Mental Health Screening and Assessment in Juvenile Justice

Mental Health Screening and Assessment in Juvenile Justice

Mental Health Screening and Assessment in Juvenile Justice

Mental Health Screening and Assessment in Juvenile Justice

Synopsis

"It is well known that many children and adolescents entering the juvenile justice system suffer from serious mental disorders. Yet until now, few resources have been available to help mental health and juvenile justice professionals accurately identify the mental health needs of the youths in their care. Filling a crucial gap, this volume offers a practical primer on screening and assessment together with in-depth reviews of over 20 widely used instruments. Comprehensive and timely, it brings together leading experts to provide authoritative guidance in this challenging area of clinical practice. Grounded in extensive research and real world practical experience, this is an indispensable reference for clinical and forensic psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists, as well as juvenile justice administrators and others who work with youths in the justice system. An informative resource for students, it is an ideal supplemental text for graduate-level courses." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

At the time we were completing the editing of this volume, a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee announced its review of a report on the incarceration of youths in our nation's juvenile pretrial detention centers. Unlike federal legislative reviews of juvenile justice issues in the early 1990s, this one did not focus on the escalation of youth violence and how to contain it. Instead, it affirmed that at least 15,000 youths annually are incarcerated upon their arrest not because they are especially dangerous, but because of their acute mental disorders. They are locked up in juvenile detention centers until someone can find psychiatric or community mental health resources to provide them treatment.

This report is only the latest evidence of a crisis in our nation's mental health services for children, and the impact of that crisis on delinquency and the juvenile justice system. It became apparent about a decade ago, and its necessary implications for juvenile justice policy are now fully acknowledged by federal agencies, state juvenile justice systems, and administrators of juvenile justice programs. the public safety and child welfare mandates of the juvenile justice system must attend to the extraordinary proportion of youths with mental disorders who are in the custody of our juvenile justice facilities. There is widespread agreement that it is bad policy to presume that the juvenile justice system must become our nation's mental health system for youths. But federal and state requirements have now made it clear that juvenile justice programs must be an active, affirmative, and effective part of the solution.

Two undeniable components in that mandate have arisen as clear obligations for the juvenile justice system. One is the obligation to identify mental health needs among youths in its custody. the other is to develop emergency systems of care—strategies for emergency mental health services, diversion, and collaboration with mental health agencies—to respond to youths' mental health needs as they enter the system, and to blend necessary mental health treatment with other delinquency rehabilitation programming for mentally disordered youths who remain in custody because of their serious delinquency.

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