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School-Based Diversion for Youth With Mental Health Needs May 29, 2014 Lara Herscovitch Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance Cathy Foley Geib, MPA Connecticut.

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Presentation on theme: "School-Based Diversion for Youth With Mental Health Needs May 29, 2014 Lara Herscovitch Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance Cathy Foley Geib, MPA Connecticut."— Presentation transcript:

1 School-Based Diversion for Youth With Mental Health Needs May 29, 2014 Lara Herscovitch Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance Cathy Foley Geib, MPA Connecticut Judicial Branch Jeffrey J. Vanderploeg, Ph.D. Connecticut Center for Effective Practice

2 Leads a national movement State-based juvenile justice coalitions and organizations (43 members in 33 states) Laws, policies and practices that are fair, equitable and developmentally appropriate for all children, youth and families Photo: MorizaMoriza

3 Action Network Models for Change Mental Health Juvenile Justice Action Network Created in response to shared concern about youth mental health among the Models for Change states and across the country Four states selected to be part of the MHJJ Action Network: CO, CT, OH and TX Work occurred primarily between 2008 and 2011 Coordinated by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice ( Primary areas of focus: early diversion, family involvement and workforce development

4 Innovations: Early Diversion States developed new models and tools for safely and appropriately diverting youth with mental health needs to community-based treatment at early and critical points of contact: – Probation-Intake Based Diversion: Texas Front End Diversion Initiative (FEDI) – Law Enforcement Based Diversion: Crisis Intervention Teams for Youth- CIT-Y Training – School-Based Diversion: Ohio: School Responder Program Connecticut: School-Based Diversion Initiative

5 New training, technical assistance and education center supported by Models for Change – Web-based resource center with access to critical resources, documents and information on mh and jj – Phone consultation, via help desk, provided by NCMHJJ staff or by an expert consultant – On-site consultation by content experts – Training delivered by experienced expert trainers – TA publications and webinars – Visit at http://cfc.ncmhjj.com MH JJ Collaborative for Change

6 Lara Herscovitch Deputy Director Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance Presenters Catherine Foley Geib, MPA Manager Clinical and Educational Services Connecticut Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division Jeffrey J. Vanderploeg, Ph.D. Associate Director Connecticut Center for Effective Practice

7 Connecticut’s Comprehensive Approach to Reducing In-School Arrests: Changes in Statewide Policy, Systems Coordination, and School Practices National Juvenile Justice Network May 29, 2014

8 Connecticut in Context Statewide juvenile justice system across 2 branches of government/2 agencies 169 towns Child population less than 800,000 15,000 – 10,000 juvenile court referrals annually Increasing and shifting investment in juvenile justice system

9 Decreasing Court Referrals

10 Decreasing Commitments

11 Decreasing Recidivism

12 Court Diversion Efforts Referral to emergency mobile psychiatric services Establishment of Family Support Centers Expansion of Juvenile Review Boards Police and school training Return of Referrals

13 Why Focus on Referrals? Creates or increases juvenile’s court record Takes Probation Officer time and attention away from higher risk offenders Creates inconsistent responses to adolescent behavior Court/Probation function is not school discipline

14 How to Change Practice? Implementation of New Intake Policy Utilized existing statute: CGS §46b-128(a) Investigation of delinquency complaint “Whenever the Superior Court is in receipt of any written complaint filed by any person, any public or private agency or any federal, state, city or town department maintaining that a child’s conduct constitutes delinquency within the meaning of section 46b-120, it shall make a preliminary investigation to determine whether the facts, if true, would be sufficient to be a juvenile matter and whether the interests of the public or the child require that further action be taken”.

15 What Needed to Happen? Consultation with Judicial Legal Services Approval from Chief Court Administrator, Chief Administrative Juvenile Court Judge, Chief State’s Attorney and Chief Juvenile State’s Attorney Chief Court Administrator and Juvenile Probation Supervisors notified police chiefs and school superintendents Policy changes were shared with child welfare agency and other stakeholders

16 Implemented Guidelines Fights in school, similar age, no injuries, both arrested School incidents involving normal adolescent behavior, lack of good judgment or appreciation of consequences (e.g., hats, swearing, disruptive) Skateboarding, bicycles, loitering, trespass Tobacco (if over age 15) Siblings fighting, no weapons, no injuries Child is 8 years old or less Data collection

17 Where Are We Now? Supervisors Regularly Return Referrals Over 500 referrals returned in first year Stronger Probation/Police/School relationships Prosecutorial reviews 73% overall agreement rate; range 0-100%

18 Working to stop the criminalization of Connecticut’s children and youth. Lara Herscovitch Deputy Director

19 Public policy advocacy to reform juvenile justice and other systems that affect Connecticut’s at-risk children and youth. Goals: fewer children will enter the justice system, and each child in the system will be treated safely, fairly and effectively. Small staff, large coalition

20 Statewide, System Advocacy and Coordination With “Raise the Age” in place, looking for major feeders. Building on (decade-in-the-making) culture of diversion and prevention Consistent DMC lens Suspect areas: – Student arrests – Unaddressed behavioral and mental health needs

21 Looking for JJ System Feeders: Found School-Based Arrests Too many children referred to JJ system from schools (latest SY 13% of total, down from est. 20% prior SY) Most for minor, misdemeanor offenses – School Policy Violations escalate into delinquency charge or probation violation (swearing, “insubordination,” dress code) – Delinquency Charges: Disorderly conduct, breach of peace (fighting, talking back, running in halls, loud music) Trespass (skateboarding, bicycles) Smoking Children of color referred at disproportionately higher rates

22 Reasons for School-Based Arrest by General Category, SY2010-11 Source: SDE data analyzed by Connecticut Voices for Children


24 Challenge of statewide reform though very local issue / infrastructure CTJJA’s Response: Advocacy, Education, Capacity Building

25 Educational forums: – moderated panels on jj/ed connections – CPTV’s Education vs. Incarceration & The Color of Justice CTJJA’s Response: Advocacy, Education, Capacity Building

26 Close partnership with SAG (JJAC) and its student arrest work Pilot replication of the Judge Teske model to demonstrate local success CTJJA’s Response: Advocacy, Education, Capacity Building

27 Replication is Possible The process: CT model MOA with graduated response model designed by SAG (JJAC) Alliance adaptation of Judge Teske / GA model in 3 cities Judge-Chief-Superintendent collaborative to review and improve arrest (discipline) policy and practice (earlier, diversion, add missing supports) Demonstrated success: Windham (-87% and decreased ISS, but increased expulsion and OSS) Manchester (-59%, also reduced OSS and expulsion, increased ISS) Statewide, 20% of total juvenile referrals to 13% to __? (10% in Feb ‘14) Warning (promise ! ): ongoing effort required To review data, address trends & gaps, add & subtract initiatives, (re)train / orient new leaders and personnel CTJJA paper: Adult Decisions – Connecticut Rethinks Student Arrests (Jan 2013)

28 Most student misconduct best addressed through classroom & in-school strategies (not jj system) Response to school disruptions should be reasonable, consistent and fair Hold students accountable through graduated response and continuum of services Appropriate redirection and support from in-school and community resources prior to exclusion/arrest Clarifying the responsibilities of school and police personnel promotes best interests of students, district, law enforcement and community Work Centered on JJAC Model MOA Principles:

29 Traditional Discipline Interventions Detention In-school suspension Out-of-school suspension Arrest Expulsion Examples of Manchester Discipline Interventions Redirection Mediation Detention 1 to 1 counseling Mentoring program Play by the Rules Referral Behavior Intervention or Reflection Room In-school suspension Referral to Substance Intervention Program Parent/Administration conference and other parties (guidance counselor, social worker, etc.) Referral to Restitution/Community Service Program Out-of-school suspension Arrest Referral for consideration for expulsion

30 Legislative Proposed legislation to require MOAs and data (SB54/HB5355) SAG (JJAC) DMC Subcommittee Model MOA and incentive grants Training and network: patrol officers & school personnel ( Right Response Network now has 16 community collaboratives using MOAs And…

31 Justice system Student arrest reduction work builds on decade- long culture shift from punitive to restorative / preventive. Diversion – juvenile review boards, mediation Prevention - VCO loophole closed, FWSN (status offenders) Boards, Student Attendance Review Boards, Family Support Centers, EBPs Education reform At the center, school-based arrest reduction = positive school climate/ culture reform NOT discipline / jj-related reform. A word (some words) about culture and climate…

32 Working to stop the criminalization of Connecticut’s children and youth. Lara Herscovitch Deputy Director

33 Jeffrey J. Vanderploeg, Ph.D. Director, School-Based Diversion Initiative Associate Director, Center for Effective Practice at the Child Health and Development Institute

34 CT Background and Statistics Lower frequency of juvenile arrests, rising proportion of school-based arrests –Schools accounted for 1668, or 18.6%, of all juvenile court referrals in 2011-12 –Reduction to 14% of all court referrals in 2012-2013 –65% for BOP, Assault-3 rd, Disorderly Conduct, Threatening Higher rates of unmet mental health needs and academic failure –Approx. 20% of all children meet criteria for MH diagnosis; most don’t receive treatment –Rate of diagnosable mental health condition is 65-70% among youth in juvenile detention 1 –80-90% of youth in detention have a history of trauma exposure 2 –Students arrested are 2x as likely not to graduate as their non-arrested peers; those processed in court are 4x as likely not to graduate 3 Impact of Newtown tragedy on school security and juvenile justice reform efforts –Increased security (technology, SROs, security officers)

35 Goals of the School Based Diversion Initiative Reduce the number of discretionary arrests in school; reduce expulsions and out-of school suspensions Build knowledge and skills among teachers, school staff, and school resource officers to recognize and manage behavioral health crises in the school, and access needed community resources Link youth who are at-risk of arrest to appropriate school and community-based services and supports

36 SBDI Key Activities School Selection Needs Assessment Three Core Components: –Linkage to Network of Community-Based Services and Supports –Customized Professional Development in MH and JJ –School Disciplinary Policy Consultation Other Activities: –Data Collection and Evaluation –SBDI Manual –Post-Initiative Technical Assistance and Follow-Up –School Arrest Toolkit

37 Community Coalition Building and Linkage to Community-Based Resources Goal: Enhance student access to mental health and other services and supports Diversion at the point of possible arrest requires rapid support and crisis stabilization Linking schools to community-based services and supports can reduce burden to address mental health concerns  Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services (EMPS); Care Coordination, Juvenile Probation, Youth Service Bureaus, etc.

38 Linking to Community-Based Resources Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services (EMPS) –A component of Connecticut’s behavioral health system –Funded and managed by DCF –Available FREE to all CT children Access: Dial 2-1-1 –Phone support 24/7, 365 –Mobile hours M-F 8am-10pm; Weekends/holidays 1pm-10pm Rapid response to behavioral crises  90%+ mobility rate  On site in 45 min. or less (28 min. median response time) Services include: Crisis stabilization, assessment, treatment (up to 45 days), linkage to ongoing care

39 Professional Development Goal: enhance knowledge, attitudes, and skills to support arrest diversion principles and practices Includes Administrators, School Resource Officers (SROs), teachers, school psychologists, social workers, guidance counselors, others Semi-customized to each school Trainers drawn from the local community whenever possible Modules include: –Effective Classroom Behavior Management; Distinguishing Normal Adolescent Development and Mental Health Symptoms; Effective Collaboration with EMPS and Care Coordination; Multicultural Competence in the Schools; Overview of Juvenile Justice System; etc.

40 Revise School Discipline Practices Goal: Examine and revise disciplinary policies and policies where needed to support diversion efforts Convene a workgroup, ideally building off an existing in-school team Develop a Graduated Response Model for school discipline 1. Classroom level interventions 2. School Administrative Interventions 3. Assessment and Service Provision 4. Law Enforcement Intervention Include restorative justice practices in disciplinary approach and in linkages to community-based organizations

41 School-Based Court Referrals

42 EMPS Referrals

43 Community Level Data: Lower Re-Arrest Rates Comparing communities with and without SBDI: Subsequent arrest rates were significantly lower for SBDI communities (31%) than non- SBDI communities (43%) even after controlling for: Previous court involvement Race Age Gender Time to subsequent court referral in SBDI and non-SBDI % of youth with no court referral Days until subsequent court referral

44 Model Expansion: The SBDI Toolkit Despite expansion of the model, we recognized a need to reach more schools, more quickly… This toolkit was designed for a school to self-implement some of the core principles and activities of SBDI Available for free download at

45 Summary: Connecticut’s Approach and Why it Works Addresses the issue of school-based arrest from multiple perspectives and systems Engages variety of stakeholders, building on buy-in of key leaders Timing is everything! “Raise the Age” success paved way for next steps Community-level data and feedback provided sense of urgency to promote policy change All efforts together decreased court referrals for school arrests from 19% to 14%

46 Contact Information Cathy Foley Geib Lara Herscovitch Jeff Vanderploeg

47 Questions? Download the SBDI toolkit at or chdi.org To learn more about the mental health diversion initiatives in other states, visit the Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Collaborative for Change at http://cfc.nchmhjj.com

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