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What functions does an intake screening serve?

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There are a number of aspects of intake screening in the juvenile system.  On the most basic level, the function of an intake screening is to determine whether a youth should actually be formally brought into the system with a petition charging him or her with an offense.  The purpose of this type of screening is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence of an offense and whether the offense is serious enough to warrant its moving forward.

A second aspect of intake screening is a mental health screening.  These are important because a large percentage of youths coming in contact with the juvenile justice system are found to have some form of mental health issue.  Youths who are found to have such issues may be diverted into treatment programs to get help with their problem.

These are the two most important types of intake screening.  They are meant to ensure that only youths whose actions are serious are getting formally taken in to the system and to ensure that youths with mental health problems get the care that can help them.

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