Online Program

Interdisciplinary approach to mental health and juvenile delinquency

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Chelsie White, M.S., Center for Technical Assistance, Training, and Research Support, The MayaTech Corporation, Silver Spring, MD
Ashley Sawyer, Esq., Special Education Advocacy for Incarcerated Youth Project, Education Law Center, Philadelphia, PA
The United States currently incarcerates more than 60,000 children. An estimated 93 percent of incarcerated U.S. children have experienced at least one traumatic event. 

Through an examination of current literature and recent reports this paper highlights ways 1) public health professionals can recognize trauma in School-Based Health Care efforts, and 2) teach lawyers working in special education and within the juvenile justice system to understand the role of trauma within the “Emotional Disturbance” Special Education category. “Emotional Disturbance” is an eligibility category under the federal law, Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). This category can be used to connect youth to necessary support services. Many children receiving Special Education services under the “Emotional Disturbance” category have experienced trauma which is linked to negative behavior.  Inter-disciplinary collaboration can train and/or require educators to respond to negative behavior in a way that views trauma as the likely stimulus. Youth in the juvenile justice system are not “criminals”; instead, they should be viewed as children who have been exposed to trauma. Stigmatizing these youth by labeling them “criminals” has potentially negative impacts on health behaviors and chronic disease outcomes.

By implementing a multidisciplinary approach to mental health in at risk youth, educators, legal professionals, public health professionals and other stakeholders can prevent these students from falling deeper into the School-to-Prison-Pipeline.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Assess the existence of a relationship between juvenile delinquency and mental health Identify ways that public health professionals can include trauma sensitivity in School Based Health Care efforts Describe the importance of recognizing trauma within the “Emotional Disturbance” under the federal law Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act Examine interdisciplinary solutions to address the existing relationship between mental health and juvenile delinquency

Keyword(s): Child/Adolescent Mental Health, Law

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I earned my law degree at Howard University School of Law and my commitment to the needs of at-risk youth and educational fairness include working on the school to prison pipeline with the Advancement Project, mentoring for urban youth, and serving on Howard School of Law civil rights clinic. Additionally, a policy fellowship award during my undergraduate studies at Rutgers University provided the opportunity to work in the New Jersey Governor’s Policy Office.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4280.0: Health Law Poster Session #1