Developing Service Delivery Systems for Evaluation of Juveniles’ Competence to Stand Trial: A Guide for States and Counties is designed to help states or counties develop a “forensic evaluation system” (FES) for providing courts evaluations of juveniles’ competence to stand trial (JCST). An FES for JCST evaluations has three components that are described in more detail in the guide:

  • Module 1: Developing a JCST Evaluation Service Delivery System—An organizational structure and procedures within which JCST evaluations are provided to the courts
  • Module 2: Creating Evaluation Standards—Criteria that JCST examiners should meet when performing JCST evaluations and writing reports
  • Module 3: Quality Control: Developing a Process to Apply the Standards—Ways to ensure that the evaluation standards for examinations are implemented properly by examiners.

This guide aims to assist states in one part of this implementation phase, assuring that courts and attorneys can obtain reliable forensic evaluations to assist the juvenile court in reaching decisions about CST in juvenile cases. JCST evaluations require a specialized process that is similar to such evaluations in criminal court in some ways yet dissimilar in others. This guide also focuses on developing a FES within which court-ordered JCST evaluations are performed and provides a structure for policymakers and administrators to think about the development of the system or modifying pretrial evaluation systems to maximize efficient use of scarce resources.

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 2017.

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