Funding Mental Health Services for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: Challenges and Opportunities explores the issue of funding for mental health and substance abuse services for youth in the juvenile justice system. It describes funding options currently available through public and private health insurance, entitlement programs, and block grants. It concludes with a discussion of best practices and the description of a successful program model.

This document is designed to offer program administrators information on how to leverage funds to provide services to youth with mental health problems who are in contact with the juvenile justice system. In addition, perhaps policymakers will consider eliminating legal and regulatory barriers that impede access to services.

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 2002.

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