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Evaluating a Mental Health Screening Process in a Youth Criminal Court

Researchers discuss preliminary results of evaluations of two court programs for youth with mental health needs: a systematic mental health screening program and a youth mental health court. They identify program strengths and recommend practices that support youths’ access to services to address their needs. 

Speaker Bios

 Dr. Michele Peterson-Badali

Michele Peterson-Badali is a professor in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. She has taught in the areas of professional psychology ethics, child psychological assessment, and children, psychology and the law. Her research examines issues in youth criminal justice psychology. Current projects focus on effective assessment and intervention for justice system-involved youth mental health. In addition to scholarly dissemination of her work, Dr. Peterson-Badali is actively engaged in bringing her research findings into the spheres of public policy and practice; she has conducted research and provided policy consultation for Canada's Department of Justice, provided consultation and training to various youth courts and probation offices, and served as an expert witness for the Ontario Advocate for Children and Youth. (131 words)

Aminah Chambers

Aminah Chambers is a PhD candidate in the Youth Justice Lab under the supervision of Dr. Michele Peterson-Badali at the University of Toronto/OISE. Her research interests are in the area of adolescent mental health and improving outcomes for justice-involved youth. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, her research focuses on examining court processes for youth and their families who encounter the justice system, and ways that courts can identify and address the complex needs of youth with mental health issues. She is also interested in identifying factors that contribute to justice system outcome disparities for marginalized youth, and identifying risk and strength factors for criminal offending in justice-involved girls and women.

Trauma-Informed Processes

10:10 AM - 10:50 AM

This presentation focuses on what trauma is, how it affects us, why we should consider it in the courtroom, and what courtroom practices we can implement to help alleviate the ongoing effects of trauma. The prevalence of serious traumatic experiences among our neighbours and fellow community members is alarming, and its consequences can be severe, manifesting in stressful environments like courtrooms. Presenters in this section will walk through direct clinical experiences, personal experiences, and a case study to help illustrate the many sides of trauma. This presentation will conclude with suggestions on how court practitioners can better help case participants cope with trauma and on how to incorporate trauma-informed practices into the courtroom.


Lindsey Price Jackson, Senior Program Manager of Community Justice Initiatives, Centre for Justice Innovation, New York

Kathryn Ford

Director of Clinical Supervision and Child Witness Initiatives

Centre for Justice Innovation, New York


Youth Therapeutic Court Programs

The general principles guiding the structure and implementation of some youth programs are discussed by an experienced legal practitioner.


Miriam Henry

Crown Counsel

Crown Law Office

Ministry of Attorney General Ontario

Mike Brooks

Senior Policy and Program Coordinator


Justice Centres

Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario