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Juvenile Justice Diversion Programs

In the FY19 budget, Governor Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly provided $4.5 million in recurring state funding for TDMHSAS to impact the area of juvenile justice.  The primary purpose of this funding is to expand community-based services and training to provide treatment options for juvenile courts to utilize across the state, specifically services and training that are evidence-based and outcomes oriented. The targeted population is youth who have been referred to juvenile court for a delinquent/unruly charge, or who have already been adjudicated delinquent/unruly, and are at risk of being placed in DCS custody.  Partners in this effort include the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts, and juvenile judges and court staff from across the state.

Program Goals:

  1. To divert youth in juvenile courts from further penetration into the juvenile justice system through the use of community-based services, rather than commitment to state custody, where treatment through community-based services better addresses the youth’s needs.
  2. To establish, expand, and strengthen partnerships between juvenile courts, community behavioral health providers, child welfare, juvenile justice, education, youth and families, and other key stakeholders to maximize coordination in the diversion of youth from state custody.
  3. To ensure resiliency, well-being, and overall connectedness to the community for juvenile justice involved youth.
  4. To measure outcomes in the minimization of commitment of youth to state custody and recidivism in the form of re-arrest.

After a competitive selection process, six grantees were chosen with a special focus on areas of the state with limited in-home, community-based alternatives to out-of-home placements.  The map below shows grantees and counties served.

Slide 1

Work done by grantees will capitalize on the Building Strong Brains initiative which factors in the effects of childhood trauma or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The array of services to be provided can include care coordination, intensive family therapy, group therapy, peer support, medication management, substance abuse services, crisis planning, school-based monitoring, community-based monitoring, respite services, and resource linkage. Service providers will accept referrals from juvenile court judges, juvenile court staff, and the Department of Children’s Services.

Learn more about each grantee's tools, interventions, and implementation plans by clicking the links below.