This presentation was delivered at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) Annual Conference in Washington, DC, on July 15, 2013, by Senior Research Associate Lisa Callahan and Project Assistant Lindsay Gerus. The topic of the presentation is the results of a study of juvenile mental health courts (JMHCs) in the United States. The National Institute of Justice funded the study of two sites: The Crossroads Program in Summit County, Ohio, and the Individualized Deferred Disposition Court in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. 

Dr. Callahan and Ms. Gerus studied the youth served by JMHCs and Juvenile Transfer Advocacy Units (JTAUs), the intervention practices used by JMHCs and JTAUs, and the impact of JMHCs on youth in contact with the juvenile justice system. Their research was conducted by hosting focus groups and gathering demographic data about justice-involved adolescents. Participants were recruited for 7 focus groups between July and September of 2012 for 1.5-2 hours. Participants received informed consent forms by mail and were compensated $100 for their participation. Judges, probation officers, community treatment providers, district attorneys, public defenders, and program coordinators were also interviewed.  

The study concluded that youth and their parents are both in need of assistance when an adolescent becomes involved with the juvenile justice system. Collaboration and open communication between families, court personnel, judicial staff, the community, and schools are crucial to providing comprehensive services to youth and families. Probation officers need to be well equipped to handle the mental health of youth and can be an excellent resource for parents. Youth reported JMHCs as being valuable to their future. Full results are available in the presentation. 

This resource was first shared in 2013. 

(Presentation, PDF, 3 MB)