Lessons Learned: Facilitating Mental Health Screening in Juvenile Justice Programs
Published Oct 1, 2006, Valerie Williams, M.A., M.S. and Thomas Grisso, Ph.D.
Recent evidence suggests that the prevalence of mental disorders among youths in the juvenile justice system is two to three times higher than youths in the general population. Screening upon entry to a juvenile justice facility is essential for identifying youth who may have emergency mental health problems (e.g., suicide risk) and has become standard practice across the nation. We know more about the validity and reliability of mental health screening tools used in this context than we do about the factors that facilitate their implementation. If improperly implemented, adequate validity is virtually lost. Effective screening procedures require attention to how they are used within juvenile justice facilities.