The following report contains findings from an evaluation of Connecticut’s School Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI) pilot project. The Connecticut School-Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI) is a component of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Models for Change Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network. This initiative began in January of 2009 as a collaborative effort of the Judicial Branch’s Court Support Services Division (CSSD) and the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF). The Connecticut Center for Effective Practice (CCEP) coordinated the SBDI initiative which involved education and training of school personnel on recognizing mental health symptoms, accessing available community supports, cultural competency, and managing crises in the school environment; relationship building between schools and existing mental health infrastructure in the communities (in particular, the Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services providers); and linking to local Community Collaboratives which oversee implementation of the System of Care model in Connecticut. Beginning in September 2009, the SBDI initiative was implemented in two schools/districts: 1) Luis Munoz Marin School, a Kindergarten through 8th Grade school in Bridgeport, Connecticut (urban SBDI); and 2) Joseph A. DePaolo and John F. Kennedy Middle Schools in Southington, Connecticut (suburban SBDI). Two Connecticut communities were selected as comparison sites due to comparable sociodemographic characteristics as the SBDI communities, but schools in these communities did not participate in the SBDI intervention. The comparison communities are New Haven (urban non-SBDI) and Middletown (suburban non-SBDI).
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