State Rep. Jason Wentworth today voted to support an innovative plan to create specialized juvenile mental health courts in Michigan.
Wentworth, a member of the House CARES mental health task force, said mental health courts successfully help struggling people address their problems through court-based treatment programs, reducing recidivism in Michigan.
“Unfortunately, mental health programs for youth are underutilized in Michigan,” Wentworth said. “By establishing a system tailored to juveniles, we can help troubled young people address their problems and lead healthy and productive lives.”
Wentworth said Michigan’s current procedures for mental health courts were established with the adult court system in mind. The juvenile system uses different terms and expects different results than the adult system.
The plan laid out in House Bills 5806-08 uses the well-established adult mental health court system as a framework, with modifications to address the needs of juveniles in Michigan.
“By helping and guiding troubled kids instead of sentencing them to juvenile detention centers, we seize the opportunity to turn their lives around and reduce the chance they will reoffend in the future,” Wentworth said.
The plan now moves to the Senate for consideration.