These are just some of the topics and issues that are relevant to a discussion on how to improve the field's understanding of and response to the mental health needs of youth in the juvenile justice system. There are many more that merit examination. For example, given what the field is learning about the high prevalence of co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders, emerging directions and strategies should emphasize approaches that rely on more integrated mental health and substance abuse treatment approaches. Although this review has dealt with youth in the juvenile justice system as a whole, research on variations in prevalence, needs, and types of treatment services must also consider issues surrounding particular populations such as minority youth and females in the juvenile justice system.|
Nonetheless, several critical points emerge from the preceding review. First, a large number of youth who come in contact with the juvenile justice system require mental health treatment. Second, there is growing recognition of these needs and of the inadequacies of current assessments and services. Third, a set of clear strategies and useful models and tools are emerging. Much more is neededfunding, social and political will, and further researchbut the foundation of a recognition of the problem and the development of promising practices appears to be in place as we enter the new millennium.