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The School Responder Model (SRM): Virtual Toolbox

NCJ Number
Date Published

This “Virtual ToolBox” developed by the National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice presents the core components and guiding principles of the School Responder Model (SRM).


Through collaboration with schools working to route students with behavioral health needs to treatment instead of discipline, the National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice facilitated the development of the SRM, stemming from activities beginning in 2007 designed to identify and develop effective responses to the mental health needs of youth involved with the justice system. In this alternative approach, school staff conduct mental health screening with students or otherwise establish a behavioral health response based on school capacity to have the screening conducted by non-school staff. Following screening, those students who may need support for mental health, substance use, or trauma exposure are referred to clinical services for assessment, case planning, and service provision. Screening, which is part of behavioral health response implementation, is one core component of a school responder model. Other core components are cross-system collaboration, family and youth engagement, and the creation of formal structures and policies. Successful implementation of all four of these core components is necessary for adhering to the school response model framework. School responder models aim to divert from justice system involvement and school suspension/expulsion when safe and possible by addressing the root causes of the student misbehavior and establishing alternative pathways to meet student needs. Access to 9 online resources is provided

Date Published: January 1, 2022