Contemporary Issues in Juvenile Justice


Given the high prevalence of mental disorders among juvenile offenders, as well as the link between untreated disorders and delinquent behavior, there is a critical need for standardized, cost-effective, and clinically effective procedures to identify youth with mental health problems. Surveys were sent to staff in juvenile residential facilities throughout Pennsylvania to examine statewide assessment practices, including the background and training of staff, the standard intake procedures used in these facilities, and the role of assessment in treatment planning. Although results provide evidence of some common statewide assess-ment practices, there was significant variability in the use of specific procedures. Suggestions are offered for enhancing mental health screening and assessment in juvenile justice facilities.