The SOAR Program

Denton County Juvenile Mental Health Court

Programmatic Overview

Program's Purpose: The program's purpose is to serve the needs of children who are at risk of being removed from their homes due to mental health issues that result in behaviors that make them unmanageable in their home and/or community environments. The program was established to bring intensive services to these children in their homes and to address the family issues that may be contributing factors to the dysfunction of the identified children. The program is designed to assess the issues in the home that impact the mental health of the child and the functionality of the family and to work with the family and community resources to address the identified problems and to provide the rehabilitative and supportive services that will allow the juvenile to remain in his home with a decreased risk of removal as well as a lessened risk of recidivism, thereby keeping the community safe.

Program Goal: The goal of Denton County Juvenile Mental Health Court is to reduce delinquency, increase offender accountability and rehabilitate juvenile offenders through a comprehensive, coordinated community-based juvenile probation system that involves the entire family dynamic.

Target Population: Post adjudicated male and female juveniles between the ages of 10-17 diagnosed with mood disorder, psychosis, mania, anxiety, trauma (PTSD), anger issues, and ADHD amongst other diagnosis.

Eligibility Criteria: In order to be eligible for program consideration, the juveniles must meet the criteria of the following target population. The juvenile must be found to:

  1. Post adjudicated youth
  2. Have a DSM-V diagnosis other than or in addition to substance abuse, ADHD, mental retardation, autism, or pervasive developmental disorder.
  3. IQ of 70 or greater.

Reasons for Exclusion: Primary diagnosis of ODD, Conduct Disorder, or ADHD. Juveniles charged with a "sex offense."

Therapeutic Provider: Denton County Juvenile Contract Providers

Psychiatric Service Provider: Denton County MHMR or Participant's Private Psychiatrist

Essential Program Characteristics:

  1. The program will have an integrated treatment and service approach in processing cases by utilizing a psychiatric evaluation, a psychological or behavioral health assessment, and a substance abuse screening.
  2. The program will use a non-adversarial approach with participants by including prosecutors and defense attorneys, which will ensure due process rights and protection for the public.
  3. Program staff will strive for early identification of program participants who are eligible.
  4. Within 48 hours after placement in the program, participants will have a developed treatment plan for appropriate mental health treatment, with services beginning the same week of acceptance.
  5. Participants will attend Juvenile Mental Health Court bi-weekly or monthly depending upon the phase in the program.
  6. The program, through intensive mental health treatment and services will provide opportunities for participants who are at risk for out of home placements to remain in the community and avoid further re-offending and avoid further court sanctions.
  7. Output measures and monitoring will be done for each phase of the program to ensure program effectiveness. Recidivism rates will be measured for one, two, and three years after the program. 
  8. Program staff will continue to participate in interdisciplinary training and continuing education to promote effective program planning and services.
  9. The Program staff will work closely with MHMR, Denton County Independent School Districts, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and other community programs to provide appropriate services and referrals to participants and their families.

Denton County Juvenile Mental Health Court

Summary of Program Phases

   Phase One - 30 days Orientation Phase Two - months 2-4 Stabilization Phase Three - months 5-6 Transition Aftercare - 90 days
Court Review Hearing Frequency  Bi-Weekly Bi-Weekly Monthly N/A
Frequency of Therapeutic Services  1 hour per week minimum 1 hour per week minimum 1 hour per week minimum 1 hour per month or as needed
Frequency of Case Management Services 1 hour per week minimum 1 hour per week minimum 1 hour per week minimum 1 hour per month or as needed
Frequency of Probation Contacts 2 contacts per week 2 contacts per week 2 contacts per week 1 contact per week minimum
Frequency of Cognitive Behavioral Group Interventions 1 hour per week 1 hour per week 1 hour per week N/A
Mandatory Meetings Family Suitability Interview
Weekly case staffings
Treatment Plan Development
Monthly review
Treatment Plan Updates
Weekly case staffings
Transition Planning
Monthly reviews
Treatment Plan Updates
Weekly case staffings
Transition Planning
Discharge Planning
Monthly reviews
Monthly reviews
Case Plan