Montgomery Co. Juvenile Mental Health Court gets grant

MONTGOMERY, AL – The Montgomery County Juvenile Mental Health Court has received a $237,000 grant from the Department of Justice. The Treatment, Rehabilitation and Individual Needs (TRAIN) program that has been implemented by the court is designed to enhance public safety and to provide the necessary and appropriate treatment for youth between the ages of 9 and 17 who are in need of mental health services within the juvenile court system.

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb said that she is "elated that the United States Department of Justice selected the Montgomery County Juvenile Mental Health Court for this grant.  National studies show that sixty-five percent of boys and seventy-five percent of girls in our juvenile court system suffer from diagnosable mental illnesses.  This grant will allow the Juvenile Mental Health Court to ensure that the public is safer by addressing the underlying issues causing children to violate the law."

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Will O'Rear, who presides over the Juvenile Mental Health Court, added that the grant will help to provide in-home family therapy for the juvenile participants, as well as to continue to provide the psychologist and counselor that work with the program.

Candidates for admission into the TRAIN program are usually referred by the child's Probation Officer.  Acceptance into the program is restricted to juvenile offenders who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, ADHD, and severe anxiety disorders, as well as those who have suffered a severe head injury or have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness or personality disorder.

The Juvenile Mental Health Court was started in Montgomery County in January of 2009 by Judge O'Rear. According to him, the grant is important because "it is going to help children and families struggling with mental illness by giving them more options.  We will be able to provide intensive family counseling in the home, in addition to expanding our services."

INFORMATION SOURCE: Montgomery Juvenile Mental Health Court