Our Work

SBDI (The Connecticut School-Based Diversion Initiative)

DIVERTING YOUTH FROM ARREST

The Connecticut School-Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI) works to reduce juvenile justice involvement among youth with mental health needs.

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Research shows that youth with mental health needs are more likely to come into contact with the juvenile justice system.

  • Schools are one of the primary referral sources to the mental health and juvenile justice systems. 
  • Many children who are arrested in schools have unmet behavioral health needs.
  • Approximately 65% to 70% of youth in juvenile detention have a diagnosable behavioral health condition.

SBDI works with local middle and high schools to:

  • Provide training to help school personnel identify children with behavioral health needs
  • Build connections between schools and effective community-based mental health services, as an alternative to arrest, suspension and/or expulsion
  • Revise schools’ policies and practices to increase capacity for responding to themental health needs of all students

SBDI has served 37 schools across 13 school districts and continues to expand to additional schools each year.  Among the first cohort of 18 schools completing SBDI (2010-2015), court referrals decreased by 45% and EMPS (Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services) referrals increased by 94% in their first year of participation.

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SBDI was initially developed with grant funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network. SBDI implementation is jointly funded and overseen by the Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division (CSSD), the State Department of Education (SDE), the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). CHDI is the coordinating center for SBDI.

For more information about SBDI, visit www.ctsbdi.org, read our IMPACT report, download our SBDI Toolkit, or contact Jeana Bracey.


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Jeana Bracey - Director of School and Community Initiatives
bracey@uchc.edu
860-679-1524
Yecenia Casiano - Project Coordinator
casiano@uchc.edu
860-679-2336
Tianna Hill - Project Coordinator
thill@uchc.edu
860-679-6293