The 2014-15 Juvenile Justice Diversion for Tribal Youth Initiative brought together teams of community leaders from four tribal nations – Cheyenne River Sioux, Lower Brule Sioux, Red Lake Band of Chippewa, and Ute Mountain Ute – and national experts on topics relevant and necessary to support the development and implementation of innovative approaches to juvenile justice diversion for youth with behavioral health conditions in Indian Country.

This effort was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and coordinated by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice at Policy Research Associates and the Technical Assistance Collaborative.

A key element of this initiative was convening a work group made up of representatives from all participating nations and partners. The aim of this work group was to conceptualize and develop a resource that would contribute to the knowledge base of “what works” in Indian Country in order to support juvenile justice reform efforts. After much discussion, the work group decided to create a web-based resource that:

  • Captured the experiences of the four tribal nations in the hope that others who aim to improve behavioral health and juvenile justice services in Indian Country will find them useful
  • Identified cross-site learnings from these four tribal nations
  • Recommended policy and practice reforms for tribal, state, and federal agencies that are necessary to achieve successful juvenile justice transformation in Indian Country

Their efforts, learnings, and experiences are documented here in the hope that others who aim to improve behavioral health and juvenile justice services in Indian Country will find them useful.