Law Enforcement-Based Diversion: Strategic Innovations from the Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network provides an update and summary on the work of the Nation Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice’s (NCMHJJ’s) Law Enforcement-Based Diversion Strategic Innovation Group. While standard Crisis Intervention Team training is offered to most police officers, it focuses primarily on response techniques for adults, not adolescents. To address this void, the NCMHJJ Action Network and the three participating states (Colorado, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania), working with the Colorado Regional Community Policing Institute and other national experts, expanded the existing CIT strategy by creating a supplemental, 8 hour training curriculum—Crisis Intervention Teams for Youth (CIT-Y).

CIT-Y trains police officers on response techniques appropriate for youth with mental health needs. It is targeted to law enforcement officials who have previously undergone standard CIT training, who understand the basic principles and concepts of CIT, but who are looking for more specific information on youth. In addition to developing a training curriculum, the states also worked to develop partnerships between their existing CIT programs and the mental health system to ensure that mental health resources are available to law enforcement officers when they respond to crisis situations involving youth. This document describes the MHTC-JJ and the progress participating states made one year into the implementation of the curriculum.

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 NCMHJJ. 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 2010.

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