CCJBH Best Practices Awards

Best Practices Awards - 2014

The Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (COMIO) has two informational documents that may be of interest to anyone wishing to apply for the upcoming 2014 award.

The Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (COMIO) has designated two programs to receive a newly established Innovative and Promising Award instead of the 2014 Best Practices Award. The Innovative and Promising Awards were presented to The MOST (Maintaining Ongoing Stability through Treatment) Team of Santa Cruz County and the Hollywood 4WRD Program of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance.

Innovative and Promising Award Recipients

The MOST Team of Santa Cruz County

The MOST team is a Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) program that combines an evidence-based program of wrap around mental health services inclusive of case management, psychiatry, psychotherapy and employment skill development with additional supports specific to the criminal justice system involvement such as probation, court discharge planning and disposition, liaison relationships with law enforcement, and jail correctional staff.

Contact Information:
Pam Rogers-Wyman, Program Manager
Santa Cruz County Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services
1400 Emeline Ave., Bldg. K
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

The Hollywood 4WRD Program of Hollywood Property Owners Alliance

The Hollywood Property Owners Alliance manages the Hollywood Entertainment District Business Improvement District (BID) under contract to the city of Los Angeles. The Hollywood Entertainment District BID has taken the lead in Hollywood to bring agencies, nonprofits, the faith community, law enforcement, and businesses together to coalesce around the goal of ending homelessness. Instead of incarceration, Hollywood 4WRD has worked hard to identify the individuals who suffer from mental illness and then seek treatment or housing to move them from the streets by connecting them with the Department of State Hospitals, or in other cases, to connect them with involuntary conservatorship in order to stabilize them with regular treatment.

Contact Information:
Kerry Morrison, Executive Director
Hollywood Property Owners Alliance
1680 Vine Street, Suite 414
Hollywood, CA 90028
Phone:  323-463-6767

Best Practices Awards - 2013

The Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (COMIO) has two informational documents that may be of interest to anyone wishing to apply for the upcoming 2013 award.  Please click on the links below to open or download these documents.

Best Practices Due Date has been extended to COB February 13, 2013. Please submit all Best Practices via e-mail to Alicia Aguilar at .

Best Practices Awards - 2012

The Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (COMIO) has designated two programs to receive the 2012 Best Practices Award. These programs are recognized for their effectiveness in measuring the successful treatment of mentally ill patients/clients to decrease the likelihood of future involvement with law enforcement and corrections and increase the individuals’ likelihood of effectively transitioning back into the community. The 2012 awards will be presented to the Riverside County Mental Health Courts and Orange County Combat Veterans Court.

2012 Best Practices Award Recipients

Riverside County Mental Health Courts

The three Regional Mental Health Courts within Riverside County were established to decrease criminal recidivism of defendants with severe mental illness who are eligible for probation, provide individuals with a linkage to mental health treatment as an alternative to detention, identify community resources to facilitate continuity of care, increase treatment compliance and promote public safety.

Contact Information:
Tony Ortego, LMFT
Mental Health Services Supervisor
Mental Health Court
Office (951) 328-2283
Fax (951) 684-6129

Orange County Combat Veterans Court

The program was established pursuant to CA Penal Code Section 1170.9, which authorizes the court to order treatment instead of incarceration for veterans whose involvement in the criminal justice system is shown to be the result of PTSD, traumatic brain injury, substance addiction, or other mental health problem arising from their combat service. The program goals are to enhance public safety, reduce recidivism and its associated costs, and assist combat veterans to become mentally stable, substance-free, and successfully re-integrated into society.

Contact Information:
Kim Parsons, Collaborative Court Coordinator
700 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(657) 622-5816

Best Practices Awards - 2011

The Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (COMIO) has designated four programs to receive the 2011 Best Practices Award.  These programs are recognized for their effectiveness in measuring the successful treatment of mentally ill patients/clients to decrease the likelihood of future involvement with law enforcement and corrections and increase the individuals’ likelihood of effectively transitioning back into the community.  The 2011 awards were presented to the Humboldt County New Horizons Program, Los Angeles County Project 180, San Bernardino County INFO Program and Sonoma County PATHS Program.

2011 Best Practices Award Recipients

Humboldt County – New Horizons Program

New Horizons, an intensive in-custody Mental Health treatment program, is offered within the secure environment of the Northern California Regional Facility. Treatment services include a combination of medication support, individual, group, and family counseling, alcohol/drug assessment and counseling, skill development training focused on anger management, moral judgment, the correction of thinking errors, social skills, and victim awareness. The transition to the aftercare phase of the program, offered to both participants and their families, includes linkage to the Mental Health System of Care Services, out-patient counseling and/or medication support, and case management services. New Horizons aftercare services are coordinated through the Family Intervention Team multi-agency process. Individualized strength-based child and family case plans are developed using the Family Unity process followed by the integration of wraparound services to support the minor and his/her family throughout community care programming.

Contact Information:
Mark Cory
2002 Harrison Avenue
Eureka, Ca 95501
(707) 268-3318

Los Angeles County – Project 180

Project 180 is committed to providing our clients with comprehensive one-on-one and group treatment. We believe in the power of individual connections and peer support to create sustained, viable and effective treatment. We are a team of mental and behavioral health professionals, substance counselors, social workers and peer advocates that work in concert to help clients reach their goals. Our services include: intensive case management, individual and group behavior modification, therapy and substance counseling, housing, benefits support, family reunification, supportive employment, education preparation and placement, and psychiatric and medication support. We constantly strive to be on the cutting edge of treatment, delivering services that are evidence-based and taking a holistic approach to client care with groups from Moral Reconation Therapy to Mindfulness and programs such as Peer Mediation. In addition, we offer family/couples therapy, communication and conflict training, assistance with parenting classes and child reunification support. Our vibrant Alumni Association meets regularly and serves as a living example of the power of our programs.

Contact Information:
Project 180
Victoria Simon, Ph.D., MFT (Director)
420 S. San Pedro Street, G4
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 620-5712

San Bernardino County – INFO (Integrated New Family Opportunities)

This program is a newly funded Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction (MIOCR) grant program for minors coming out of the Central Juvenile Detention and Assessment Centers (JDAC). INFO will use evidence-based models for reducing the involvement of mentally ill minors in the juvenile justice system by providing assertive family/community involvement in treatment, 24/7 case management and support, behavioral therapy, and peer counseling.

Contact Information:
Terri Franklin, LCSW, MBA
Program Manager II
County of San Bernardino
Department of Behavioral Health
Juvenile Justice Program
700 E. Gilbert Street, Bldg. 4
San Bernardino, CA 92415

Carolyn Latta-Clark, MFT
Clinic Supervisor
County of San Bernardino
Department of Behavioral Health
Juvenile Justice Program
700 E. Gilbert Street, Bldg. 4
San Bernardino, CA 92415

Sonoma County –  PATHS ( Prevention, Art & Anger Management, Thinking Cognitively, Health Issues, Stress Reduction) Program

The core philosophy of the program is to provide guidance and instruction to assist inmates in identifying their feeling and thinking issues—the issues central to making healthy, appropriate life decisions. Each class content overlaps with subjects being taught by a core group of instructors throughout the balance of the week. The intent in implementing this approach is to solidify and affirm the overall program content by offering the messages in more than one style and format.

Contact Information:
Cammie Noah
Inmate Programs and Services Manager
Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office
2777 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA  95403
707.565.1625; Fax: 707.565.6150

Best Practices Awards - 2010

The Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (COMIO) has designated three projects to receive the 2010 Best Practices Award.  These projects, one juvenile and one adult, are recognized for their effectiveness in measuring the successful treatment of mentally ill patients/clients to decrease the likelihood of future involvement with law enforcement and corrections and increase the individuals’ likelihood of effectively transitioning back into the community.  In addition to the Best Practices Awards, this year the Council has created a new subdivision of recognition to be known as Promising Projects.  A Best Practice Project typically has a combination of program maturity and a statistical analysis and evaluation approach used to document the project’s success.  A project is considered “promising” when it demonstrates unique qualities or innovative direction, but may not have the program maturity or analysis seen in Best Practices Projects. The 2010 awards were presented to the San Francisco County Jail Psychiatric Sheltered Living Unit, San Mateo County Pathways, and Stanislaus County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services.

2010 Best Practices Award Recipients

San Francisco County Jail Number 4, Psychiatric Sheltered Living Unit (PSLU) –San Francisco Jail Psychiatric Services (JPS).

From left to right: Kristina Kenyon (Therapist), Jane Lovelle (Psychiatric Site Manager) and Nick Goldenson (Counselor) San Francisco Jail Psychiatric Services (JPS)

Collaborative Partners/Providers: JPS is a program of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic Incorporated.  JPS core staff operates the PSLU program and provides group and individual therapy for the clients. It is essential to the program that staff develops and maintains collaborative relationships with other agencies within the jail and the community.  The PSLU staff have forged close relationships with Jail Aftercare Services (who assist clients in getting into Behavioral Health Court), the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, Jail Medical Services and the mental health staff from Ward 7L of San Francisco General Hospital.  The PSLU program also works with group and peer facilitators from different services in the community to conduct groups in the PSLU, and community case managers who meet with their clients in the PSLU on a regular basis. The PSLU clinicians share a strong partnership with San Francisco Citywide Forensics and other community treatment providers.  These agencies include Progress Foundation (Acute Diversion Unit), Baker Places, Westside Crises, Parole Outpatient Clinic, Conard House, Center for Recovery and Behavioral Health Access Center.

Date Founded: January 2007

Objectives: The PSLU program is designed to serve the chronically mentally ill who may also have co-occurring substance/alcohol abuse issues.  The primary objectives of the PSLU program are to equip clients with the necessary life skills to manage their mental illness so that they are able to function at their full
potential.  The PSLU program is designed to mirror community treatment programs that address mental health and substance abuse issues from a recovery model perspective.  The program utilizes a three-pronged approach to achieve these objectives.  The approach emphasizes (1) accepting mental illness and developing skills to deal with mental illness and substance abuse, (2) decriminalizing client’s thinking and behavior and (3) fostering positive social skills and role performance.  The ultimate objective of the program is to develop and embrace the client’s strengths so that they can live to their full potential when they leave the program. Ninety-five percent of the clients leave the PSLU and re-enter the community.  Some of the clients continue in Behavioral Health Court after they have left jail, while others enter residential programs or attend day treatment.  A minority of the clients return to live with family or friends and 5% (N = 13) are sentenced to prison.


  • The PSLU program is unique in its structure and function as a treatment immersion program for the incarcerated mentally ill in jail.  It provides clients with a restorative community environment and multiple treatment services that are infrequently offered in a jail setting.  The program confers high levels of freedom and responsibility to the incarcerated clients compared to their peers and the inmate population housed in other jail areas.
  • The program provides a unique opportunity for clients to take on roles of leadership in the operation of the PSLU community. When new clients enter the program, they are greeted by the peer-elected president who orients them to the PSLU milieu as well as asking them to sign a contract that outlines the guidelines and expectations of community living.  Consumer responsibility is cultivated by providing a forum in which clients can have an active role in the on-going development and operation of the program.
  • PSLU is unique in the variety of options that are made available to the clients. The clients are encouraged to take an active and accountable role in their recovery by utilizing all the resources available to them. These include therapist and peer-led groups, individual weekly treatment, peer-socialization that includes playing board games, card games and bingo.  The clients maintain their own library, have various art supplies so that they can paint and draw, can listen to music, read and watch television.  The clients also organize their own tournaments which include dominoes, scrabble along with basketball and ping-pong on their weekly visits to the gym.
  • The core of the PSLU treatment is based on the group modality, and accordingly clients choose to participate in the groups that are the most relevant to their treatment goals and that emphasize their strengths.  The amount and variety of groups that are offered is a progressive element of the program.
  • An additional unique aspect of the program is that the clients organize and participate in peer activities and projects that draw on their individual talents and areas of expertise. The clients develop self-reliance and awareness by holding positions of leadership and serving on committees.  One such committee is involved in organizing the PSLU annual holiday party that guests and leaders from various San Francisco community mental health agencies, the Sheriff’s Department and the legal system attend each December. The guests watch the clients perform in a play that the clients have written, listen to the PSLU Men’s Choir and enjoy comedy sketches and poetry recitals.
  • This jail treatment program is innovative in that the clinicians seek to involve the client’s families, friends and support systems while the clients are in jail. Clinicians try to facilitate regular communication between clients and their families, as this is an important support for clients to continue their recovery both in and out of jail.

Contact: Jane Lovelle LCSW, Psychiatric Site Manager and Clinical Supervisor at San Francisco County Jail 4.  850 Bryant St. San Francisco, CA 94103.  JPS Office 650 Fifth Street, Suite 309 San Francisco, CA 94107.  (415) 734-3272

Stanislaus County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services: Integrated Forensic Team / Mental Health Treatment Court

Collaborative Partners/Providers: Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office;
Stanislaus County Office of the Public Defender; Stanislaus County Probation Department; Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department; Stanislaus Superior Court

Date Founded: January 2006 (Mental Health Treatment Court component April 2007)

Objectives:  Reduce the following: homelessness, incarceration and institutionalization, use of emergency room care, inability to work, and inability to manage independence, isolation and involuntary care.


  • The core of this program are the Integrated Forensic Team and the Stanislaus County’s Mental Health Treatment Court and Restoration to Competency program. These allow the county to provide addition resources to our Mental Health Treatment Court, ties a Sheriff’s Deputy to our Integrated Forensic Team, and the ability to track Restoration to Competency clients during our Mental Health Court calendar through the assigned Superior Court department. A basic core benefit is more available staff for each of these small programs: from office coverage and groups, to covering vacations.
  • The program includes a dedicated ‘mental health’ Sheriff’s Deputy. This position assists our community based behavioral health staff and probation officer in the community, as well as works closely with our RN when they are working at Stanislaus County’s Public Safety Center. See item 14 for additional impacts of this position.
  • 20 slots for clients who are involved in Adult Drug Court or Prop 36/OTP and are struggling with being successful due to a co-occurring mental illness.
  • Jail Matching database. Daily one-way matching of all booked individuals to identify if they are or have been involved in behavioral health services (mental health and/or alcohol and other drug services).
  • A full time RN is assigned to spend half of their time at Stanislaus County’s Public Safety Center. This makes good use of the jail matching database, provides prompts assessments of referred in-custody clients.

Contact: Michael Wilson, mfti Coordinator, 500 N. 9th Street, Modesto, CA 95350,, 209-558-4420

San Mateo County Mental Health: Pathways

Collaborative Partners/Providers: San Mateo County Courts, Probation Department, District Attorney’s Office, Private Defender Office, Sheriff’s Office, Correctional Mental Health, and Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS).

Date Founded: January 2007

Objectives:  The objective of Pathways is to engage seriously mentally ill offenders with increased services and supports to help break the revolving criminal justice door. Their histories and treatment plans are reviewed in weekly Pathway meetings which include staff representing Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Probation Department, Private Defenders Office, and other service providers. Additional planning takes place in the Judge’s chambers on Friday before Court. Clients are provided with assistance, connected with treatment services, and given encouragement to achieve their long term goals.  These goals may include sobriety, independent housing, addressing physical health issues, attending school or obtaining employment. The majority of the participants have co-occurring substance abuse disorders which are addressed through residential and out-patient drug and alcohol services.
It is through the intensive supervision by Pathways staff, engagement in treatment, symptom recognition and management, and participation in meaningful activities toward the client’s goals that incarceration and recidivism are reduced.

Many of the clients have been socially isolated and have not felt part of a healthy community. Pathways has ongoing groups, Saturday staff coverage and activities, picnics and other social gatherings to foster connection. Clients are brought back in to Court periodically to review their progress. This may involve confronting destructive choices or rewarding positive decisions. Clients graduate at the end of their probation period and are honored in Court with a ceremony and certificate. They then become part of our Alumni and can mentor others in Pathways.

Pathways has been described as the most progressive step ever taken in our criminal justice system to work with persons with mental health issues to ensure they do not re-offend and return to jail. Pathways clients and the program have experienced a great deal of success over the past year based on the increasing enrollment, successful completion of substance abuse treatment programs, recidivism decreases, jail day rate decreases and the excitement and joy shared at Pathways events. The net result is an improvement in the quality of life for Pathways clients. The booking decrease noted went from 86 a year prior to 41 for 2008. The jail days went from 2,812 days to 1,192 days. This is not just a significant savings to the County it is also about shaping its citizens and giving them hope and opportunity. Pathways is committed to providing our at risk population with what ever it takes to give them the opportunity to have a better life.

Richard F. Hori, Probation Services Manager, 400 County Center, Redwood City, CA 94063,, (650) 599-1521

Terry Wilcox-Rittgers, Clinical Services Manager 900 Veterans Blvd. #330, Redwood City, CA 94063

Best Practices Awards - 2009

The Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (COMIO) has designated two projects to receive the 2009 Best Practices Award.  These projects, one juvenile and one adult, are recognized for their effectiveness in measuring the successful treatment of mentally ill patients/clients to decrease the likelihood of future involvement with law enforcement and corrections and increase the individuals’ likelihood of effectively transitioning back into the community.  In addition to the Best Practices Awards, this year the Council has created a new subdivision of recognition to be known as Promising Projects.  A Best Practice Project typically has a combination of program maturity and a statistical analysis and evaluation approach used to document the project’s success.  A project is considered “promising” when it demonstrates unique qualities or innovative direction, but may not have the program maturity or analysis seen in Best Practices Projects.

2009 Best Practices

Juvenile Program: Integrated Mental Health Assessment and Treatment Continuum for Juvenile Probation and Youth (IMAT) — Sacramento County Collaboration

The River Oak Center for Children began implementing Multisystemic Therapy (MST) in 2004 in collaboration with the Sacramento County Probation Department.  This was expanded in 2007 to include Sacramento County Mental Health, Quality Group Homes and Panacea Incorporated.  The objectives of the program, which focuses on youth ages 10-17 for 3-5 months, are to reduce anti-social behavior, improve family problem- solving and enhance positive school and vocational involvement.  Nearly 200 clients have been served and 400+ additional children and family members have benefited from the MST approach.   From 2004 to 2008, 73% graduated, 72% of the youths were living at home at time of discharge, 84% were in school or working, 82% have no new arrests, and 81% of parents have demonstrated the skills necessary to handle future problems.  The approach of an effective use of outcome measures offers a strong case for measuring an individual’s successful completion of the program.

Adult Program: Supervised Treatment After Release (STAR) — San Bernardino County

]STAR has been in operation for ten years and was created to affect a shift in institutional response from the criminal justice system to the mental health system and to maintain seriously mentally ill individuals in the least restrictive environment possible consistent with personal and community safety.  More than 600 individuals have been served, usually within a 12 to 24 months period.  An analysis of the behavior of 149 participants over a seven-year period indicates the number of bookings had decreased by 64%, the number of “jail bed days” decreased by 65% and the number of institutional placement days was reduced by 66%.  STAR has effectively reduced recidivism for incarceration, shifted the demand for services to the mental health system and provided significant benefits for consumers in terms of deinstitutionalization.

2009 Promising Projects

Juvenile Program: Juvenile Mental Health Court  — Los Angeles County

Since 2001, the Juvenile Mental Health Court (JMHC) has accepted 315 children.  It acts as a referral court for all minors found to be incompetent in Los Angeles County and is the only delinquency court in California that specifically accepts children who have been found incompetent by the referring courts.  Typically, the JMHC probation period lasts two years and with successful completion of probation, the minor’s case may be dismissed.  A diverse collaborative team looks at each child and devises a treatment plan that addresses each child’s disabilities as well as strengths.

Adult Program: Mental Health Court — Placer County

Since 1999, the Placer County Mental Health Court has served about 600 defendants and presently does not receive any funding from collaborative agencies.  The Mental Health Court’s success uniquely depends upon commitment from all participants representing diverse, and sometimes even oppositional agencies.  Partner commitment encompasses dedication to improve outcomes of mentally ill offenders including reduced recidivism.  While data collection methods are under development, evaluation analysis has not been used to determine success, to date.  Still, the project’s participants sense that jail population and recidivism are diminishing, and that more defendants are receiving needed mental health treatment, resulting in an improved quality of life.

Adult Program: Mental Health Court — Riverside County (Western Riverside County / Desert Region)

The Riverside County Mental Health Court was originally established in 2001 and reestablished in 2006.  Misdemeanors offenders, as well as felons are considered for acceptance.  Referral can originate from a variety of sources building upon a collaborative that is composed of formerly conflicted agencies.  The program objective is to provide individuals with a linkage to mental health treatment outside of detention, identify community resources to facilitate continuity of care, increase treatment compliance and promote public safety.  The two court locations serve 115 and 70 individuals annually.   While the program has not implemented the model of rigorous data design and evaluation referenced in their application, the project does use measures to determine program success including completion of treatment goals, stabilization of mental illness and compliance with the terms of probation.

Whatever It Takes (WIT) Court

Orange County

The Whatever It Takes (WIT) Court is a post-adjudication alternative serving chronically mentally ill individuals who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, and have pending criminal charges.  Initiated in 2006, participants are provided intensive mental health and/or substance abuse treatment, case management and an intense level of judicial and probation supervision and monitoring. Similar to other problem-solving courts such as drug courts, this is a collaborative partnership made up of a multi- disciplinary team.  Unique to the WIT Court is that each participant is assigned a Personal Service Coordinator, at a ratio of 1 to every 10 clients, who provides supportive treatment and assists clients with every facet of their recovery.  Ninety-eight individuals have been admitted to the program with sixteen being terminated.  Of the five graduates, the average length of time from program entry to graduation is 630 days.  While this program is immature with a small number of participants, data is being collected and an internal evaluation of the program is planned.

Announcement Letter.   Note: The file is 2009_BestPracLtr.pdf. This document no longer exists on the internet server.
2009 Survey Search Form.  Note: The file is 2009Survey.pdf. This document no longer exists on the internet server.
Frequently Asked Questions.  Note: The file is 2009_BP_FAQ.pdf. This document no longer exists on the internet server.

Best Practices Awards - 2008

Adult Programs

Behavioral Health Court, San Francisco Superior Court
Judge Mary Morgan; Lisa Lightman, Director of Collaborative Court Programs

An evaluation of the San Francisco Behavioral Health Court, one of the only pre-plea felony court programs in the nation, appeared in the September 2007 issue of American Journal of Psychiatry indicating that a mental health court can reduce the risk of recidivism and violence by people with mental disorders who are involved with the criminal justice system.  By 18 months after graduation, the estimated risk of being charged with any new offense was about 39% lower than the comparison group and  55% lower of being charged with a violent offense. Since 2003, the Behavioral Health Court has had 173 graduates. There are 160 persons currently in the program.

Co-Occurring Disorders Court, Orange County Superior Court
Judge Wendy Lindley; Paul Shapiro, Collaborative Courts Officer; Jim Mahar, Collaborative Court Coordinator

The Orange County Co-Occurring Disorders Court is a post-adjudication alternative for felony drug offenders who have been diagnosed as chronically, persistently mentally ill.  The court aims to reduce recidivism by providing coordinated treatment which includes a high level of judicial and probation supervision and monitoring.  Average length of program participation is 763 days.  Unique to this program is a highly structured and individualized four phased treatment and recovery plan design that must be followed by the participants in order to achieve graduation.   Since 2002, 123 individuals have entered the program and 40 have graduated.

Mental Health Treatment Court / Santa Clara County Superior Court 
Judge Stephen V. Manley; Actricia Barrieau, Coordinator for Drug and Mental Health Treatment Court

The Santa Clara County Mental Health Treatment Court was established in 1997 and is considered the first mental health court in California. A major goal at its initiation was to change the orientation within the county from “jail and prison incarceration” to “community based treatment” with court supported intervention.  In 2006, the program saved 113,344 jail bed days—which reflects a county savings of $7,874,007 and a savings to the State in excess of $16,376,000.  Although formal tracking of the program participants was not initiated until 2001, since that time 1,075 have graduated while 262 have been terminated.  Presently there are 1,500 people in the program.

Juvenile Programs

Client Assessment Recommendation Evaluation Project (C.A.R.E.), Los Angeles County Public Defender
Jennifer Mayer, Deputy Public Defender; Joanne Rotstein, Deputy Public Defender

The Client Assessment Recommendation Evaluation Project, more commonly known as CARE, operates in the ten juvenile branch offices of the Los Angeles Public Defender with the focus of assessing, identifying and making effective recommendations to the Juvenile Court to address children’s mental health and special education needs at the earliest stages of the court process.  This approach involves a multi-disciplinary team of psychiatric social workers, mental health professionals, resource attorneys as well as other clinicians.  From 1999 through 2007, approximately 11,000 children received project services.  In the 2006-2007 fiscal year alone, 1,298 new clients received 7,220 types of services.  A recent study found that 76% of the youth whose cases were opened and closed between February 2004 and December 2005 had no new charges filed in juvenile or adult court during the subsequent year.  During the past 4 1/2 years, the courts have adopted 83% of the CARE disposition recommendations.  There are typically 400 youth in the program receiving services in a 90 day period.

Court for the Individualized Treatment of Adolescents / Santa Clara County Superior Court, Juvenile Delinquency Division
Judge Richard Loftus; Sean Rooney, Supervising Probation Officer

The Court for the Individualized Treatment of Adolescents, popularly known as CITA, seeks approaches that are community-based, family centered, culturally appropriate and supportive to the individual.  It holds the juvenile accountable and in a collaborative manner attempts to treat the underlying causes for the juvenile’s behavior. The CITA also aims to reduce recidivism. Initiated on February 14, 2001, CITA is the first juvenile mental health court in the country and has developed an evolving set of graduation criteria that now have been replicated by other courts throughout the country. CITA has a set population cap of 75 minors at any one time.  171 have successfully completed the one year program out of a total of 255.