The Behavioral Health Juvenile Justice (BHJJ) initiative is a shared statewide initiative between the Departments of Mental Health (ODMH), Youth Services (ODYS), and Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS). This initiative consists of community programs that were initially pilot projects in a few Ohio counties in early 2000. These “pilots” have grown into a statewide initiative with strong support from the aforementioned state departments and numerous additional state and local stakeholders. The local community projects (formerly pilot projects) have shown significant positive impact on youth admissions to DYS facilities and positive outcomes reported at the time of program completion.
This BHJJ initiative was created to enhance and expand the local systems’ options for providing services to serious juvenile offenders with serious behavioral healthcare needs. The projects are designed to transform child-serving systems by enhancing their assessment, evaluation and treatment of multi-need, multi-system youth and their families. In addition, they provide the Juvenile Court judges an alternative to incarceration, which has been a key to their success.
The RFP for BHJJ projects details the requirements. The projects serve youth ages 10-18 with a current DSM IV diagnosis and substantial impairment in behavioral, cognitive and/or affective domains. A majority of these youth enter their local program with co-occurring substance abuse, a history of violence and/or criminal behavior, history of exposure to trauma and/or domestic violence and history of involvement in multiple systems.
The BHJJ projects are required to provide evidence based interventions (examples include Multi-systemic Therapy, Hi- Fidelity Wraparound) and to engage the youth and their family/support systems in the treatment process. Many of the treatment services are provided in the youth’s home and are intensive interventions. Providers are required to address the cultural and ethnic population that their county has historically admitted to DYS. Although each program is different and based on local needs and resources, each program offers assessment, evaluation, and coordination of appropriate services and supports for the youth and their family.
View one-page abstracts of the six community projects funded for Fiscal Year 2012 – 2013:
The Institute for the Study and Prevention of Violence (ISPV) at Kent State University has been engaged to evaluate the BHJJ initiative. The staff works very closely with each county to ensure that their project data is collected and is shared in a way that is useful to that community and the state departments.
View the evaluation reports by Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University.
View the evaluation reports prepared by ISPV/KSU: