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Behavioral Health Juvenile Justice (BHJJ) Projects

The Behavioral Health Juvenile Justice (BHJJ) initiative, a shared effort of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) and the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS), was created to enhance local services to juvenile offenders with serious behavioral healthcare needs. Twelve counties participated in BHJJ during the 2016-17 biennium: Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Holmes, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, Summit, Trumbull, Wayne, and Wood.

The projects serve youth ages 10-18 with a current DSM diagnosis and substantial impairment in behavioral, cognitive and/or affective domains. Approximately 3,500 youth have been enrolled from 2006-2016. A majority of these youth enter their local program with co-occurring substance abuse, and a history of violence and/or criminal behavior, exposure to trauma and/or domestic violence, and 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. Although each program is based on local needs and resources, all offer assessment, evaluation, and coordination of appropriate services and supports for the youth and their family. In addition, they provide the Juvenile Court judges an alternative to incarceration, which has been a key to their success.

Ten-Year Outcome Evaluation

The Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University has been engaged to evaluate the BHJJ initiative. Center staff work 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 An Evaluation of the Behavioral Health/Juvenile Justice (BHJJ) Initiative: 2006-2015 Results from a Ten-Year Outcome Evaluation (351 pages, 2016)
View only the Executive Summary.
View the 2016 statewide infographic

Targeted RECLAIM

Targeted RECLAIM is a funding initiative of the Ohio Department of Youth Services that is designed to promote the use of model and evidence-based programs to divert appropriate felony youth from DYS commitment and into effective community-based alternatives. Participating county juvenile courts select and implement programming to meet a goal of reduced admissions to DYS. Funds are awarded, budgeted and expended in conjunction with the courts’ RECLAIM Ohio programs and services.

In FY 2009, the average daily population at DYS was 1,430 youth and six counties (Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Montgomery and Summit) accounted for 63 percent of the total admissions. Beginning in FY 2010, Targeted RECLAIM funding was awarded to these six counties. In total, the six juvenile courts reduced admissions in FY 2010 to 389, or 39.3 percent compared to FY 2009. During FY 2016, the same counties collectively admitted 267 youth to DYS.

BHJJ Project History

Pilot projects that started in a few Ohio counties in early 2000 have grown into a statewide initiative with strong support from additional state and local stakeholders. The BHJJ initiative began by providing funds to the six counties (Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Montgomery and Summit) that historically committed the most youth to state custody. View one-page abstracts of the early community projects and the 2013 Begun Center Evaluation Report..