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What is Mental Health Services?
In Los Angeles County, there are approximately 25,000 minors under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court. Many of these minors have needs for mental health service and are being treated with psychotropic medications. Juvenile Court judges must make decisions regarding minors under their jurisdiction that are affected and influenced by the mental health of these minors. To interface optimally with the mental health provider system, it is vital for the Juvenile Court to have timely access to mental health consultation and liaison services. Juvenile Court Mental Health Services (JCMHS) serves this function. The mission of JCMHS is to optimize mental health care for children who are under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court. JCMHS accomplishes this goal through facilitation of effective Court decision making by helping all Court personnel obtain and interpret relevant mental health information and promoting collaboration between the various agencies in making and implementing plans to meet children's mental health needs.

When a child is referred to JCMHS, mental health information regarding the child is obtained by various means including direct clinical evaluation, speaking to others who are significant sources of information, reviewing clinical and other records etc. JCMHS consults with judges, attorneys, social workers, probation officers, child advocates, family members and others and serves as liaison between them and members of the mental health provider system. This service facilitates the Court’s understanding of minors’ mental health problems and needs for services and enables the Court and related agencies to effectively access mental health resources on behalf of the child. JCMHS also provides a portal through which the mental health system is able to communicate with the Court system.

The mental health needs of Juvenile Court dependents and wards are often complex and their elucidation may best be accomplished by a multi-disciplinary approach. Recognizing this, JCMHS functions may be performed by clinicians of different disciplines working as a team.
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