Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Social Work

Committee Chair

Huber, Ruth


Juvenile delinquents--Rehabilitation; Juvenile delinquents--Mental health services; Juvenile delinquents--Psychology; Juvenile delinquents--Substance use


Juvenile delinquency with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders has become an increasing problem within the United States. In part this can be attributed to the excessive number of delinquent youth entering the juvenile justice system with untreated substance abuse and/or mental health disorders-thus requiring juvenile justice to become a default system for substance abuse and mental health intervention and treatment services. In an effort to combat this problem, governmental, mental health, social support agencies, and school systems have formed interagency collaborations to provide more effective treatment services. One such interagency collaboration is the JETS Program, a court diversion program that provides intervention and treatment services for juvenile offenders with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders. This study identifies the relationship between shared meaning and collaboration as well as the relationship between collaboration and goal achievement among the nine agencies involved in the JETS Program during the first year of the program's inception. Utilizing a concurrent nested design and deductive content analysis, both qualitative and quantitative methodologies contributed to studying the phenomena of shared meaning and the impact that shared meaning can have on a juvenile interagency collaboration. In order to accomplish this task, 16 service providers (i.e., individuals who provide, or supervise the direct services to juveniles participating in the JETS Program) participated in semi-structured interviews and service provider surveys that focused on the individual's perceptions of collaboration within the JETS Program partnership. Findings indicate that although the JETS Program partners had shared meaning around the appropriate professionals being involved with the program and the goal of the program, a lack of shared meaning on partner roles, referral processes, and overall program structure contributed to negative program outcomes and a general sense of frustration among the service providers.