In Brief

J U S T I C E    M A T T E R S
OJJDP-Supported Mental Health Initiatives and Programs

The following OJJDP-supported initiatives and programs target youth with mental health disorders in the juvenile justice system.

Assessing Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Disorders Among Juvenile Detainees

This program, implemented by Northwestern University, supplements an ongoing National Institute of Mental Health longitudinal study assessing alcohol, drug, and mental health disorders among juveniles in detention in Cook County, IL. The program, which OJJDP began funding in FY 1998, has three goals:

Bullet To determine how alcohol, drug, and mental disorders among juvenile detainees develop over time.

Bullet To investigate whether juvenile detainees receive needed psychiatric services after their cases reach disposition and they are back in the community or serving sentences.

Bullet To study how risk behaviors associated with violence, drug use, and HIV/AIDS develop over time, what the antecedents of these behaviors are, and how these behaviors are interrelated.

This project is unique because of its large sample size. It includes 1,833 youth from Chicago, IL, who were arrested and then interviewed between 1996 and 1998. The sample is stratified by gender, race (African American, non-Hispanic white, Hispanic), and age (10-13, 14-17). Investigators have completed initial interviews and have collected extensive archival data (e.g., arrest and incarceration history, health and/or mental health treatments) on each subject. They have been tracking the whereabouts of subjects and are beginning to reinterview these adolescents. The large sample size provides sufficient statistical power to study rare disorders, patterns of drug use, and risky, life-threatening behaviors.

Center for Students With Disabilities in the Juvenile Justice System

In FY 1999, OJJDP undertook a joint initiative with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services to establish the Center for Students With Disabilities in the Juvenile Justice System. The Attorney General and the Secretary of Education expect this project to significantly enhance juvenile justice system services for students with disabilities. Based on a combination of research, training, and technical assistance, these enhancements in prevention, educational services, and reintegration will improve results for children and youth with disabilities. The Center, implemented by the University of Maryland, provides guidance and assistance—based on research-validated practices—to States, schools, justice programs, families, and communities to design, implement, and evaluate comprehensive educational programs for students with disabilities who are within the juvenile justice system.

Juvenile Suicide in Confinement: A National Survey

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention recently awarded the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives (NCIA) a contract to conduct a national survey on the prevalence of juvenile suicide in confinement.

The project—initiated in August 1999 and supported by the National Juvenile Detention Association and Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators—will for the first time determine the extent and distribution of suicides in approximately 3,400 public and private juvenile detention centers, training schools, reception/diagnostic centers, ranches, camps, and farms throughout the Nation.

Answers to the survey questions will allow NCIA staff to gather descriptive data on demographic characteristics of suicide victims, characteristics of the incidents, and characteristics of the facilities in which the suicides occurred. A report of the findings will be available as a resource tool for both juvenile justice practitioners in expanding their knowledge base and juvenile correctional administrators in creating and/or revising policies and training curriculums on suicide prevention.

All juvenile facilities in which a suicide occurred during the 5-year period of 1995-99 are strongly encouraged to participate in the study. Data provided will be coded and held in the strictest confidence. Results of the study will be presented in summary fashion; therefore, victim and facility names will not appear in any report.

For more information on the Juvenile Suicide in Confinement Project, contact:

Lindsay M. Hayes, Project Director
National Center on Institutions and Alternatives
40 Lantern Lane
Mansfield, MA 02048
508-337-3083 (fax)

Circles of Care Program

In FY 1998, the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) initiated the Circles of Care Program to build the capacity of selected American Indian tribes to plan and develop a continuum of care for American Indian youth at risk of mental health, substance abuse, and delinquency problems. As part of multiyear joint efforts with CMHS, OJJDP entered into a 3-year interagency agreement to support the program, and in FY 1998 and FY 1999, OJJDP transferred funds to CMHS to support one of nine selected tribal sites.

Communities In Schools, Inc.—Federal Interagency Partnership

This program continues an ongoing national school dropout prevention model developed and implemented by Communities In Schools, Inc. (CIS). CIS provides training and technical assistance in adapting and implementing the CIS model in States and local communities. The dropout prevention model brings social, employment, mental health, drug prevention, entrepreneurial, and other resources to high-risk youth and their families in the school setting. During the Federal Interagency Partnership, CIS State organizations assume primary responsibility for local program replication. The partnership is based on enhancing the following:

Bullet CIS's training and technical assistance capabilities.

Bullet CIS's capability to introduce selected initiatives for youth at the local level.

Bullet CIS's information dissemination capability.

Bullet CIS's capability to network with Federal agencies on behalf of State and local CIS programs.

With OJJDP's support, CIS focuses on family strengthening initiatives that benefit both youth and their families.

Comprehensive Children and Families Mental Health Training and Technical Assistance

Under an FY 1999 3-year interagency agreement, OJJDP transferred funds to the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) to support training and technical assistance for the CMHS-funded Comprehensive Mental Health sites. These funds will enhance the involvement of the juvenile justice system in the systems of care being developed in each of the CMHS-funded sites.

Multisite, Multimodal Treatment Study of Children With Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

In 1992, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) began a study of the long-term efficacy of stimulant medication and intensive behavioral and educational treatment for children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Under an interagency agreement with NIMH, OJJDP has transferred funds to support this research, funded principally by NIMH. The study will continue through 2000, following the families with ADHD children identified in 1992 and a comparison group. OJJDP's participation, which began in FY 1998, allows investigators to study the subjects' delinquent behavior and any contact with the legal system, including arrests and court referrals.

Strengthening Services for Chemically Involved Children, Youth, and Families

This program, jointly supported by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS), provides services to children affected by parental substance use or abuse. OJJDP administers this training and technical assistance program, which began in FY 1998, with funds transferred to OJJDP by HHS's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, through a cooperative agreement with the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), a nonprofit organization. CWLA, which implements the program, has identified five residential child welfare sites, one in each of the CWLA's five regions, to demonstrate the effectiveness of integrating AOD prevention/treatment strategies into existing child welfare and juvenile justice programs and services. The goals of this integration of strategies are to educate staff and to improve outcomes for adolescents participating in the programs. CWLA also provides technical assistance to other member agencies replicating the various program models identified through their evaluations of the programs.

For Further Information

Additional sources of information on programs for children with disabilities and their parents are provided below:

Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice
American Institutes for Research
1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW. Suite 400
Washington, DC 20007
202-944-5454 (fax)

Austin Child Guidance Center
810 West 45th Street
Austin, TX 78751
512-454-9204 (fax)

Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health
1021 Prince Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
703-836-1040 (fax)

National Mental Health Association
Office of Prevention and Children's Mental Health Services
Juvenile Justice and Mental Health
1021 Prince Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-2971
703-684-5968 (fax)

Northwestern Human Services
620 Germantown Pike
Lafayette Hill, PA 19444

Youth & Family Centered Services
1705 Capital of Texas Highway South
Suite 500
Austin, TX 78746
512-327-4576 (fax)

Juvenile Justice - Youth With Mental Health Disorders:
Issues and Emerging Responses
April 2000,
Volume VII · Number 1