A man in handcuffs

Adolescents are in the midst of tremendous brain growth. Many adolescents who come in contact with the juvenile justice system often have undiagnosed mental health problems. Psychological evaluations of juveniles are an essential part of the juvenile delinquency system as they assist with treatment recommendations and assist with rehabilitation. In addition, justice-involved juveniles may have problems with functioning at a level similar to peers their age. Therefore, their actions and behaviors are reflective of their level of impairment, maturity, or both.

Some Impairments may include:

  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Passive mentation
  • Being more of a follower and leader
  • Have difficulty with problem-solving
  • Struggle to control impulses
  • Have a pre-existing brain disorder
  • Have an undiagnosed or untreated mental disorder
  • Struggle to communicate

Types of Juvenile Delinquency Evaluations our practice can assist with include:

  • Diagnostic and Treatment Recommendations
  • Disposition/Sentence Mitigation
  • Competence to Stand Trial
  • Transfer/Waiver to Adult Court
  • Miranda Waiver Capacity

A juvenile forensic evaluation can help by assisting the trier of fact or you, the attorney, to understand your client better. An evaluation can also provide diagnostic clarity, treatment recommendations, a review of mitigating factors, and assist with case analysis. We are also available to review other expert reports and help formulate questions for cross-examination.

Our Approach

Our juvenile forensic evaluations will assess for psychological or neuropsychological factors that can impact the behavior motivating the misconduct. It typically involves:

  • Consultation with the defendant’s attorney to determine the psycho-legal or other referral questions that need to be answered.
  • A clinical interview with the defendant.
  • A collateral interview with a family member, treatment provider, or other support system member. The interview will help us gather additional information about the minor’s general background, psychological or neuropsychological functioning, and behavior prior to the alleged offense.
  • A review of medical and mental health treatment records, as well as legal documents such as discovery, helps us have a better understanding of the minor’s behavior and overall psychological functioning.
  • We will administer psychological or neuropsychological tests to objectively assess for mental health symptoms and disorders.
  • If needed, we will utilize risk assessment tools to assist with our structured decisions and opinions about future violence risk.

Last, we will write an articulate, objective, and relevancy-based report in simple language that integrates our findings based on data, including answering the criterions of the psycho-legal or referral question. Like all of our forensic reports, the report will incorporate the relevant legal statutes and case law. Furthermore, our reports discuss and analyze information that may be contradictory to the forensic opinion.

To learn more about our approach to these evaluations, contact our office at (626) 709-3494 or support@vpg-corp.com.