Recommendation: Mandate Treatment for Juvenile Offenders

The Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ) just released its annual report, which sums up its review of state progress with core requirements of the federal Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act.
Among its key recommendations: mandate mental health and substance abuse treatment for youth in the justice system
Here's what it says:

FACJJ recommends that the President advocate for, and Congress enact, legislation compelling the OJJDP Administrator and the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to devise a workable plan that mandates that culturally appropriate and relevant mental health/substance abuse services be provided for youth at all levels of the juvenile justice system. This legislation should include mental health and substance abuse screening, triage, evaluation, treatment, aftercare, and reentry services delivered in community-based, recovery-focused settings that are the least restrictive possible.
While this is unlikely to happen in the current economic climate, it's heartening to see anyone recommending this approach: after all, Reclaiming Futures is all about getting youth identified and connected to alcohol and drug treatment services.
And the FACJJ report is quite nuanced, acknowledging many of the funding, research, and policy issues raised by attempting to provide culturally appropriate, effective treatment services without "widening the net" of youth entering the justice system. A brief discussion starts on p. 29 of the report, but it's followed by a much longer discussion of the issues in an appendix.
Definitely worth a look. 
Related Post:

  • The Pathways to Desistance study also found that substance use treatment for juvenile offenders pays off. Follow the link for more information about the study.


Updated: February 08 2018