the site.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

CHIP is a federally funded program started in 1997, which expanded coverage for health-related expenses to uninsured children whose families could not qualify for Medicaid.

Evidence-Based Practices

Evidence-based practices are standardized treatment programs that have been demonstrated to improve outcomes for youth across multiple research groups. They are programs that have been studied in both research settings and in real world environments and been found in both settings to produce the intended outcome.

Evidence-Based Assessment Tools

Examples include:

    • Voice-Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (Voice-DISC)
    • Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS)
    • Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths-Comprehensive (CANS-C)
    • Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA) – formerly known as Child Behavior Checklist
    • Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC-2)
    • Practical Adolescent Dual Diagnosis Interview (PADDI)

Evidence-Based Screening Tools

Examples include:

    • Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Version 2 (MAYSI-2)
    • Global Appraisal of Individual Needs-Short Screener (GAIN-SS)
    • Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire (SIQ)
    • Problem Oriented Screening Instrument for Teenagers (POSIT)

Key Decision Points in the Juvenile Justice System

Examples of key decision points in juvenile justice include:

    • Juvenile court intake
    • Pretrial detention
    • Disposition or sentencing
    • Probation
    • Placement in a juvenile corrections assessment center
    • Community reentry

Multi-Disciplinary Team

A group of professionals from diverse disciplines that meets regularly to share information and provide comprehensive assessment and consultation for youth in the juvenile justice system.

Risk Assessment

A risk assessment instrument is used to determine a youth’s likelihood of re-offending and not to assess or diagnose mental health issues.

Specialty Courts

How specialty courts generally work:

    • Youth voluntarily participate.
    • After being charged, their case is handled in the specialty court instead of the regular delinquency court.
    • Specialty courts are operated by a team generally consisting of the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, probation officer, and a treatment provider.
    • Usually involve drug and/or mental health treatment, frequent drug testing, close court supervision and frequent court appearances, and family involvement and support.
    • If the youth successfully completes the specialty court program, their charges are generally dismissed, though in some cases they may only avoid incarceration.

Systems of Care Model

“Systems of care” refers to highly collaborative approach to serving youth with serious mental health issues, in which youth, families, and agencies work together to provide community-based services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate.

Trauma-Informed System

According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a trauma-informed system: realizes how trauma impacts staff and clients, knows how trauma presents in people, responds to trauma in staff and clients, and trauma-informed systems refrain from re-traumatizing individuals.