Ontario’s Community-Based
Mental Health Responses for
Youth in Conflict With the Law
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
Youth Justice Services Division
Mental Health Services Panel
Canadian Criminal Justice Association
Pan-Canadian Congress 2011
October 28, 2011
Quebec City
Ontario’s Community Based
Mental Health Responses for
Youth in Conflict with the Law
Focus:

Profile of child/youth mental health in Ontario
including youth in conflict with the law

Drivers of Change supporting community based
responses

Community-Based Services Profile

“A Closer Look”: 2 Examples of Community-Based
Mental Health Programs


Youth Mental Health Court Worker Program
Intensive Support and Supervision Program
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Profile of Child & Youth Mental
Health in Ontario

Ontario Children’s Mental Health Association observation that 1 in 5
(20%) of all children and adolescents experience mental health difficulties.

Approximately 30% of youth (defined by Canadian Mental Health
Association as age 12-24) who have accessed concurrent disorder
services are involved in the legal system and young people between the
ages of 15-24 are three times more likely to have a substance abuse
problem than people over 24.

Anecdotally, people working with youth in the justice system suggests
between 40% to 60% of youth have mental health needs ranging from
mild to severe (i.e.: Psychiatric, Anxiety, Mood, Sexual, Developmental
and Conduct Disorders)

2010/11 admissions to open /secure custody/residential indicates that
18.2% of youth admitted into the system have an identified mental health
need

24% of 430 youth sentenced to secure custody have an identified mental
health need
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Drivers for Change that Support
Community Based Action

The Youth Criminal Justice Act: focus on prevention,
diversion, rehabilitation, addressing the underlying
causes of youth crime, and reserving custody for
most serious offences.

Ministry of Children and Youth Services 2003

Research: Evidence Base Practices and Programs

Need for differential responses for youth with mental
health needs in Justice system
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All Youth Justice Sentences Have
a Component Served in
Community
Full
Community Programming
Least restrictive community based orders
May be supervised by MCYS
Partial
More restrictive & custody orders
Supervised by MCYS
Any sanction or any number that are not inconsistent with each other
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Community Based Programs:
Number of Youth Served and
Number of Programs
Diversion
10,000
94
99
90
8,000
6,000
10,386
10,390
10,268
120
11,119
10,438
94
100
91
80
59
60
4,649
4,000
40
2,000
20
0
# of Programs
# of Youth Served
12,000
0
05/06
06/07
07/08
08/09
09/10
10/11
Includes: Pre-charge EJM, Post-charge EJS, YMHCW
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Youth Mental Health Court Worker
Program

Program Design and Origin


Service Delivery Model


How Does the Program Work
Program Trends/Observations


Program Rationale: What is the Goal and Why
Challenges and Lessons Learned
Moving Forward

Next Program Steps
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Youth Mental Health Court Worker
Program Design and Origin

The 2004 Ontario Budget committed to expanding community mental
health services to serve an additional 78,600 clients by 2007-08 and
included $50.0M annualized funding in services to support diversion of
youth and adults with mental health issues from the criminal justice and
correctional systems

Flow through Model (moves clients briskly to services)

Facilitates the diversion of youth whose primary issues are related to
mental health, not criminal behaviour

Supports MCYS continuum of integrated services

Supports continuity of service bridging youth who cross-over to adult
mental health system

Expands and develops community partnerships
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Client may enter auspice of Youth Mental Health Court Worker through any referral avenue: self referral, family/
caregiver, crown/defence attorney, judge, administrative staff, historical (known to court as consumer of
services). Client eligible for supports at first opportunity regardless of charge election of court process, family
supports, ward status.
Crown Attorney elects to divert before court process
Youth elects to proceed with court process
Diversion at Sentencing
Custody
Sentence
Stay/Withdrawal
Probation Services
Community Services
Service Delivery Model
When sentenced to Custody
the Probation Staff and
YMHCW cooperate to inform
facility of youth mental health
status. When custody portion
completed client is re-linked
with community services
Youth Mental Health Court Worker
Program Trends and Observations

Average age of youth 16 yrs

Over 3000 youth served to date

20% year over year increase; Approx 1/3 of Youth
outside age range; 1/3 Youth diverted out of system; 1/3
Youth elect to proceed at court.

Challenges: Success creates greater demand for
community services.

Lessons Learned: Inclusive Communications Strategy;
Court House Office Accommodations; Program
Continuity: Implementation Guide.
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Youth Mental Health Court Worker
Moving Forward & Next Steps

2011/12 expansion to 45 of 54 Ontario Courts service
for approximately 95% of all youth matters in Ontario
aged 12-17 as per YCJA

Next Steps

Provide support and linkages during the program
operationalization roll-out

Promote continued partnerships education awareness
(courts, community, child/youth mental health systems)

Continued support for community of practice network to
promote problem solving and smooth operations
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Intensive Support and Supervision
Program

Program Design and Origin


Service Delivery Model


How Does the Program Work
Program Trends/Observations


Program Rationale: What is the Goal and Why
Challenges and Lessons Learned
Moving Forward

Next Program Steps
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Intensive Support and Supervision
Program Origin
1998
Fed Youth Justice
Renewal Initiative
2003
Youth
Criminal Justice
Act
April 1, 2004
Ministry of Children
And Youth Services
2005
Intensive Support
& Supervision
Program
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Ontario’s Intensive Support and
Supervision Program
Design

Research indicates that community programs are more likely to reduce
recidivism than custody (Andrews and Bonta, 1998; Lipsey and Wilson,
1997)

Program targets youth with behaviours more related to mental
health/illness needs than criminogenic factors

Small target population with a high potential for improvement in the
community, low potential in custody (Henggeler, 1989).

Offences significant enough to result in custody sentences, but with
appropriate supervision and support, could be safely and effectively
managed in their communities (cost effectiveness)

Mental health system often challenged to respond well to youth in
conflict with the law

2010/11 fiscal program budget $3,393,281.00
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Service Delivery Model
Offence: Young person enters youth criminal justice system via offence that
qualifies for custody. Anyone may alert court regarding program suitability.
Court: Referral for program suitability to service provider
Service Provider Evaluation in
Cooperation Probation Officer
Eligibility Criteria: Young person 12-17
years diagnosed mental health need
DSM Axis 1 and require on going
clinical intervention and continuous
support; Voluntary consent; Family/
supportive persons; would likely
receive a custody sentence without
ISSP; can be safely supervised in the
community
Court
Determination on basis of plan, guilty plea and
consent
Yes ISSP
Accessed as
Condition of
Probation
NO
Youth Justice
Court Hearing
YCJA Sentences
Develop Program Plan
Clinical
Programming
Community or Post Supervision Services
Withdrawal of Consent
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Intensive Support and Supervision
Program Trends and Observations
Average age of youth 16 yrs

Over 700 youth served to date

117 Average Annual Program Total

Average 22 per Program

Challenges: Staffing pressures, court & family challenges,
Dual Diagnosed and Adult system challenges

Lessons Learned: Need for a communications strategy to
respond to changes in program or court personnel,
keeping them apprised of the program goals and criteria
and reinforcing the corporate/service provider relationship
including probation services and education sector
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Intensive Support and Supervision
Moving Forward & Next Steps

Support Outcome Evaluation

Continue support for Community of Practice

Promote partnerships and education awareness
(courts, community, child/youth mental health
systems)
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Community Based Mental Health
Responses for Youth
Continuing Priorities for Ontario
Continue broadening awareness of alternatives to
custody for youth with Mental Health needs






Links with children’s mental health sector
Cross-jurisdictional Education exchange
Broad partnership/relationship building
Relations with Agencies and Probation
Ensure youth are in the right system: mental health
system not justice system
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Community-Based Mental Health Responses
for Youth in Conflict With the Law
Trish Moloughney
Director,
Planning and Program Development Branch,
Youth Justice Services Division,
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
[email protected]
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Youth Mental Health Court Worker Program