Behavioral Health Juvenile Justice Initiative

BHJJ Summary
What is BHJJ?
The Behavioral Health Juvenile Justice (BHJJ) initiative is a cohort of evidence-based programs designed to identity and divert justice-involved youth with mental health and substance abuse disorders into community-based treatment. Funding for BHJJ is provided by Departments of Youth Services (DYS) and Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) with administrative oversight provided by DYS to 9 local programs serving 12 counties. Local project partners at a minimum include the Mental Health and Drug Alcohol Board (Board), juvenile court and a behavioral health provider. Since 2006, the initiative has served over 4,000 youth.
What is the purpose of BHJJ?
The purpose of BHJJ is to support local communities so they can transform the local systems’ ability to identify, assess, evaluate, and treat multi-need, multi-system youth and their families and to develop services determined by research to be most effective in addressing the assessed needs of multi-system youth and families. In addition, the initiative builds a statistical sample that is collected and analyzed by the Begun Center at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) to substantiate the impact of specific interventions and provide outcome data needed to sustain and expand programs that work.
Why does DYS require communities to collect and report data about youth and families served?
Through contracted evaluative services provided by CWRU, DYS and local mental health and recovery services boards collect and analyze program data to determine the effectiveness of interventions, inform courts, behavioral health providers and Boards regarding the impact of their program on their community, and when appropriate expand funding of programs.
What does BHJJ do?
BHJJ diverts appropriate youth from further penetration into the juvenile justice system and reduces the need for costly state- and county-supported residential services (DYS facilities, Community Corrections Facilities, and detention facilities) and ineffective and/or costly out-of-home placements (residential treatment in- and out-of-state). BHJJ provides youth and families evidenced-based and evidence-informed services and supports like Multisystemic Therapy, Functional Family Therapy, Integrated Co-occurring Treatment, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, High Fidelity Wraparound, assessment, and care coordination.
How do we know BHJJ is working?
DYS, with the assistance of third-party quality assurance and evaluation experts at the Begun Center at CWRU, continuously evaluates each program’s success, which includes mental health, substance use, trauma-related outcomes, educational outcomes, treatment model fidelity and measuring admissions to DYS and other out-of-home placements such as residential treatment facilities. Boards also conduct analyses, often in partnership with CWRU, to determine effectiveness and the impact of their programmatic and fiscal investment. On a biennial basis, CWRU completes a comprehensive evaluation of the initiative and individual analysis of each local program.
What is the fiscal impact of BHJJ?
With $2.3M from DYS and $250,000 from OhioMHAS awarded each fiscal year, BHJJ currently funds 9 programs serving 12 counties. The overall fiscal impact of BHJJ, as with Targeted RECLAIM and Competitive RECLAIM, helps reduce the need for DYS and CCF beds and county/state funded out-of-home placements. In the most recent evaluation released by CWRU for project period ending June, 2015, the initiative had 3,495 youth enrolled, of which, 96% of youth were not sent to a DYS institution following services, youth reported significant reductions in trauma symptoms and substance use, treatment led to significant improvements in functioning & problem severity, school grades improved & suspensions/expulsions were greatly reduced, and the risk of out-of-home placement reduced by 56%.
What happens when a program funded by BHJJ is not working?
DYS is committed to working with juvenile courts, mental health and recovery services boards, and community providers to develop programs and services that work. When a program is found to be ineffective, DYS will work with the project partners and experts to improve services and outcomes. When appropriate, DYS will assist courts in identifying and implementing alternate interventions that may better meet the needs of their youth, families, and community.

Links to CWRU Evaluation Links to BHJJ Outcomes by County