Behavioral Health and Treatment Utilization among Youth involved in the Juvenile Justice System

Authored by: Matthew C. Aalsma , Katherine Schwartz

Routledge International Handbook of Delinquency and Health

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367256920
eBook ISBN: 9780429289194
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429289194-19

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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to briefly review the extent of behavioral healthcare problems among youth involved in the juvenile justice system and outline efforts to meet the needs of these vulnerable youth. Research has shown that the treatment utilization rates of youth involved in juvenile justice are alarmingly low. Mental health and substance use disorders are associated with both delinquency and criminal recidivism, warranting efforts to increase youth participation in effective behavioral health treatment services. Youth assigned to juvenile probation, which is the most common outcome for youth involved in juvenile justice, may be court-ordered to behavioral healthcare services and must access care in the community, so improving treatment utilization among this population is especially important. This chapter highlights the Juvenile Justice Behavioral Health Services Cascade, which serves as a framework for identifying gaps in effective treatment of mental health and substance use issues among youth probationers. Promising research findings regarding two intervention approaches, patient navigation and family engagement, suggest ways to improve behavioral health service utilization among youth involved in juvenile justice.

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