Event date: 8/24/2021 Export event
Mark Wills
/ Categories: Uncategorized

Investing in Youth, Not Incarceration: A Community-Led Approach to Youth Mental Health

NASW New Jersey

Noon-1 p.m. ET

This Community Conversation is being presented free for social workers, their clients, and the general public. It is not CEU eligible.

New Jersey maintains a broken and inhumane youth justice system that locks up Black kids at almost 18 times the rate as white kids, even though they commit most offenses at similar rates – the highest racial disparity in the nation. Despite the fact that youth prisons are increasingly less populated, the state spends a startling $445,504 per youth each year to prop up an antiquated and harmful system.

Many of the young people caught up in the system suffer from mental health challenges, and incarceration only aggravates these issues. Incarcerated youth with mental health challenges are more likely to attempt suicide, recidivate and develop substance abuse problems than their peers.

NASW-NJ is joined by Ashanti Jones, MSW, Manager of Community Engagement at the NJ Institute for Social Justice for this Community Conversation discussing the recently released NJISJ toolkit, "Investing in Youth, Not Incarceration: A Toolkit for Creating a Community-Led Approach to Youth Mental Health."

The toolkit, released by NJISJ in partnership with Salvation and Social Justice, provides advocates around the state with a blueprint for providing New Jersey’s kids with the mental health support they need in their communities to keep them out of youth prisons and help them thrive.

Based on conversations with over 115 community members about the needs of our youth, "Investing in Youth, Not Incarceration" provides practical and effective tools for adding mental health care to a community-based system of care, including community cafés, community accountability councils and mental telehealth lines.

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