The Models for Change grant within PBHJP is part of Washington State’s selection as one of four model states (also chosen are Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Louisiana) under the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative to reform juvenile justice systems. Our role within this initiative is to engage in projects with local, state and national jurisdictions that enhance the ability of justice systems to address the behavioral health needs of youth by examining the cultural competence of evidence-based programs as well as screening and assessment.
This project is funded by MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Systems Reform in Juvenile Justice.
Benton and Franklin Counties Juvenile Justice Needs Assessment
In the Spring of 2007 we were funded by the MacArthur Foundation, Models for Change grant, to support local community engagement in Benton Franklin Counties by conducting a large-scale community needs assessment with a particular focus on ensuring Latino representation. This activity was in addition to participating on a mental health workgroup as a consulting entity. The needs assessment was developed to address the information needed by all three local MfC workgroups: mental health, truancy, and disproportionate minority contact. It was also anticipated that the needs assessment would be an exploratory analysis of the barriers and concerns of Latino youth and families involved in juvenile justice processes that could be generalized to MfC sites beyond Benton and Franklin Counties. Three strategies were employed to gather information for the needs assessment: 1) a survey to be distributed in the community, 2) focus groups, and 3) key informant interviews to guide the overall process. Administration of the survey continued from April of 2008 until August of 2008 with a final sample size of 536 respondents. During this time four focus groups of community members, two parent and two youth, provided feedback on their experience with the juvenile justice system. One of the parent groups was conducted in Spanish with Latino parents. Data were then coded and analyzed and the results were presented at the workgroup meetings in January 2009. The presentation of the results was used to prioritize the areas of focus for action in the workgroup discussions.
Current Models for Change ProjectsClinician Engagement and Cultural Awareness Training
The Benton-Franklin needs assessment revealed that Latino youth are significantly less likely to report completion of recommended mental health treatment assigned by the court or probation officers than non-Latino youth. Dr. Mary McKay has developed a well-researched model for improving engagement through telephone and in-person strategies. McKay’s manualized curriculum is currently being implemented in numerous locations around the country as well through our division on other projects related to working with service providers and families involved in the foster care system. We are proposing to conduct a training which combines engagement principles and cultural awareness with a particular focus on Latino populations for mental health clinicians from agencies in Benton-Franklin with public service contracts. The trainings will occur in early 2010.
See the Public Behavioral Health & Justice Policy report Evidence-Based Practices with Latino Youth: A Literature Review
An identified gap for family support during the juvenile justice process is the initial court phase, prior to adjudication. Families and a wide array of court staff have indicated the need for more information and support for families during this period, particularly for youth who have mental health issues. We are working with the King County Department of Youth Services to implement an orientation and support project to fill this gap. The project, Juvenile Justice 101, will be developed to match the local needs of families and the courts. The centerpiece of the project is an orientation meeting which will involve a panel-format of juvenile justice stakeholders. The orientation meeting will be facilitated by paid parent and youth alumni of the juvenile justice system. These parent and youth facilitators will also be available to contact families as they wait for court appearances onsite and connect families to resources in their neighborhoods.
Juvenile Justice 101 - Video 1 of 2
Juvenile Justice 101 - Video 2 of 2
The guidebook (linked here) was developed to assist a court in implementing Juvenile Justice 101 or similar family-driven programming.
To support better understanding of mental health diagnosis, treatment, management strategies, and family engagement for juvenile justice staff, we will be implementing a mental health juvenile justice training in the five Models for Change sites in Washington State. This training will make use of a national curriculum developed through the MacArthur Mental Health Action Network and will be localized to Washington State policies and needs. In addition, we will be adapting the curriculum for online use with interactive features including quizzes, media, and live chat. We are also discussing an adaptation of the training for a college curriculum to be implemented in various community colleges around the Puget Sound area.
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