This study examined the effectiveness of a mental health wraparound program in juvenile justice.
This study found that youth in Connections, an individualized, coordinated mental health service within a juvenile department, was less likely to recidivate than youth receiving mental health juvenile justice services in a traditional manner. Youth in Connections took three times longer than youth in the comparison group to recidivate. The results suggest a possible significant impact on society through a reduction of the extreme social and economic costs associated with crime. Few studies exist that have specifically examined programs to treat youth in juvenile justice with mental health problems. However, there have been significant developments in the treatment of juvenile offenders and a number of innovative interventions which have emerged with promising results. One such program which combines an ecological approach with an element of social support is the wraparound-service planning, a process of organizing and coordinating service delivery for children and families with complex needs involved with multiple service providers. It is a tool used for individualized service planning by communities implementing a system of care for youth with severe mental health issues. This study focused on a mental health wraparound program based within juvenile justice. Connections, a community-based program implemented in the Clark County, WA in 2001 addresses the needs of juvenile offenders with emotional and behavioral disorders and their families. It employs a strength-based wraparound approach to link youth and families to local resources to better meet their needs. The study sought to extend knowledge about the impact of integrated wraparound service planning on youth and recidivism in juvenile justice. Tables, figures, and references