Screening and Assessing Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Among Youth in the Juvenile Justice System is designed to provide clinicians and other professionals working with youth in the juvenile justice system with information about the most effective instruments to use to screen and assess for mental health and substance use disorders among youth at various points in the juvenile justice system.
Screening and assessment are essential steps in the process of appropriately identifying and responding to the behavioral health needs of youth in the juvenile justice system. It is critical that clinicians and other professionals working with youth in the juvenile justice system understand the importance of screening and assessment and how the information collected from these processes should be used to inform treatment and placement decisions. Despite the identified challenges to providing screening and assessment to youth in the juvenile justice system, and only limited empirical knowledge about how best to provide these services for justice-involved youth, a set of clear recommendations is emerging that can provide guidance to juvenile justice administrators, practitioners, and mental health professionals working with youth in the juvenile justice system:
- Screening should be performed on all youth at the earliest point of contact with the juvenile justice system.
- Assessments should be performed on those youth requiring further evaluation.
- Care should be taken to identify the most appropriate instruments for juvenile justice-involved youth.
- Need and risk levels need to be appropriately balanced.
- There is no one best way to provide mental health screening and assessment to youth in the juvenile justice system.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This resource was first shared in 2003.