Children’s Mental Health And The Juvenile Justice System

Perhaps one of a parent’s greatest fears is having a child get in trouble with the law. That fear is amplified for parents who have a child diagnosed with a mental illness.

In an informational video titled, “Working with the Juvenile Justice System”, presented by One in Five Minds, Jeannie Von Stultz, PhD, Deputy Chief for Mental Health Services with the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Office, shares her insights and lessons learned from more than 20 years of experience working with children and teens with mental health diagnoses.

Dr. Von Stultz makes several critical, key points and observations that all parents of a mentally ill child should note:

  • Between 30% and 50% of children in the juvenile justice system experience mental illness.
  • Mentally ill children in and out of the juvenile system need a strong support network and regular care and treatment in order to be successful in life.
  • Family involvement is the single best asset a mentally ill child can have, especially if the child gets in trouble with the law.

Dr.Von Stultz touches on the common emotions most family share when their children are in the juvenile system including fear, anger and even relief. She also shares important information on how parents can best navigate the complexity of the system.

The Bexar County Juvenile System is very aware of the issue of mental illness and is geared to support children with such needs. Dr. Von Stultz emphasizes the importance of communication among all parties involved in the process, including the police, the court and detention facility staff. She further notes that in specialty court environments, the judge is considered a part of the child’s care team and is involved with his or her treatment plan.


In case of a medical emergency, please call 911. For a child’s mental health emergency (ages 3 to 17), call Clarity Child Guidance Center at 210-582-6412. Our crisis service department accepts walk-ins 24/7. You can find directions to our campus here. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us.  We are here to help!

  • Clarity Child Guidance Center is the only nonprofit mental health treatment center for kids ages 3 to 17 in South Texas. Our staff of children’s mental health professionals is the largest in the region. When a child is in crisis, we work with families to get much needed treatment regardless of their ability to pay.

The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of One in Five Minds or Clarity Child Guidance Center. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. One in Five Minds and Clarity Child Guidance Center accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

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