Juvenile justice project wins MacArthur Foundation support

The Juvenile Justice and Assessment division at the Department of Psychiatry’s Center for Mental Health Services Research has received a third grant – this one for $450,000 – from the MacArthur Foundation to support the ongoing National Youth Screening and Assessment Project (NYSAP).

NYSAP provides technical assistance for the MacArthur Foundation’s nationwide initiative, “Models for Change: Systems Reform in Juvenile Justice,” says Thomas Grisso, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, director of psychology, and director of the Law-Psychiatry Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

“Our role is for us to go anywhere in the country where MacArthur needs us,” Grisso said. “For example, we help juvenile justice settings, such as detention centers, put in place screening methods that can identify kids who are suicidal or need mental health services right away.”

NYSAP previously developed and validated a screening tool that is now used in juvenile justice settings in 42 states.

“Models for Change” was launched in 2006 to spur nationwide reform in juvenile justice policies and practices. NYSAP is one of about 10 centers in the country affiliated with the massive undertaking, for which the MacArthur Foundation has committed more than $100,000,000. Including the most recent grant, NYSAP has received about $2.7 million.