Welcome to the new DJJ Website!
Find out how to use the new site.

Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services


  • Q: What determines if a youth is placed in a mental health or dual diagnosis program?
    A: Each specialized treatment program has specific eligibility criteria. A youth’s eligibility for a mental health program would be based upon a diagnosed DSM-IV-TR mental disorder and a global assessment of functioning rating of 60 or below. A youth’s eligibility for a Dual Diagnosis Program would be based upon meeting the eligibility criteria above and also having a DSM-IV-TR diagnosed substance abuse disorder. Further information regarding specific eligibility criteria for specialized treatment programs is provided in Appendix W of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Manual Revised August, 2006.
  • Q: Does a mental health counselor see the youth while in detention?
    A: Yes, depending on the needs of the youth. The department currently contracts with private mental health providers to provide mental health services at each detention center. Each mental health provider must designate a single licensed mental health professional to serve as the Designated Mental Health Authority in the detention center. The detention center’s mental health clinical staff ensures that youth with identified mental health, substance abuse and/or suicide risk issues are seen for the purposes of screening, assessment, treatment and crisis intervention services.
  • Q: What Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services are provided in Residential programs?
    A: DJJ has prioritized providing programs and services to meet the specialized treatment needs of committed youth in the areas of substance abuse, mental health, and developmental disability services and juvenile sexual offender treatment services. Specialized treatment services in DJJ’s residential commitment programs include:
    1. DJJ Specialized TREATMENT Services Programs:
      • Comprehensive Services for Major Disorders provide the most intensive level of  mental   health treatment within the DJJ continuum of specialized treatment programs;
        • Dual Diagnosis - Major Disorders Programs; 
        • Intensive - Major Disorders Programs;
      • Intensive Services Programs are designed specifically for youth with intensive mental health needs, youth with an adjudicated sex offense or youth with developmental disability;
        • Intensive Mental Health Treatment Services Programs;
        • Sex Offender Treatment Services-Secure Programs;
        • Developmental Disability Treatment Services Programs;
      • Specialized Services Programs are designed specifically for youth with moderate to serious mental disorder, substance-related disorder, or youth with an adjudicated sex offense who are moderate risk to public safety;
        • Specialized Mental Health Services Programs; 
        • Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) Programs;
        • Sex Offender Treatment Services - Non-Secure Programs.
    2. DJJ Specialized TREATMENT Overlay Services are specialized treatment services provided to youth placed in a general residential commitment program who have mental health and/or substance use disorders.
      • Mental Health Overlay Services (MHOS); 
      • Behavioral Health Overlay Services (BHOS); 
      • Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Overlay Services.
  • Q: What is the best way to provide information about prescription medications, special healthcare needs, and disability information while my child is in the DJJ facility?
    A: The parent or guardian has numerous opportunities to share such information throughout the youth’s interaction with the Department. However, the best possible time for the parent to share any information about the youth’s prescription medication, special healthcare needs or developmental disability needs is during the intake screening process.

    All youth are provided with preliminary screening to identify the need for further assessment and treatment services including mental health, substance abuse and developmental disability services. The parents/guardians are contacted during the screening process. Additionally, youth are referred for a comprehensive assessment when screening indicates a need regarding mental health services, substance abuse treatment services, developmental disability services, literacy services, education or other treatment services. Youths anticipated or recommended for commitment are also referred for a predisposition comprehensive evaluation. Comprehensive assessments and comprehensive evaluations require parental input or documented effort to obtain parental input. 

    All youth who receive on-going mental health, substance abuse and/or developmental disability treatment services receive individualized treatment planning that involves the youth and the parent/guardian. Multidisciplinary treatment teams vary somewhat between DJJ facilities, but routinely develop the youth’s initial treatment plan, individualized treatment plan and provide individualized treatment plan updates. The multidisciplinary treatment team includes the parents/guardians whenever possible.

    Parents/guardians are also contacted whenever the youth is a potential suicide risk, receives mental health crisis intervention or receives emergency mental health or substance abuse treatment services. Each time the parents/guardians are contacted the parents/guardian has the opportunity to communicate with the Department’s contact person to share relevant information.

    In addition to the opportunities mentioned above, parents or guardians should feel free to communicate with DJJ facility staff anytime to ensure that their children’s needs are met.