A NATIONAL
FOCAL POINT


To improve policies and
programs for youth with
behavioral health disorders
in contact with the
juvenile justice system

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Mental Health Training for Juvenile Justice

The majority of youth in contact with the juvenile justice system experience behavioral health disorders. Many staff members in juvenile detention and correctional facilities have received little formal adolescent mental health training and lack the skills for effectively responding to these youth. To address this need, the Mental Health Training Curriculum for Juvenile Justice (MHTC-JJ) was developed and tested by the Models for Change Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network, which is coordinated by the NCMHJJ. The MHTC-JJ is an 8-hour training on adolescent development, mental health disorders and treatment, the important role of families, and practical strategies for engaging and interacting with youth.

With support from the MacArthur Foundation and the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, expert training teams from NCMHJJ conducted ten train-the-trainer sessions across the country. The audience for these sessions included juvenile detention and correctional trainers, who then provided training on the MHTC-JJ throughout their respective states. In the course of one year, over 2400 individuals were trained on the curriculum.