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Monica Saxby Parker, M.A, LPC Director, Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities

Overview: Project Keys

SAFE Overview

to Successful Outcomes


Project SAFE (serving adolescents and families effectively) is a diversion program targeting juvenile offenders with behavioral health challenges between the ages of 12 and 17, charged with an offense and referred to the Douglas County Juvenile Court. This project offers mental health treatment, creative interventions, support and coordination services to youth that have court involvement and behavioral health concerns. This program is designed to help prevent incarceration or reincarceration of juvenile offenders and address previously unidentified and untreated mental health concerns.

ď‚ž Mission


To screen, diagnose, and treat mental health concerns of appropriately identified juveniles, ages 12-17, by utilizing evidence-based assessments and clinical interventions in conjunction with collaborative case management as an alternative to formal court proceedings.

Youth ages 12-17 with moderate behavioral health concerns, or a co-occurring substance abuse or dependency diagnosis. (All youth must meet this requirement)

Youth participating in the program must have Medicaid, Managed Care Medicaid, Peachcare, or uninsured and eligible for a reduction in fees based on income.

Must be a Non-violent first time offender (OR fall into one of the below categories);

Youth that are not first time offenders, but deemed appropriate by DJJ or Court Staff (charge must still be non-violent) will be reviewed for consideration on a case by case basis.

Youth with DFCS involvement, that began DFCS involvement with prior legal charge or incurred a legal charge while under involvement with DFCS. (May be non-violent first offender OR non-violent repeat offender)

While the program has no formal exclusion criteria with respect to charges or mental illness, youth deemed to pose a serious public safety threat may be excluded from the program.


A recent research brief from the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice cites studies that have found up to 70% of children involved in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosable mental illness (Skowyra & Cocozza, 2006). Although data indicates over 70% of juvenile offenders have mental illness, only 14% of adjudicated cases resulted in alternative dispositions (e.g., referral to a mental health agency rather than formal probation). Research also indicates 1 in 5 children have a diagnosable mental illness or addictive disorder and 1 in 10 have a serious emotional disturbance that significantly impairs functioning at school, home, and in the community (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS], 1999).


YORP (Youth Offender Reentry Program)

 Review

of YORP program data and building Project SAFE from gaps related to juvenile justice and mental health services

 Initial

Entry vs. Re-entry

Incentives include 1)charge may get dismissed after successful program completion; 2) No formal supervision (probation); 3) term of school expulsion may be reduced upon negation with school officials.

Sanctions….if youth fail to comply, they risk 1) having formal charges brought against them; 2) appearing before the court; and 3) having formal supervision (*Project SAFE will allow for 2 “warnings” and on 3rd violation sanctions would be imposed)

If parents fail to comply, the Judge may file a motion for contempt and issue a protective order.

 Six          

Month Planning Process

Forming the Collaboration Team Joint Ownership Memorandum of Understandings Payment for Services/Funding Identification of the target population Development of Goals, Mission, Roles of Agencies Development of Referral Process Development of Treatment Program Identification of Barriers Cross-Trainings and Community Education

MAYSI Screening in Place an Intake Process at Juvenile Court  On-Site Family Scheduling/linkage from Juvenile Court  Interagency Treatment Planning Team  Mandatory Family Participation  Advisory Team for On-going Oversight  Flexible & Creative Treatment Options/Interventions  Target – Serve yr 1: 16 youth; yr 2: 32; yr 3: 32 

 Total

Number of Youth Referred for Diversion: 59  520 were screened  46 Accepted / Started Project SAFE  26 females; 20 males  Only1 youth was re-arrested / received new charge since program implementation  Top Axis I MH Issues: 1. Mood Disorders (Anxiety, Anger, Depression) 2. ADD Spectrum








# of Youth







 Assessments

of process and outcome.  Process evaluation activities are specifically designed to provide feedback to staff that can be used to improve project performance.  The evaluator monitors ongoing activities of the initiative through various methods with project staff and other key stakeholders.  Outcome measures related to this project center on juvenile justice and mental health collaboration, professional training and development, and services implementation.

 Project  

Deborah Duewson, MPH

 Clinical  

Director Therapist & Services Coordinator

Richard Hamilton, LAPC

ď‚ž Monica

Saxby Parker, MA, LPC

ď‚ž Director,


Child & Adolescent Behavioral

Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities