Juvenile mental health courts are delinquency courts with a dedicated calendar for minors who have a mental health diagnosis. These courts focus on providing access to treatment, consistent and intensive supervision, and academic and family support. As with juvenile drug court, these courts focus on accountability and realistic goals and expectations of each youth. Assessment and close monitoring are critical components of this type of court.
Mental health courts first emerged in the 1990s. In California, there are more than 40 mental health courts, including 11 juvenile mental health courts. Studies of mental health courts have shown promising results in several areas, including participants’ utilization of services, reduced recidivism, and cost savings to counties and states.