Criminal charges have the potential to bring severe consequences no matter the age of the individual facing the allegations. When minors are facing criminal allegations, the rest of their childhood could be at stake, as well as their future interests as adults. Juvenile offenders often offend because of certain factors beyond their control, including mental health issues and more. These children need support and care, regardless of the outcome of their case.
Children act in certain ways when they experience effects brought about by external factors. In many cases, Washington juvenile offenders are also struggling with mental health issues, and this may play a large role in why they commit crimes or behave in specific ways after they are in custody. Understanding their mental health concerns can play a significant role in their rehabilitation and reduce the chance of reoffending.
Common mental health disorders
While every juvenile offender is unique, there are certain common mental health disorders that often seen in cases involving young offenders. By understanding their needs and specific concerns, it may be possible to better support these young men and women. A careful assessment of the individual defendant may provide insight into the type of care he or she needs. Some treatment options and practical ways to provide mental health support to juvenile offenders include the following:
- Identify the minor’s specific career or occupational goals, and help him or her prepare to pursue them.
- Assess the individual’s mental health needs, including past trauma that the juvenile offender may have experienced.
- Provide an assessment of possible substance abuse problems, and offer treatment options.
- Involve family members in the treatment plan for the individual, building a support system that will help the defendant for years to come.
- Help the defendant identify his or her strengths and weaknesses, providing insight into how to meet goals and move forward after a juvenile criminal offense.
If your child is facing the possibility of criminal charges, you may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of him or her facing criminal charges as a juvenile. While you are concerned about his or her legal interests, it is also critical to provide the child with support for any ongoing mental health concerns as well. As a parent, you can advocate for your child, fighting to ensure that he or she has what is necessary to build a strong future after a juvenile offense.