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    Juvenile Mental Health Court Graduation Honors Kids

    (GOLDEN, CO — March 16, 2012) Children with mental illness create potentially dangerous problems for themselves and their families. Often are not diagnosed, or are misdiagnosed. They may begin breaking the law or turn to drugs in an attempt to self-medicate. Desperate parents are often forced to resort to calling police on their out-of-control kids, who aren’t criminals, simply because they don’t know where else to turn.

    Officials in Jefferson County are facing these challenges head on. Since 2008 Jefferson County has provided a Mental Health Court designed to keep certain kids with mental health issues out of the delinquency system and provide them and their families with the help and resources they need.

    The program is a partnership between the Jefferson Center for Mental Health, the District Attorney, the courts, probation, the Public Defenders’ Office, the Juvenile Assessment Center, Human Services, the school district and the Rocky Mountain Children’s law Center.

    On Tuesday, March 20, twelve teens who have successfully completed the program will be graduating at a ceremony at the Holy Shepherd Lutheran Church, 920 Kipling, in Lakewood. The kids and their families will come together to celebrate their success. They will talk about how this program has changed their lives and given them the chance to succeed that they need and deserve.

    All participants in mental health court must have a diagnosed mental illness. Most of the kids in the program suffer from major depression and bi-polar disorders. Their ages range from 10-17. Kids are referred to the program by various agencies in the community. A screening committee evaluates the child and their family. The program cannot be successful without everyone working together.

    “Every year there are less juvenile mental health beds available, we have 1,000 less now than just few years ago,” said Jeffco District Attorney Scott Storey, “Our mental health court is a lifeline for desperate families with no place left to turn. It is a travesty that kids would ever have to be arrested to get the services they need.”

    Pam Russell
    DA Public Information

    March 16, 2012

    Last Updated: 7-1-2013
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