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TAC Continues Work on Justice-Involved Youth Through Integrated Policy Academy-Action Network Initiative

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation have announced the launch of their 2015-16 Improving Diversion Policies and Programs for Justice-Involved Youth with Behavioral Health Disorders: An Integrated Policy Academy-Action Network Initiative. Policy Academy-Action Network initiatives bring together SAMHSA’s Policy Academy mechanism and the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Action Network strategy to allow participating states to learn about effective interventions and the latest research, and to work on similar innovations in policy and practice in a cross-site effort.

This initiative is being coordinated by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice at Policy Research Associates and TAC.

Up to four states will be selected to participate in this effort based on their commitment to improving policies and practices for these youth. Throughout the duration of the initiative, selected states will receive technical assistance to guide the establishment of sustainable models and strategies for diverting youth with behavioral health disorders as early as possible. This initiative will focus specifically on school-based and probation-intake diversion strategies, with special attention paid to the following:

  • Integrated responses to co-occurring mental and substance use disorders
  • Research-based screening and assessment
  • Evidence-based and promising-practice approaches
  • Disparity in treatment of youth of color within the juvenile justice system
  • The role of trauma in lives of youth in contact with the juvenile justice system
  • Deliberate coordination among youth-serving systems to improve outcomes for youth with behavioral disorders who are involved in the juvenile justice system

States seeking to develop or improve policies and practices that divert justice-involved youth with behavioral health disorders to appropriate community-based programs and services are encouraged to apply. The application is available for download here. Applications will be accepted through Friday, February 6, 2015.

View the MacArthur Foundation's Press Release