Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 505–517 | Cite as

Collaboration Between Community Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Systems: Barriers and Facilitators

  • Stephen A. Kapp
  • Christopher G. Petr
  • Mary Lee Robbins
  • Jung Jin Choi


Recent studies have confirmed a high prevalence of youth with diagnosable mental health disorders within the juvenile justice system, as well as the vulnerability of youth in the mental health system who enter the juvenile justice system. This high prevalence of dual system involvement has spawned challenges of collaboration between the mental health and juvenile justice systems to provide needed services to youth and their families. Seventy-two in-depth interviews were conducted with 18 youth and their parents/guardians, mental health professionals from five different community mental health centers, and juvenile justice professionals in urban and rural communities in a Midwest state in the United States. Professionals, youth and parents identified several important factors that facilitated collaboration, as well as a myriad of barriers that needed to be overcome. Findings suggest ways to improve partnerships between the two systems and the development of supportive policies and procedures.


High-risk youth Community mental health Juvenile justice Collaboration Collaboration barriers 


  1. Berg, B. L. (2004). Qualitative research methods for the social services. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  2. Bolland, J., & Wilson, J. V. (1994). Three faces of integrative coordination: A model of interorganizational relations in a community. Health Services Research, 29(3), 341.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Erickson, E., & Stull, D. (1998). Doing team ethnography: Warnings and advice. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Evens, C. C., & Vander Stoep, A. (1997). Risk factors for juvenile justice system referral among children in a public mental health system. The Journal of Mental Health Administration, 24(4), 443–455.Google Scholar
  5. Foster, E. M., Qaseem, A., & Connor, T. (2004). Can better mental health services reduce the risk of juvenile justice system involvement? American Journal of Public Heath, 94(5), 859–865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kapp, S. (2000). Pathways to prison: Life histories of child welfare and juvenile justice system consumers. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, XXVII(3), 63–74.Google Scholar
  7. Kapp, S. A., Robbins, M. L., & Choi, J. J. (2008). A partnership model study between juvenile justice and community mental health: Findings-collaboration. Lawrence: University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare.Google Scholar
  8. Koppelman, J. (2005). Mental health and juvenile justice: moving toward more effective systems of care. Washington, DC: National Health Policy Forum.Google Scholar
  9. MacQueen, K. M., McLellan, E., Kay, K., & Milstein, B. (1998). Codebook development for team-based qualitative analysis. Cultural Anthropology Methods, 10(2), 31–36.Google Scholar
  10. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Models for Change: evidence based practices (2012). Publications, evidence based practices. Accessed 6 Sep 2012.
  12. Models for Change: Pennsylvania workplan (2012). Publications, states, Pennsylvania. Accessed 6 Sep 2012.
  13. Models for Change: systems reform in juvenile justice (2012). Publications, Mental health issues. Accessed 6 Sep 2012.
  14. Muhr, T. (2004). ATLAS.ti (V 5.0). Berlin, Germany: ATLAS.ti scientific software development GmbH.Google Scholar
  15. O’Brien, M. & Holmes, C. (2008). Improving health access in frontier and rural counties. Office of child welfare and children’s mental health. Accessed 7 Sep 2010.
  16. Pullmann, M. D., Kerbs, J., Koroloff, N., Veach-White, E., Gaylor, R., & Sieler, D. (2006). Juvenile offenders with mental health needs: Reducing recidivism using wraparound. Crime & Delinquency, 52, 375–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Rivard, J., & Morrissey, J. (2003). Factors associated with interagency coordination in a child mental health service system demonstration. Administration and Policy in Mental Health, 30(5), 397–415.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rogers, K. M., Zima, B., Powell, E., & Pumariega, A. (2001). Who is referred to mental health services in the juvenile justice system. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 10(4), 485–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Shufelt, J. L., & Cocozza, J. J. (2006). Youth with mental health disorders in the juvenile justice system: Results from a multi-state prevalence study. Delmar: The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice.Google Scholar
  20. Shufelt, J. L., Cocozza, J. J., & Skowyra, K. R. (2010). Successfully collaborating with the juvenile justice system: benefits, challenges, and key strategies. Washington, DC: Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health.Google Scholar
  21. Sickmund, M. (2004). Juveniles in corrections. Juvenile offenders and victims national report series. Washington, DC: The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.Google Scholar
  22. Skowyra, K. (2006). A blueprint for change: Improving the systems response to youth with mental health needs involved with the juvenile justice system. Focal point (corrections issue): Research, policy, and practice in children’s mental health, 20(2), 4–7.Google Scholar
  23. Skowyra, K., & Cocozza, J. J. (2007). Blueprint for change: a comprehensive model for identification and treatment of youth with mental health needs in contact with the juvenile justice system. Washington, DC: The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.Google Scholar
  24. Snyder, H. (2003). Juvenile arrests 2001. Washington, DC: The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.Google Scholar
  25. Teplin, L. A., Abram, K. M., McClelland, G. M., Dulcan, M. K., & Mericle, A. A. (2002). Psychiatric disorders in youth in juvenile detention. Archives of General Psychiatry, 59(12), 1133–1143.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Teplin, L.A., Abram, K.M., McClelland, G.M., Mericle, A.A., Dulcan, M.K., & Washburn, J.J. (2006). Psychiatric disorders of youth in detention. Juvenile Justice Bulletin, 1–15.Google Scholar
  27. Wasserman, G. A., Jensen, P. S., Ko, S. J., Cocozza, J., Trupin, E., Angold, A., et al. (2003). Mental health assessments in juvenile justice report on the consensus conference. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 42(7), 752–761.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wasserman, G. A., Ko, S. J., & McReynolds, L. S. (2004). Assessing the mental health status of youth in juvenile justice settings (pp. 1–7). August: Juvenile Justice Bulletin.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen A. Kapp
    • 1
  • Christopher G. Petr
    • 1
  • Mary Lee Robbins
    • 1
  • Jung Jin Choi
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Social Welfare, University of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Department of Youth StudiesKyonggi UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

Personalised recommendations