Assistant Professor-in-Residence
Department of Pediatrics

Title: Promoting Access to Behavioral Health Services for Youth Transitioning Home after Incarceration

Paul Chung, MD, MS - UCLA
Laura Abrams, PhD - UCLA
Bonnie Zima, MD, MPH

Multidisciplinary Expertise:
Juvenile Justice, General Pediatrics, Behavioral Health, Community-Partnered Research

Project Description:
This project explores youths’ access to community-based behavioral health services during reentry, the vulnerable period following a youth’s release from juvenile incarceration. Up to 70% of incarcerated youth have at least one behavioral health disorder. These disorders increase future incarceration risk, and incarceration and reentry likely have negative effects on behavioral health. Despite the existence of effective, evidence-based behavioral health programs tailored for these youth, reentry youth are at enormous risk for poor health, education, and employment outcomes, and typically experience poor access to community-based behavioral health services. During Phase I, we will use a mixed methods approach to describe youth and parent perspectives on reentry youths’ behavioral health needs and access to community-based behavioral services. During Phase II, we will engage community stakeholders to develop and pilot test a family-centered intervention, such as a transitions life coach intervention, to promote youths’ access to community-based behavioral health services during reentry.