Working to transform the child welfare system.


HB 1524: Relating to juvenile mental health diversion and disposition strategies

Sponsored by Representative Roberts, HB 1524 states that if an officer arresting a juvenile for a non-felony crime believes that the juvenile suffers from a mental disorder, the officer may take him or her to a diversion point designated as such by the prosecutor, law enforcement, and mental health provider. These designated diversion points may include triage facilities, evaluation and treatment facilities, or other assigned locations. If the alleged offender has three or more diversion agreements on his or her criminal history, the prosecutor will file information with juvenile court, rather than diverting the case. The court may require the juvenile to undergo a mental health or substance abuse assessment. If the assessment identifies a need for treatment, conditions of supervision must include treatment for the assessed need. If mental health needs are identified, any required educational or informational sessions involved in a diversion agreement may include services demonstrated to improve behavioral health and reduce recidivism.

Substitute bill:  The substitute bill adds a new section to the juvenile justice code that provides for alternatives to detention for a juvenile who has committed a nonfelony, nonserious offense where a law enforcement officer believes that the juvenile suffers from a mental health disorder and there is an agreement in place between law enforcement, the local prosecutor, and the mental health provider.  The option to take a juvenile nonserious offender to a triage facility has been removed.  Law enforcement may continue to take juveniles to mental health diversion locations already in use.  In this case, an agreement with local prosecutors is not required. The term “diversion point” is replaced with “alternative location.”  A juvenile may be held at an alternative location for up to 12 hours, and he or she must be examined by a mental health professional within three hours of arrival.