Background: Youth in the justice system (YJS) are more likely than youth who have never been arrested to have mental health and substance use problems. However, a low percentage of YJS receive SUD services during their justice system involvement. The SUD care cascade can identify potential missed opportunities for treatment for YJS. Steps along the continuum of the cascade include identification of treatment need, referral to services, and treatment engagement. To address gaps in care for YJS, we will (1) implement a learning health system (LHS) to develop, or improve upon, alliances between juvenile justice (JJ) agencies and community mental health centers (CMHC) and (2) present local cascade data during continuous quality improvement cycles within the LHS alliances.
Methods/design: ADAPT is a hybrid Type II effectiveness implementation trial. We will collaborate with JJ and CMHCs in eight Indiana counties. Application of the EPIS (exploration, preparation, implementation, and sustainment) framework will guide the implementation of the LHS alliances. The study team will review local cascade data quarterly with the alliances to identify gaps along the continuum. The study will collect self-report survey measures longitudinally at each site regarding readiness for change, implementation climate, organizational leadership, and program sustainability. The study will use the Stages of Implementation Completion (SIC) tool to assess the process of implementation across interventions. Additionally, the study team will conduct focus groups and qualitative interviews with JJ and CMHC personnel across the intervention period to assess for impact.
Discussion: Findings have the potential to increase SUD need identification, referral to services, and treatment for YJS.
Keywords: Juvenile justice; Learning health system; Substance use disorders.
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