(1) As used in this section, “center” means a juvenile assessment center comprising community operated facilities and programs which provide collocated central intake and screening services for youth referred to the department.
(2) The department shall work cooperatively with substance abuse programs, mental health providers, law enforcement agencies, schools, health service providers, state attorneys, public defenders, and other agencies serving youth to establish juvenile assessment centers. Each current and newly established center shall be developed and modified through the local initiative of community agencies and local governments and shall provide a broad array of youth-related services appropriate to the needs of the community where the center is located.
(3) Each center shall be managed and governed by the participating agencies, consistent with respective statutory requirements of each agency, through an advisory committee and interagency agreements established with participating entities. The advisory committee shall guide the center’s operation and ensure that appropriate and relevant agencies are collaboratively participating in and providing services at the center. Each participating state agency shall have operational oversight of only those individual service components located and provided at the center for which the state agency has statutory authority and responsibility.
(4) Each center shall provide collocated central intake and screening services for youth referred to the department. The center shall provide sufficient services needed to facilitate the initial screening of and case processing for youth, including, at a minimum, delinquency intake; positive identification of the youth; detention admission screening; needs assessment; substance abuse screening and assessments; physical and mental health screening; and diagnostic testing as appropriate. The department shall provide sufficient staff and resources at a center to provide detention screening and intake services.
(5) Each center is authorized and encouraged to establish truancy programs. A truancy program may serve as providing the central intake and screening of truant children for a specific geographic area based upon written agreements between the center, local law enforcement agencies, and local school boards. A center may work cooperatively with any truancy program operating in the area serving the center.
(6) Each center must provide for the coordination and sharing of information among the participating agencies to facilitate the screening of and case processing for youth referred to the department.
(7) The department may utilize juvenile assessment centers to the fullest extent possible for the purpose of conducting predisposition assessments and evaluations of youth. Assessments and evaluations may be conducted by juvenile assessment center staff on a youth while he or she is in a juvenile detention center awaiting placement in a residential commitment facility. If feasible, a youth may be transported from a juvenile detention center to a juvenile assessment center for the purpose of conducting an assessment or evaluation. Such assessments and evaluations may include, but are not limited to, needs assessment; substance abuse evaluations; physical and mental health evaluations; psychological evaluations; behavioral assessments; educational assessments; aptitude testing; and vocational testing. To the extent possible, the youth’s parents or guardians and other family members should be involved in the assessment and evaluation process. All information, conclusions, treatment recommendations, and reports derived from any assessment and evaluation performed on a youth shall be included as a part of the youth’s commitment packet and shall accompany the youth to the residential commitment facility in which the youth is placed.