Screening and Assessment: Identifying Mental Health Needs for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

A significant majority of youth who are involved with the juvenile justice system have mental health and/or substance use disorders. It is critical to identify and respond to the needs associated with these disorders as early as possible and at all critical stages of juvenile justice processing. The most effective approaches use reliable and valid screening tools to rapidly identify youth who may have significant disorders and needs, and use empirically-based assessment methods to develop an intervention plan. This presentation provides a brief overview of screening and assessment, and describes reliable tools available to identify and then assess youth with needs related to mental and substance use disorders. Strategies for effective and efficient collaboration between juvenile justice professionals and community-based behavioral health care providers to meet the needs of these youth are also discussed.

Dr. Robert Kinscherff, Senior Associate, National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, and Associate Vice President and Core Faculty, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology

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Screening and Assessment: Identifying MH Needs in JJ Youth