Health Services

The Health Services division of Harris County Juvenile Probation Department is responsible for the medical, psychological, and treatment programs within the agency. The services operated within this division include the medical staff who assess and treat young people in the detention center and the two residential treatment facilities. Additionally, the division has mental health therapists who provide crisis counseling, and individual, group, and family therapy to young people both in the facilities and under community supervision. Lastly, the Health Services division oversees the four specialty courts that operate within the agency to help address some of the underlying factors that may be impacting a young persons' functioning.


Sobriety Over Addiction & Relapse (SOAR) Drug Court Program

Sobriety Over Addiction & Relapse (SOAR)

The Harris County SOAR Drug Court is an innovative effort to apply the problem-solving court model to a complex social issue. It is presided over by Judge Michelle Moore and Associate Judge Eric Andell of the 314th District Court. 

The SOAR Court program was created in July 2010 and moves beyond traditional roles utilizing a collaborative, multidisciplinary team modeled after the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Juvenile Drug Treatment Court (JDTC) Guidelines, to disrupt the patterns of drug use and abuse, which often result in continued involvement in the juvenile justice system. 

SOAR Court participants are closely monitored and receive a highly individualized treatment plan. Participants and their families are encouraged to work together to make better choices, improve communication, and strengthen the family unit. 

The SOAR Court Program is committed to ensuring community resources are available to meet the needs of the young person and family members who are faced with the challenge of substance use. 

Research reflects that incentives are vital to the JDTC model and are woven throughout the entire program.

Gang Recidivism Intervention Program (GRIP) Specialty Court

Gang Recidivism Intervention Program (GRIP)

The Harris County GRIP Court is an innovative effort to apply the problem-solving court model to a complex social issue, presided over by Judge Natalia Oakes and Associate Judge William Thursland of the 313th District Court. 

The GRIP Court was established in October 2011 and focuses on eliminating delinquent conduct by reducing gang association through increasing pro-social factors, redirecting youth to healthier alternatives, and improving relationships within the family. 

GRIP Court participants are closely monitored and receive individualized treatment plans. Mentoring programs, educational assistance, tattoo removal, relocation assistance, substance abuse, mental health treatment, and other community-based resources are utilized to overcome the challenges of eliminating gang behavior.

Creating Advocacy Recovery & Empowerment (CARE) Court

Creating Advocacy Recovery & Empowerment (CARE)

CARE Court addresses the unique needs of young people who have been involved in or who are at significant risk for involvement in sex trafficking/commercial sexual exploitation. 

These young people often have significant trauma histories subsequent to their involvement in the juvenile justice system. By utilizing a comprehensive, strength-based approach, the program addresses the underlying trauma associated with each young persons' at-risk behaviors and related delinquent conduct. 

CARE Court participants are female, male, transgender, and non-binary youth who want to limit further exposure to/involvement in sex trafficking. The multidisciplinary team generates an individualized treatment plan for each participant. 

By offering intensive supervision, support, mentorship and advocacy, and access to therapeutic and other needed services, the program provides an opportunity for each participant to develop the skills necessary to change the trajectory of their lives. 

CARE Court provides successful graduates the opportunity to have their case terminated early and their juvenile records sealed.

Court 360° (Mental Health Specialty Court)

Court 360° (Mental Health Specialty Court)

Court 360° (also known as Mental Health Court) serves the needs of justice-involved young people at risk for further involvement in the system due to underlying mental health issues. 

By utilizing a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and strength-based approach, Court 360° effectively addresses the underlying mental health concerns associated with at-risk behaviors and related delinquent conduct. 

Court 360° offers access to specialized services and community resources to young people and their families. Each young person receives a treatment plan focused on individualized needs. Wrap-around services may include psychiatric treatment, individual and family therapy, educational assistance, mentorship and advocacy, and involvement in pro-social and extracurricular activities. 

Upon successful completion of the Court 360° program, young people may have the opportunity to have their case terminated early and their juvenile records sealed.

Harris County Psychiatric Center (HCPC) Sub-Acute Unit

Harris County Psychiatric Center (HCPC)

The Harris County Psychiatric Center (HCPC) Sub-Acute Unit serves as a therapeutic alternative to detention. 

Young people who show signs of severe and persistent psychiatric symptoms are admitted to a sub-acute hospitalization program at the Harris County Psychiatric Hospital. This program is based on a behavioral management system. There is no set length of stay.

Program Overview 

Harris County Psychiatric Center (HCPC) Sub-Acute Program consists of a structured day involving school work, group therapy, recreation therapy, outdoor activities, weekly individual therapy, and medication management. Some young people also receive family therapy or Home and Family Safety Planning, depending on their court recommendations.

Group topics include: Interpersonal Relationships, Mood/Emotional Regulation, Behavioral Regulation, Anger Management, Depression, Anxiety, Court Education, Psychosis, Trauma, Problem-Solving, Substance Use, Suicidal Thoughts/Behaviors, Self-Injurious Thoughts/Behaviors, Suicide Safety Planning, Homicide Safety Planning, Process Group, Nursing Group.

Acute vs Sub-Acute

Sub-acute is considered to be a "step down" from acute hospitalization. These are young people that are relatively psychiatrically stable, although they may require clarification of diagnosis or adjustment of medication. They should be willing and able to participate in the treatment program and be in a position to gain some benefit from it. These services should help prepare the young person to then move to a less psychiatrically restrictive setting, be that home, placement, or the JJC.

An acute hospitalization would be a child that is in active crisis, such as a young person that is experiencing active psychosis. In this stage of crisis, a young person is not able to participate in a sub-acute treatment program. They must be stabilized first and can then be considered for transfer to the sub-acute program.

Admission Guidelines:

1. Ages 13-17

2. Detained

3. Primary pschiatric diagnosis

4. Willingness to participate in the treatment program

Juvenile Detention Mental Health Services Unit

Juvenile Detention Mental Health Services Unit

The Juvenile Detention Mental Health Services Unity provides mental health and psychiatric services to residents of the Harris County Juvenile Justice Center. 

The Psychological and Social Services (PSS) unit provides counseling and crisis intervention services for young people residing in the Juvenile Justice Center. Additionally, a full time psychiatrist, in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine, provides evaluations and medication management for any young person in need of this treatment while remaining in facility.

Functional Family Therapy (FFT)

Functional Family Therapy (FFT)

Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is an evidence based therapy program delivered by a team of specially trained clinicians who work intensively with the entire family at every session. 

Families typically receive 12-15 weekly sessions in their home, in the community, or via virtual means. 

FFT clinicians use a research based multi-phase intervention process to address behavioral concerns, family conflict, substance use, conduct disorder, anxiety/depression with behavioral disorder symptoms expression, peer group influences and other commonly seen delinquent behaviors. 

FFT is built on a foundation of respect for families, individuals and cultures, and includes relational dynamic strategies that reduce crime and victimization while paving the way for families to become more autonomous, adaptive, and successful in their community.

Facility Mental Health Services

Facility Mental Health Services

Facility Mental Health Services provides mental health services including individual, group, and family counseling, crisis intervention, specialized programming, and medication management to young people in post-adjudicated facilities.

The Facility Mental Health Services team consists of licensed, master-level clinicians who provide counseling and crisis intervention for young people while placed in HCJPD post-adjudicated facilities.

Psychiatric needs are addressed and monitored with appropriate referrals made for medication management to contracted providers. 

The team provides services throughout the Behavioral Enrichment Treatment and Accountability (BETA) program. This program is for young people aged 10 to 14 years old. Two therapists are specifically dedicated to this unit. The BETA program also has a field team consisting of two probation officers and two therapists who help the young person transition back to their community. 

This teamwork approach provides consistency for the young person and their family. Young people in this program receive individual, family, and group counseling. Residents participate and live in a therapeutic community. This program accepts regionalized youth after successful completion of a screening process for the program.

Mental Health Initiatives Unit

Mental Health Initiatives Unit

The Mental Health Initiatives Unit is a partnership between the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD and Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD.)

The unit strives to link young people and families to services and resources to aid in their success while on probation. Services and resources include psychiatric services, counseling, advocacy, transition planning, and follow up in the community. 

The Mental Health Initiatives Unit partners with other community agencies to ensure ease of services and transition to the community.

Multisystemic Therapy (MST)

Multisystemic Therapy (MST)

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is a unique, goal-oriented, comprehensive treatment program designed to serve multi-problem young people in their community. 

MST is effective in helping young people with chronic, violent delinquent behavior and/or serious emotional problems. 

All interventions are designed in full collaboration with family members and key figures in young persons' life: parents or legal guardians, school teachers, and principals. 

MST therapists travel throughout the county providing services in the family home, and therapists are on call 24 hours a day to assist with crisis intervention.

Sex Offender Treatment Program

Sex Offender Program

The Sex Offender Treatment Program provides evidence-based sex offender treatment to young people adjudicated for sexual offenses who remain in the community. 

The sex offender community providers are in-house Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Providers (LSOTP) who provide individual, family, and group counseling to young people and their families. 

Sex Offender Risk Assessments are completed by the therapists as ordered by the courts. LSOTPs work closely with juvenile probation officers in the community to help meet the treatment needs of young people and their families. This type of treatment team approach helps the families feel supported and connected to the services received.

Dual Status Initiative

Dual Status Initiative

Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, (HCJPD) the Department of Family and Protective Services, (DFPS) and the Harris County Youth Collective (HCYC) work together to improve the services and outcomes for young people dually involved with HCJPD and DFPS.

Dual status young people are those involved in the Juvenile Justice System and in the custody of child welfare. The initiative aims to provide early identification, joint case planning, and effective monitoring of such cases. 

Additionally, HCJPD and DFPS meet monthly to collaborate on difficult cases. HCJPD and DFPS each have a designated liason withing their respective agency. 

HCJPD is forming a unit that will work these cases from conception to close. DFPS is also working to designate caseworkers to assist with this special population. 

Medical Services

Medical Services

The Medical Department provides high quality, comprehensive, evidence based care for all young people placed in HCJPD custody.

A number of medical services are provided directly and through contractual relationships with medical personnel and facilities.

Services include, but are not limited to, health screenings, physical examinations, dental and vision services, immunizations, developmental assessments, administration of medication, and laboratory and diagnostic testing. Additionally, treatment is provided for any identified medical issue. 

Nursing services are also provided on an as needed basis at the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP.)

Parent Partners

Parent Partners

Parent Partners assist and support the parents and guardians of young people involved in the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department’s specialty courts. Parent Partners work in conjunction with the specialty courts to provide emotional support to parents and guardians who have young people who are exhibiting significant clinical or behavioral symptoms. 

In addition, Parent Partners assist the family in finding community resources to meet their family needs, including mental health services, housing relocation, food, obtaining medical insurance, and pro-social activities for their children.

Forensic Unit

Forensic Unit

Psychological and psychiatric evaluations of young people are conducted either pre-adjudication or post-adjudication. The evaluations are used to understand the mental health needs of the young person and to help determine placement and treatment needs.

Additionally, clinicians also conduct evaluations specifically aimed at answering forensic questions related to the court process. This includes evaluations regarding competency to stand trial, lack of responsibility, and waiver of juvenile jurisdiction (when the court is considering transferring the case to adult court.)

All of the evaluations conducted by the Forensic Unit result in a formal, written report available to the court and the juvenile probation officers.

Legal Educational Attainment Program

Legal Educational Attainment Program

The Legal Educational Attainment Program (LEAP) was created to provide restoration and attainment services for young people involved with Harris County Juvenile Probation Department who have been found unfit to proceed. This includes young people with both an intellectual disability and/or mental illness diagnoses.