Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health (TA Partnership)

The TA Partnership provided technical assistance to state, regional, and county system of care communities currently funded to operate the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program, including those that have juvenile justice- and child welfare-involved youth as a population of focus. The Partnership’s technical assistance efforts focused on helping communities build systems of care that are family-driven, youth-guided, culturally and linguistically competent, individualized, and community- and evidence-based to meet the mental health needs of children, youth, and families. The TA Partnership was a collaboration between two mission-driven organizations, AIR, and the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, a national non-profit dedicated to effective family leadership and advocacy to improve the quality of life of children with mental health needs and their families.

The TA Partnership worked closely with system of care communities nationwide to help them meet the mental health, substance abuse, and other related needs of youth involved or at risk of involvement with the juvenile justice or child welfare systems in many different ways. For example, the Partnership assisted youth and their family members in understanding and navigating the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, advocating for mental health treatment and related services while in residential care, and effectively planning for and accessing community-based services and supports upon reentering the community. The TA team also worked closely with community agencies, organizations, and service providers to, among other things, implement effective mental health, risk, and other screening and assessment practices, provide youth-guided rehabilitative services that focus on positive youth development and create safer, healthier communities, and foster effective partnerships between the justice system, child welfare, mental health, education, and others.

Key Work

Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Youth in Contact With the Juvenile Justice System in System of Care Communities

The TA Partnership contracted with the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice to produce this resource series, which contains three briefs. Each brief examines a unique aspect of serving this population within system of care communities.

The first brief, Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Youth in Contact With the Juvenile Justice System in System of Care Communities, provides an overview of the challenges many system of care communities face in working with children, youth, and young adults involved or at risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system and provides concrete examples of how some communities have overcome these challenges. The second brief, Successfully Collaborating With the Juvenile Justice System: Benefits, Challenges, and Key Strategies, takes a closer look at the importance of true collaboration between community-based child-serving agencies in providing a comprehensive array of services and supports and fostering positive outcomes for this population. Finally, the third brief, Systems of Care Programs That Serve Youth Involved With the Juvenile Justice System: Funding and Sustainability, explores ways in which communities can financially sustain the efforts they have in place to meet the needs of this population after the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration funding period has ended.

Mental Health, Behavioral Health Funding, Screening and Assessment

To build system of care communities’ capacities to serve youth who are currently involved in or at-risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system, the TA Partnership, along with the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, published three issue briefs: A Primer for Mental Health Practitioners Working With Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System, New Directions for Behavioral Health Funding and Implications for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System, and Screening and Assessment in Juvenile Justice Systems: Identifying Mental Health Needs and Risk of Reoffending.