The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Forensic division, was awarded a TTI grant in 2010 to develop a way to assess the needs of youth encountering the juvenile justice system. In partnership with the Administrative Office of the Courts, the TN Department of Children’s Services (Juvenile Justice division) Vanderbilt Behavioral Health, and a number of juvenile courts across the state, TDMHSAS has been able to train court staff in the use of an abbreviated version of the CANS (Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths) tool. Based on the CANS screening, court staff are able to make referrals for appropriate services for youth and their families. Three of these courts also have access to a Family Support Provider (FSP) through TVC; court staff identify the families that would benefit from family support services and make a direct referral to TVC.
These FSPs in the Courts have the following goals:
- Assist children alleged to be delinquent or unruly and their families in accessing and participating in mental health, substance abuse and related support services when referred to services following a mental health and substance abuse screening conducted by the Juvenile Court Youth Service Officer or other juvenile court staff;
- Assist children alleged to be delinquent or unruly and their families to access needed services identified with the assistance of a mental health and substance abuse screening conducted by the Juvenile Court Youth Service Officer or other juvenile court staff, thereby reducing recidivism and increasing diversion of children from the juvenile justice system.