This brief examines the results of implementing a program—the Mental Health Training for Juvenile Justice (MHT-JJ) curriculum—that provides juvenile probation, detention, and corrections staff with critical information to improve their knowledge and skills related to working with as well as supervising youth. The prevalence of behavioral health conditions is disproportionately high among youth involved in the juvenile justice system, as compared to the general adolescent population. To effectively meet the goals of public safety and youth care and rehabilitation, juvenile justice practitioners must be prepared with the knowledge and skills required to meet the range of complex needs presented by the young people in their care.

However, many staff supervising youth on probation or in detention and correctional settings receive limited training on adolescent development, behavioral health, and child trauma, and they have few opportunities to develop a skillset for safely and effectively responding to associated behaviors. Outcome data for the MHT-JJ show that participants achieve significant knowledge-gain in critical areas addressed by the training and that this learning directly impacts their interactions with youth with behavioral health conditions.

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 2020.

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