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The Delaware Supreme Court Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Health

Family Court Mental Health Diversion CourtFamily Court seal

     In 2006, the Family Court, in collaboration with the Office of the Public Defender and the Division of Child Mental Health received federal grant money through the Criminal Justice Council to pilot a Mental Health Diversion Court for juveniles with delinquency charges pending against them in the New Castle County Family Court. The program offers a treatment-based resolution of the delinquency charges of juvenile offenders with mental health disorders. The program began in January of 2007 and quickly acquired a full caseload. During the first year of the program, 85 juveniles were referred to the program. Of those, 52 were entered into the program and 16 have graduated.
     In conjunction with the Mental Health Court program, the Family Court in New Castle County has created a dedicated juvenile competency calendar for conducting competency hearings and monitoring compliance with treatment recommendations for non-competent juveniles still facing open charges. One dedicated judge is assigned to hear and track all the competency hearings.