The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice (NCMHJJ), operated by Policy Research Inc., selected 10 sites to participate in a new training initiative designed to create sustainable mental health training capacity within state and local juvenile justice systems.  This effort, sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, will use a Train the Trainer model to train juvenile detention and correctional trainers using the Mental Health Training Curriculum for Juvenile Justice (MHTC-JJ).  Selected sites include:

  • Alaska
  • Maricopa County, Arizona
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • New Mexico
  • New York City
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee

The MHTC-JJ is a new training tool developed and tested by the Models for Change Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network that provides juvenile justice staff with basic information about adolescent development, mental health disorders common among youth in the juvenile justice system, and practical strategies for supervising and engaging youth with mental health needs.   Selected sites will receive a Train the Trainer from NCMHJJ expert trainers on the MHTC-JJ, along with assistance in providing follow-up trainings for site staff and participating in a two–part evaluation.  Expected outcomes include an increased understanding of youth mental health needs among staff who receive the training; staff that are better prepared to respond to youth appropriately, and an overall increase in staff competency handling crisis situations with youth who have a mental health need.

“We received 43 very strong applications from states and jurisdictions across the country which underscores the critical need that exists within the juvenile justice field for mental health training and resources”, said Dr. Joseph Cocozza, Director of the NCMHJJ.

Trainings are expected to begin in June 2012 and run through 2013. It is anticipated that close to 5,000 juvenile justice staff will be trained on the MHTC-JJ as a result of this effort.