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04-06-2016 | Original Paper | Uitgave 9/2016

Journal of Child and Family Studies 9/2016

Mental Health Services in Juvenile Correctional Facilities: A National Survey of Clinical Staff

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 9/2016
Jacqueline M. Swank, Joseph C. Gagnon


This study determined the use of best practices in providing mental health services to youth within juvenile correctional facilities. A national sample of 94 (49.7 %) lead clinical staff from all available and qualifying facilities responded to a mail and on-line survey. There were no statistically significant differences across respondents versus nonrespondents for security level, gender served, or census region of facilities. Specifically, we examined the provision of facility-wide mental health programming, individual, group, and family counseling, and case management services. Examination of these services included the use of evidence-based interventions provided through an established curriculum and methods used to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions. We also examined staff involvement, and the perceived quality of services and barriers to providing interventions. Participants reported using a variety of evidence-based interventions; however, participants also acknowledged using other approaches that may not have empirical support. Additionally, although at least half of the participants reported mandatory individual and group counseling, less than a third of the participants reported that their facilities required family counseling. Clinical staff also reported a variety of methods used for evaluating the effectiveness of mental health services. Additional findings, as well as implications for research and practice, are discussed.

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