Understanding Juvenile Offenders with Behavioral Health Disorders

Understanding Juvenile Offenders with Behavioral Health Disorders 

The juvenile justice system, much like the criminal justice system, has a high number of youth with behavioral health issues. The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice reports that approximately 2/3, or 70%, of youth in the care of the juvenile justice system have a diagnosable mental health disorder and 60% meet criteria for a substance use disorder. Additionally, 30% of these disorders are so severe that they lead to functional impairments. This course will provide professionals working in juvenile detention and community confinement facilities and in community-based supervision capacities with a brief overview of behavioral health disorders (which includes mental health and substance use disorders) and potential causes. Additionally, information will be presented on common types and symptoms of behavioral health disorders experienced by youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Finally, you will learn about the difference between screening and assessing for behavioral health disorders. DSM™ and DSM-5™ are registered trademarks of the American Psychiatric Association. The American Psychiatric Association is not affiliated with nor endorses this course. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, commonly known as the DSM-5™ (for the current edition) is used to diagnose whether an individual has a behavioral disorder. The manual emphasizes that making such diagnoses requires specialized training. In a juvenile justice setting, only mental health professionals should decide whether a juvenile has a behavioral health disorder.


Hours: 2.00


Certificates provided by accrediting body (2 Match)

American Jail Association Certification


This activity is approved for 2.00 contact hours.

California Board of State and Community Corrections


This activity is approved for 2.00 STC credit hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-PS-0-UJOMD-V2
Hours: 2
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 6/30/2024
Learning Objectives:
Define and describe what causes behavioral health disorders.
Identify 3 reasons juveniles with behavioral health disorders are involved in the justice system.
Explain 3 differences between screening and assessment for behavioral health disorders.
Identify up to 8 common groups of behavioral health disorders and list at least 3 common symptoms of each.


Section 1: Introduction

A. About This Course

B.Learning Objectives

Section 2: Understanding Behavioral Health Disorders

A. What Causes Behavioral Health Disorders?

B. Causes of Behavioral Health Disorders

C. Impact of System Involvement on Symptoms

D. Reasons Why Youth with Behavioral Health Disorders are Involved in the Justice System

E. Review

F. Summary

Section 3: Identifying Behavioral Health Disorders in Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

A. Behavioral Health Screening and Assessment

B. Key Differences Between Screening and Assessment

C. Review

D. Summary

Section 4: Common Groups of Behavioral Health Disorders

A. Adolescence

B. Common Behavioral Health Disorders

C. Neurodevelopmental Disorders

D. Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders

E. Anxiety Disorders

F. Depressive Disorders

G. Bipolar and Related Disorders

H. Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders

I. Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders

J. Substance Use Disorders

K. Review

L. Summary

Section 5: Conclusion

A. Summary

B.Course Contributors

C. Resources

D. References

E. Congratulations!

Staff Writer: Kimberly Cobb, MS
Mrs. Cobb is a Lead SME Writer/Trainer at Relias. Her primary writing responsibilities are in the Health and Human Services vertical, in the content areas of public safety and behavioral health. Mrs. Cobb is also the onboarding trainer for new Relias staff joining the Content Department. Mrs. Cobb has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. She has over 24 years of experience working in criminal and juvenile justice. Her work includes direct service, research, and training and technical assistance. She was the statewide evaluator for the Commonwealth of Kentucky for adult, juvenile, and family drug courts; a Research Associate for the American Probation & Parole Association providing training and technical assistance to Native American Nations/Alaska Native Villages on systemic criminal and juvenile justice initiatives; and a Research Administrator for the University of Kentucky. Disclosure: Kimberly Cobb, MS has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Expert Reviewer: Dee K. Bell, PhD
Dr. Dee Bell is a clinical psychologist and consultant in the areas of Restorative Justice, Juvenile Justice and Correctional Assessments. She retired as the Deputy Commissioner of Juvenile Justice at the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. Previously, she served for four years as the Administrator of the Community Justice Institute at Florida Atlantic University and the Director of the Balanced and Restorative Justice Project sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Prior to these positions, she has worked 30 + years in Community Corrections for Georgia and Florida State Government. Educated at Clemson University and Emory University, she has provided training in both state and national venues for many years and has authored and co-authored a number of articles on justice system issues and adult and juvenile justice curricula and restorative justice in communities and schools. Disclosure: Dee K. Bell, PhD has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: Correctional Officers; in the following settings: Juvenile Corrections.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
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All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
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All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
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