Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Rajean Moone


Master of Social Work


An alarming amount of youth in the United States juvenile justice system have at least one diagnosable mental health issue. Approximately half of these youth will likely recidivate following their first involvement with the juvenile justice system (Heretick &Russell, 2013). The following study identified gaps in mental health services offered to youth in the juvenile justice. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with mental health professionals from the Twin Cities metropolitan area in order to answer the research question: What gaps do clinical social workers identify in mental health services offered to youth in the juvenile justice system? The data collected were analyzed using the grounded theory model in order to recognize major reoccurring themes within the data. Research discovered that family involvement was a major issue in the youths’ utilization and follow through of mental health service referrals from the juvenile justice system of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Furthermore, race, culture, and gender play an important part in the understanding, utilization, and availability of mental health services in the juvenile justice system. Implications of the following research in relation to the betterment of the mental health services of the Twin Cities metropolitan area and the role of social workers in the advocacy and creation of such services are explored.

Included in

Social Work Commons