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A Program Evaluation of Toronto's Mental Health Court for Youth

A Program Evaluation of Toronto's Mental Health Court for Youth

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Title: A Program Evaluation of Toronto's Mental Health Court for Youth
Author: Davis, Krista Marie
Abstract: In recent years there has been growing concern regarding the mental health needs of young people involved with the criminal justice system. As a result, the Ontario Court of Justice opened its first mental health court for youth in Toronto, Ontario in 2011. Referred to as the Community Youth Court (CYC), the program is designed to provide specialized services to justice-involved youth with mental health needs, including substance use issues. The CYC is one of many mental health courts to have recently been introduced across North America. Despite the rise of such courts, there has been limited empirical research documenting their operation and effectiveness. The current dissertation is comprised of two manuscripts exploring a process evaluation of Toronto’s mental health court for youth. The first manuscript includes a theoretical appraisal of the court’s program model and a qualitative evaluation of program implementation based on service user (i.e., youth, parents) and key informant (i.e., judges, lawyers, mental health court workers, crown attorneys) views of the program. Interviews were conducted using semi-structured interview guides and analyzed using thematic analysis. The second manuscript documents the population served through the court, predictors of program completion, the operations of the court, as well as how the court addresses the mental health and criminogenic needs of youth. Results from the two studies provide insight into areas of strength, including the program’s ability to provide a supportive environment for youth, as well as engage and link youth and their families with treatment. Areas for continued program development are also discussed, with a particular focus on the need to assess and address aspects of criminogenic need in order to help reduce recidivism. Together, these findings provide a framework for an empirically-based mental health court program for youth.
Subject: Clinical psychology
Keywords: Adolescents
Mental health court
Juvenile justice
Type: Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/28196
Supervisor: Moore, Tim
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Program: Psychology (Functional Area: Clinical-Developmental)
Exam date: 2014-06-17
Publish on: 2015-01-26

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