Juvenile Justice

It has been estimated that nearly 70% of children currently involved in the Juvenile Justice System experience psychological issues or distress.  Research shows that youth who do not get those mental health needs addressed, will go on to recidivate and become more entrenched in the justice system, potentially leading to adult incarceration.  In order to minimize this evidence,  Applewood has partnered with the Juvenile Courts in both  Cuyahoga and Lorain County to offer mental health services to youth involved in the Justice System. 

At every level of the court process and placement, Applewood offers programming to assist youth and guardians in order to diminish court involvement as well as address the mental health needs that may have contributed to court charges in the first place.   Applewood has created a  Juvenile Justice Division of services that offers evidence-based treatment in a variety of settings to best meet the needs of the youth and the community.

Coordinated Approach to Low Risk Misdemeanors (CALM) Program

The Coordinated Approach to Low-risk Misdemeanors Project or CALM is a combined effort by Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court, Applewood Centers, and SAFY, funded by the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County to provide alternatives and true diversion from the juvenile justice system for youth being served in Cuyahoga County. Staff is available through an on call system 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

As the name implies, CALM seeks to intervene with youth who are engaged with law enforcement for low-risk domestic violence offences. Applewood Centers provides assessment, respite and coordinated linkage for children who are brought to the program by the police. Rather than have the child go through the intake process through the Detention Center and Courts for low level offenses, youth involved in the CALM Project will be assessed, have a safety plan completed, placed in respite for 3 days (kinship or SAFY Foster Home), and connected with ongoing services to provide youth/family support around the issues that lead to the police being called to the home.


The Lorain County Crossroads Program was created by the Lorain County Juvenile Court in order to address the complex needs of some of the youth that it serves.  In collaboration with Applewood Centers, Crossroads is a 16 week intensive therapeutic program that runs Monday-Friday 4pm-8pm.   The therapist screens, assesses, and provides treatment to adolescents who are referred to the Crossroads Program at the Lorain County Detention Center campus. The clinician provides therapy to the youth and their family; this may include groups with both the youth and their guardian. Services are provided at the center, in the home and in the community. After completion of the 16 week program, the therapist develops an after care plan which may include recommendations for continued services and/or treatment. Upon successful completion of the 16 week program and the after care plan, the youth is removed from probation and terminated from court involvement.

Assessment Center-Lorain

Applewood Centers in collaboration with the Lorain County Juvenile Court provides assessment services to youth who would traditionally be seen in court.  The program’s goal is to minimize and/or divert a youth from the court system. The youth come to the Center via police, guardian or school truancy officers.  The youth are assessed at the Center for safety concerns, behavioral health needs and family systems issues.  Following the assessment, the clinician will provide referral recommendations to appropriate community mental health centers/resources.  It is believed that with appropriate services the youth will minimize their behavioral health symptomology, in turn will reduce involvement with the court system.

Applewood clinician’s provide 14 and 30 day follow up calls to the youth and family to address any ongoing mental health concerns and to provide support with linkage to services.

Multisystemic Therapy® (MST)

Multisystemic Therapy is a unique goal-oriented, comprehensive treatment program designed to serve multi-problem youth. It is the only family-focused and community-based treatment program that has been the focus of several major research studies. This therapy approach has demonstrated significant clinical effectiveness for youth with complex emotional, social and academic needs. Multisystemic Therapy emphasizes long-term change that families can maintain following treatment.

Developed at the Medical University of South Carolina's Family Services Research Center, Multisystemic Therapy uses treatment strategies supported by research showing that youth who break the law repeatedly and/or abuse illegal substances have difficulties in family relations, school performance, peer relations, or neighborhood and community relations.

Multisystemic Therapy for Youth with Problem Sexual Behavior (MST-PSB) is a clinical adaption of MST that has been specifically designed and developed to treat youth and their families for problematic sexual behavior. Building on the research and dissemination foundation of standard MST, the MST-PSB model represents state-of-art, evidence-based practice uniquely developed to address multiple determinants underlying problematic juvenile sexual behavior.

How the Program Works

Applewood Centers therapists provide a complete functional assessment of the youth in the context of their family, school and community. The therapist seeks to understand the youth's problems and the factors that contribute to those problems. Treatment focuses on helping parents build supportive social networks and empowers parents to address the needs of their child more effectively. The program is most effective in helping youth with chronic, violent, delinquent behavior and those with serious emotional problems, including:

  • Truancy and academic problems
  • Serious disrespect and disobedience issues
  • Aggressive behavior such as fighting and property destruction
  • Criminal behavior
  • Drug and alcohol problems
  • Running away from home

The therapy's interventions are developed with full collaboration of family members and key figures in the youth's life and can include any combination of the following services:

  • Family therapy
  • Individual sessions with parents
  • Chemical dependency treatment
  • Evaluation of the youth's peer network and arranging alternative activities
  • Consultation with schools
  • Coordinating activities with school systems, court and other social service agencies
  • Arranging a psychiatric consultation

Therapy is provided in the home, as well as in neighborhood and community settings. Treatment can be intensive, often including multiple contacts with family and other participants every week. Therapists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How to Make a Referral

To make a referral or obtain additional information about how our services might be beneficial for a young child you know, please call us at the number below. Our professionals will talk with you confidentially about your concerns and determine if this program would be a good fit.