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Behavioral Health and Juvenile Justice

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Childrens Law

Childrens Law


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Exploring the Connection: Behavioral Health and Juvenile Justice


Research has shown there is a high correlation between children who suffer from mental health or co-occurring behavioral health issues and juvenile justice involvement. One of the largest hurdles facing those working on stemming youth's exposure to the juvenile justice system is the inadequate and limited access to care to address these serious behavioral health needs. Communities across the country struggle to find ways to meet children's treatment needs in both community-based and correctional settings. In response, Ohio created the Behavioral Health and Juvenile Justice Initiative (BHJJ), a partnership between the Ohio Department of Youth Services and the Ohio Departmental of Mental Health. The intent of BHJJ is to transform the systems' ability to identify, assess, evaluate, and treat multi-need, multi-system youth and their families and to identify effective program and policy practices. To date, the Initiative has served more than 2,000 children. In June 2012, a report was released documenting a five year evaluation of the effort. Jeff M. Kretschmar, Ph.D and Patrick Kanary, M.Ed from the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at Case Western Reserve University join us on the next episode of Spotlight on Youth to highlight details of the report, including recent research, outcomes of the evaluation, and promising practices. Considerations for communities seeking to implement BHJJ Initiatives will also be discussed.