Year of Publication



Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Christina Studts, PhD

Committee Member

Robin Vanderpool, DrPH, CHES

Committee Member

Katherine Eddens, PhD


In this application for funding, DC YouthLink, a non-profit organization that connects adolescents in the juvenile justice system to community resources, proposes to implement an evidence-based mental health intervention into the juvenile justice system in Washington D.C. The Director of DC YouthLink will serve as the Principal Investigator for this pilot program; she, along with five trained staff members, will be responsible for implementing multisystemic therapy (MST), an intensive form of therapy designed specifically for at-risk youth and their families. We propose to intervene at three main stages of the juvenile justice system— intake, correctional placement/probation supervision, and reentry. The short-term goals of this program will be to increase screening rates for mental illness, access to an evidence-based intervention, and levels of family functioning. Previous studies suggest that the MST program’s combination of therapy, a supportive social network, and behavioral parent training leads to a long-term decrease in recidivism rates compared to the standard of care in the juvenile justice system. All project activities include an extensive plan for evaluation and dissemination. In conclusion, we believe that this program has the potential to provide much-needed mental health services to a particularly vulnerable population, which will benefit the youth and their families, as well as the Washington D.C. community as a whole.

Included in

Public Health Commons