Youth Mental Health Court Program
Our program supports youth aged 12-17 who are charged with a criminal offence under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and have a diagnosed or suspected mental health illness or developmental disability. At this time, this program is available for youth whose charges are being brought before the Owen Sound Court.
Who is eligible?
Referrals may come from the young person who has been charged, family members, care providers, community agencies, defense/duty counsel or the Crown Attorney.
Mental Health Diversion
Individuals living with a mental health illness or developmental disability may access alternatives to criminal prosecution. This process is known as mental health diversion. In those cases where diversion out of the formal justice system is appropriate and if the youth is agreeable, a formal request will be made to the Crown Attorney. If the Crown Attorney decides mental health diversion is appropriate, the Youth Court Worker will assist with the development of a treatment plan, facilitate linkages to community services and monitor the youth’s progress. For youth already linked to community services, the Youth Court Worker will develop connections so that treatment plans are collaborative. Upon successful completion of the mental health diversion plan, the charges could be withdrawn.
If the Crown Attorney decides that mental health diversion is not appropriate, the Youth Court Worker can still provide court support services as the young person navigates the criminal justice system. The Youth Court Worker can assist with support plans, consultation for the young person, support for family members, and linkages to community based health/social services.