Despite significant rates of psychopathology, less than 10% of court-involved youth are connected to appropriate care on release from detention. The majority are mandated to probation on release, providing the juvenile probation officer (PO) a unique opportunity to facilitate connection to mental health care. The current study supported this notion through analysis of qualitative interviews with recently detained youth, and their caregivers, who were identified with mental health concerns in detention. The juvenile PO was evaluated as a gateway provider (GP) in the pathway to mental health care. Results supported previous research discussing the conflicting roles inherent in juvenile probation: law enforcement and rehabilitation. A number of individual- and system-level factors specific to juvenile POs improved or impaired likelihood of connection to care. Further research should investigate how the interaction of the individual juvenile PO's law enforcement orientation, and departmental culture and climate, affects youth's connection to mental health care.
- juvenile justice
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