Addressing Mental Health Needs of Children in Juvenile Justice System
July 18, 2003 | Press Release | Juvenile Justice

MacArthur has announced three grants totaling more than $1.5 million in support of organizations working to address the mental health needs of young people involved in the juvenile justice system.

"Juvenile justice systems across the country are often overwhelmed with young offenders with mental health and substance abuse problems," said Jonathan F. Fanton, President of MacArthur. "This is a dangerous trend and many corrections leaders are looking for help to address these issues. We are pleased to support organizations whose missions are to help state and local systems improve their practices and better meet the needs of these young people. Research has shown that helping them benefits society as well through increased public safety, lower adult crime, and reduced future costs."

The largest grant-$1.2 million over three years-was awarded to the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice at Policy Research, Inc., to promote awareness of the needs of youth with mental disorders involved in the juvenile justice system. The National Center disseminates research and best practices in the field to help influence practice and policy at the national, state, and county levels. The grant will be used by the Center to continue its collection and dissemination of research and other resources, its technical assistance efforts, and for an evaluation of its programs and services.

The Council for Juvenile Correctional Administrators, a national membership organization of state youth correctional chief executive officers, received a grant of $375,000 over three years to help provide leadership training for its members and to conduct a survey of the services and treatments used at juvenile correction agencies nationwide, which include profiles of the youth served and their needs. The training is intended to help administrators become effective leaders and to help them promote practices and policies that create better conditions for youthful offenders, with the provision of adequate mental health treatment as a priority. The Council serves as a clearinghouse of information for members seeking ideas for best practices and for lawmakers who want more information about juvenile justice issues.

A grant of $60,000 was awarded to the National Center for Juvenile Justice to develop an assessment tool to help set benchmarks for reform efforts in specific states. It would outline the characteristics, practices, and outcomes of an ideal juvenile justice system as a way of gauging the progress of efforts to promote improvement and reform. The Center for Juvenile Justice has 30 years of experience of research and analysis in the field of juvenile justice reform.


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