States Selected for SAMHSA-MacArthur Initiative to Divert Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth with Behavioral Health Needs
March 31, 2015 | Grantee News | Juvenile Justice
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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and MacArthur announce that New York, Nevada, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have been selected to participate in Improving Diversion Polices and Programs for Justice-Involved Youth with Behavioral Health Disorders: An Integrated Policy Academy-Action Network Initiative.

The presence of behavioral health disorders in youth creates unique challenges for the juvenile justice and education systems at both the policy and program levels. To achieve positive outcomes for these youth, juvenile justice, behavioral health, and education systems must increase collaboration, continuity of care, and access to integrated, evidence-based, or promising-practice screening and treatment models. This Initiative will address the growing concern over the school to prison pipeline through the creation of models that reduce movement of youth out of schools and into juvenile justice settings because of behavioral issues that result from mental health or substance abuse challenges.  Participating states will develop systems to support keeping young people with behavioral health needs in school with access to community-based treatment resources instead of juvenile justice system processing.

This Policy Academy-Action Network Initiative integrates two models:

  • Using SAMHSA’s Policy Academy mechanism, state leadership teams will convene to learn about effective interventions and the latest research.
  • The Foundation’s Models for Change Action Network strategy will support and link these state leadership teams to work collaboratively on similar innovations in policy and practice.

Throughout the duration of this initiative, participating states will receive technical assistance to guide the establishment of models and strategies for diverting youth with behavioral health disorders as early as possible from the juvenile justice system to appropriate community-based behavioral health services.

This project is coordinated by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice at Policy Research Associates, Inc. and the Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc. For more information, please contact Jacqui Greene at 866-962-6455.

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