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.

From 2011-2016, with support from the MacArthur Foundation and the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, the NCMHJJ undertook an effort to disseminate the Mental Health Training Curriculum for Juvenile Justice (MHTC-JJ). This curriculum is an 8-hour training on adolescent development, mental and substance use conditions and treatment, childhood trauma, the important role of families, and offers practical strategies for engaging and interacting with youth. Over the course of the project period, 16 sites were competitively selected to be part of this initiative.

  • Alaska
  • Arizona (Maricopa County)
  • California (Santa Barbara and Ventura counties)
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • New Mexico
  • New York (New York City)
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon (multi-region)
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin

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:

  • More than 900 local and state trainers were trained by NCMHJJ trainers on how to use the MHTC-JJ.
  • Thousands of juvenile staff members from probation, detention, and corrections were subsequently trained on the MHTC-JJ by trained trainers in the participating sites.
  • Juvenile justice staff who participated in a locally organized MHTC-JJ training:
    • reported making changes in their interactions with youth (66 percent)
    • reported that their interactions with youth with mental health needs had improved (77 percent)
    • reported making changes in their interactions with co-workers around addressing the needs of youth with mental health conditions (63 percent)


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Mental Health Training for Juvenile Justice