TJJD works with children and youth who are between the ages of 10 and 17 and have broken the law. TJJD provides prevention, probation, and rehabilitation services available for certain youth and families.
There are 2 components to TJJD. First, TJJD manages state-operated secure facilities and halfway houses to provide treatment services to those youth who have chronic delinquency problems or who have committed serious offenses and have exhausted their options in the county. Second, TJJD provides funds, training, technical assistance, and administrative oversight to local juvenile probation departments as they provide probation and related services to youth between the ages of 10 and 17 who have broken the law.
TJJD provides prevention, probation, and rehabilitation services available for certain youth and families. For each child in their programs, TJJD has two concerns to balance:
Although TJJD doesn’t specifically focus on children with disabilities or special health-care needs, they do have programs that can help if your child is arrested or convicted of a crime.
Many of the children who are arrested in the state of Texas have mental health needs at the time of their arrest. A 2011 study of children who were either at a TJJD facility or in a juvenile probation program found that 38% of these children had some kind of mental health condition or emotional disturbance.
The juvenile justice system, which includes both TJJD and the court system, has recognized that treating mental health conditions is critical to helping a child live, play, and be educated in the community safely. So, if your child does get arrested, it is very important to make sure that everyone involved in your child’s case – the probation officer, your child’s attorney, a mental health professional, and the judge – are aware of any disability, special health-care needs, or mental health condition that your child has (or might have).
The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) believes we can increase the likelihood of success for youth when families are involved in their rehabilitation plan. Each of the TJJD facilities has unique strategies and events for encouraging family involvement. These events include:
Each high restriction facility has a Family Liaison to assist families in staying involved in their child’s treatment, and making informed choices regarding their child’s Individual Case Plan (ICP).
Learn more about services provided through TJJD state-operated programs at TJJD’s Family Support Services web page.
TJJD runs the Special Needs Diversionary Program (SNDP) to help families who have children with mental health needs who have committed crimes. This program is available in 28 counties. Children who are referred to this program and their caregiver receive mental health support, while the youth continues living at home rather than at a TJJD facility.
A sitting judge could send a child to SNDP in one of 3 ways:
In all of these cases, the goal is to help the child and parent receive the mental health support they need to live and do well in society.
SNDP services include anger management therapy, life skills training, family and individual counseling, medication management, psychological counseling, drug or alcohol abuse intervention and treatment, group therapy, and other mental health services.
TJJD also funds prevention programs through 21 juvenile probation departments. If your son or daughter needs help and you don’t know where to turn, check out TJJD’s Resources for Families page for helpful information.