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



Mental Health Training for Juvenile Justice

The majority of youth in contact with the juvenile justice system experience behavioral health disorders. Often, juvenile probation, detention, and correctional staff have received little formal training on adolescent development and mental health and therefore lack the skills to effectively respond to these youth.mhtc-jj-front-cover

To address this need, the Models for Change Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network, under the direction of the NCMHJJ, developed and tested the Mental Health Training Curriculum for Juvenile Justice (MHTC-JJ). This curriculum 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.

Mental Health-Juvenile Justice Training Sites 2011-2013

In 2011, with support from the MacArthur Foundation and the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, the NCMHJJ undertook a 2-year project to use the MHTC-JJ to create new mental health training capacity within juvenile justice systems across the country. Ten sites were competitively selected to be part of this initiative.

  •   Alaska
  •   Delaware
  •   Florida
  •   Georgia
  •   Idaho
  • Maricopa County, Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • New York City, New York
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee

The NCMHJJ sent two expert trainers to each site to deliver a 1.5-day train-the-trainer session on the MHTC-JJ. Results from evaluations of the train-the-trainer session and each site’s first formal MHTC-JJ training using the trained trainers included:

  • 350 local and state trainers were trained by NCMHJJ trainers on how to use the MHTC-JJ.
  • Over 2,400 juvenile staff members from probation, detention, corrections, and juvenile court were subsequently trained on the MHTC-JJ by trained trainers in the participating sites.
  • Participants showed close to a 20 percent overall mean improvement in content knowledge and almost 90 percent reported no concerns with their ability to deliver the training.
  • Site participants showed close to an 20 percent overall mean improvement in content knowledge. Follow-up surveys indicated that over 70 percent of participants reported that they had made changes in their interactions with youth as a result of what they learned at the training.
Mental Health-Juvenile Justice Training Sites 2014-2016

In 2014, OJJDP and the MacArthur Foundation provided additional support to select six new sites to receive MHTC-JJ train-the-trainer instruction. Selected sites include:

  •   Hawaii
  •   Wisconsin
  •   Kentucky
  • California (Santa Barbara and Ventura counties)
  • Utah
  • Oregon (multi-region)

Training for these six sites is expected to begin in June 2015 and run through May 2016. Final evaluation results will be submitted to OJJDP and the MacArthur Foundation at the end of the project period, September 2016.

For information about this project or the MHTC-JJ, please email email hidden; JavaScript is required .