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An Illinois-based initiative to diagnose and treat mental illness among youth who have been in contact with the justice system revealed a significant decrease in future contact with law enforcement, according to program officials, who unveiled findings from the program last week.
The Juvenile Justice Mental Health Initiative was coordinated by the Illinois Collaboration on Youth/Youth Network Council and operated by more than 22 community-based youth services agencies throughout the state.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provided $1.2 million in grant funding for the 16-month initiative. The program, which ran from September 1, 2005 through December 30, 2006, treated approximately 698 youths, whose ages ranged from 11 to 17, with mental illness who had been in contact with law enforcement and the juvenile justice system. …