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Seven Common Characteristics of Juvenile Mental Health Courts

NCJ Number
Lisa Callahan, Ph.D.; Henry J. Steadman, Ph.D.; Lindsay Gerus
Date Published
4 pages
This paper reports on the common characteristics that can be found in juvenile mental health courts.
This paper reports on the common characteristics of juvenile mental health courts that were identified as part of a National Institute of Justice-funded study. The characteristics were identified through a national survey, stakeholder interviews, participant focus groups, parent/guardian focus groups, stakeholder focus groups, and extensive interviews with current mental health court participants and their guardians. The seven common characteristics of juvenile mental health courts (MHC) 1) a regularly scheduled special docket; 2) a less formal style of interaction among court officials and participants; 3) age-appropriate screening and assessment for trauma, substance use, and mental disorders; 4) team management of JHMC participant's treatment and supervision; 5) system-wide accountability enforced by the juvenile court; 6) use of graduated incentives and sanctions; and 7) defined criteria for program success. The paper notes that while these characteristics are not required for use in JMHCs they can act as a blueprint for communities to use when establishing their own JMHCs. Online resources, references