WELCOME!

Mental Health Policy Luncheon

A special thank you to our sponsors:

Robert Sanborn, Ed.D. President & CEO & Tanya Makany-Rivera Assistant Director of Public Policy

Overview
3

yMental illness affects 
At

least 1 in 5 children in the U.S.  50% of juvenile justice population

yTexas ranks 49th in the U.S. for

mental health expenditures

Texas Juvenile Mental Health Courts
4

y CHILDREN AT RISK independent evaluation,

³Texas Juvenile Mental Health Courts: An Evaluation and Blueprint for the Future.´

What is a Juvenile Mental Health Court?
y Specialized court y Voluntary y Uses a team approach y Focuses on treatment y Wraparound services

Typical Juvenile Mental Health Court Process
6

Goals of the Juvenile Mental Health Court
y Decrease recidivism y Improve family education and involvement y Reduce repeat contacts y Effective use of resources (saving taxpayers

money)

Mental Health Courts in Texas
y Travis County COPE Program 

Austin, TX

y Special Needs Diversionary Program 

El Paso, TX

y Harris County Juvenile Mental Health Court 

Harris County, TX

y Bexar County Crossroads Court Program 

San Antonio, TX

Evaluation Methodology
y Direct Observation y Key Informant Interviews y Participant Outcomes 
Recidivism  Cost

Analysis

y Challenges

Travis County COPE Program
y First Juvenile Mental Health Court in Texas y Eligibility: 
    

Ages between 10 and 17 Pending charge other than truancy or running away No sexual offense No previous adjudication Axis 1 diagnosis (ex. Bipolar 1, Dementia, Schizophrenia) Parent/guardian agrees to participate with child

Travis County COPE Program
y Services available to both participant and family 
      

Therapy Parent coach and liaison Respite care Rapid re-housing Mentoring Access to drug education Substance abuse education Wrap-around services

Travis County COPE Program
12

y Characteristics

Travis County COPE Program
13

y Characteristics

Travis County COPE Program:
y Characteristics

Travis County COPE Program
15

y Characteristics 
$180.59

cost per day, per participant length of stay is 158 days 

Average 

33%

recidivism rate

El Paso (SNDP)
y Eligibility 

At risk of removal from home Post-adjudicated boy or girl between the ages of 10 and 17 DSM-IV Axis diagnosis other than substance abuse, autism, mental retardation, pervasive developmental disorder Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) score below 50   

El Paso (SNDP)
17

y Services 

Counseling (Individual and Family) Case Management ‡ Anger management ‡ Home organization ‡ Educate parents on school system, advocacy 24-hour crisis hotline Referral to community based services ‡ School Supplies ‡ Food vouchers   

El Paso (SNDP)
18

y Characteristics

El Paso (SNDP)
19

y Characteristics

El Paso (SNDP)
20

y Characteristics

El Paso (SNDP)
21

y Characteristics

El Paso (SNDP)
22

y Characteristics 
Average

length of stay is 193 days

Harris County Juvenile Mental Health Court
23

y Eligibility 
Mental

health diagnosis boy or girl between the ages of 

Pre-adjudicated

10 and17 
Family

participation

Harris County Juvenile Mental Health Court
24

y Services 
Education

to parent on mental illness 

Counseling 

Anger

management and assistance in obtaining services 

Referral

Harris County Juvenile Mental Health Court
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y Characteristics

Harris County Juvenile Mental Health Court
26

y Characteristics 
Most

common diagnosis - Affective Disorders (67%) per day, per participant length of stay is 243 days 

$150 

Average 

33%

recidivism rate

Bexar County Crossroads Court Program
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y Eligibility 

Pre and post-arrest, girls aged 12 to 15 Mental health diagnosis History of substance abuse Experienced past trauma and/or abuse Supportive adult participation Legally competent     

Bexar County Crossroads Court Program
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y Services 

Anger management counseling Family violence intervention/prevention Adolescent counseling Family counseling School success services (includes mentoring) Substance abuse treatment     

Bexar County Crossroads Court Program
29

y Characteristics

78% Latino

Bexar County Crossroads Court Program
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y Characteristics 
At

the time of publication, diagnosis data was unavailable per day, per child length of stay is 212 days 

$105 

Average 

10%

recidivism rate

Observed Social Outcomes
y Surveys in Harris County y School Performance y Attendance y Medication compliance

So what about social outcomes?

Recommendations from CHILDREN AT RISK
y Conduct a follow up evaluation y Create a statewide committee for Juvenile Mental

Health Courts
y Sustain current funding for mental health services y Expand juvenile mental health courts across Texas y CHIP and Medicaid reimbursement

For more information«

Bob Sanborn, Ed.D. President and CEO sanborn@childrenatrisk.org Tanya Makany-Rivera Assistant Director of Public
Policy trivera@childrenatrisk.org

www.childrenatrisk.org Phone: 713.869.7740

Harris County Mental Health Court
Olivia D. McGill, PhD Mental Health Court Clinician

The Creation
‡ Community support and involvement was essential. ‡ MHA and the JEHT foundation assisted in getting the funding necessary to create a clinical tool to assess for mental health problems. ‡ Collaborative effort by the probation department, MHA, Children at Risk, and JEHT Foundation to secure funding for the mental health court.

The Development
‡ Visited existing juvenile mental health courts. ‡ Decided on our mission and goals. ‡ Our approach can be described as holistic, individualized, and collaborative. ‡ Monthly review hearings are conducted with the entire team present.

The Progress
‡ Since our inception in February 2009 we have had 67 youth enter into the mental health court. ‡ 42 youth have successfully graduated and 16 youth are currently in the program. ‡ Recidivism: 86% of the graduated youth had not been adjudicated for a new offense at the 6 month mark

The Youth
‡ Most common diagnosis is Affective Disorders (depression, anxiety & bipolar) ‡ Most common offense is assault. ‡ Several youth have had prior psychiatric hospitalizations. ‡ A significant number of the participants have trouble with school.

The Challenges & Lessons
‡ Defining success ‡ Path to success is often very bumpy ‡ Connecting families with needed resources can be difficult ‡ Collaborating with different agencies and different parts of the legal system can be tough, but always worth it.

The Best Practices
‡ Individual based treatment ‡ Important to meet the client where they are ‡ Remain flexible ‡ Networking and exploring available resources in the community is essential

Juvenile Mental Health Panel Discussion: Legislative Analysis, Future Outlook and Recommendations Dr. Curtis Mooney, President and CEO, DePelchin Deborah Colby, LCSW, LMFT, TRIAD Lillian Aguirre Ortiz, MSW, MHA Houston Dr. Andrew Harper, University of Texas, Harris County Psychiatric Center

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