This report summarizes the key accomplishments of the Mental Health/Juvenile Justice (MH/JJ) Action Network, with an emphasis on the achievements and models that have emerged as a result of the Action Network’s innovative Strategic Innovation Group process. The MH/JJ Action Network was established in 2007 to serve as a driving force for innovation and reform around how the juvenile justice system responds to youth with mental health needs. The Network, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and coordinated by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, represented a collaborative effort of eight states: the four states participating in the Foundation’s Models for Change initiative (Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana, and Washington) and four new partner states (Colorado, Connecticut, Ohio, and Texas).

The Network was established in response to growing concern, both within the Models for Change states and across the country, over the alarming number of youth involved with the juvenile justice system with mental health disorders, and the inadequate and often inappropriate response to these youth once they are involved with the system. Over the first 3 years of their collaboration, the 8 MH/JJ Action Network states established a national leadership community at the forefront of mental health and juvenile justice policy and practice, developed and implemented innovative solutions and strategies.

The National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice (NCYOJ) originally developed and maintained this resource. The NCYOJ was operated by Policy Research, Inc. and operated from 2001 to 2022 and was formerly known as the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. The NCYOJ improved life opportunities for youth through systems and practice improvement initiatives.

This resource should be viewed as a reference document. It has not been updated since its publication. In addition, this document has not been made 508 compliant. If you would like a 508 compliant version of this document, please email

This resource was first shared in 2009.

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