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Impact of Mental Health Services Implementation on Juvenile Court Placements: An Examination of New Jersey's SOC Initiative

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 23 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2012 Pages: 447-464
Bruce D. Stout; David Holleran
Date Published
December 2012
18 pages
This study examined the impact of a system of care (SOC) initiative on out-of-home placement to juvenile correctional facilities for juveniles with mental health disorders.
A growing body of research indicates that the majority of juveniles in the justice system have a diagnosable mental health disorder. With juvenile justice systems typically inadequately equipped to meet the treatment needs of these juveniles, increasing reliance is being placed on intersystem cooperation between the juvenile justice and adolescent mental health systems. The system of care (SOC) model has become a popular strategy for fostering intersystem coordination and collaboration and for diverting youth from the justice system to the mental health system. Local-level data from the first State to implement a SOC model on a statewide basis are analyzed. Interrupted time series analysis is used to assess whether implementation of an SOC is associated with a decrease in out-of-home placements ordered by the juvenile justice system. In 11 of 14 court jurisdictions no significant decreases in court-ordered out-of-home placements associated with SOC implementation are observed. The implications of the findings from this study for juvenile justice policy implementation are discussed. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.