Judicial Bench Guide: Supporting the Mental Health of Children & Youth in Probate Guardianship Proceedings

Report cover with title: Judicial Bench Guide

Courts have a specific but enormously impactful role to play in the lives of court-involved children and families. Experiences like family separation or loss of a family member alter family structure, home environments, and routines, impacting youth’s sense of stability and control and negatively impacting their mental health. Probate guardianship judicial officers and staff come into contact with families at those times of significant transition, when children may be experiencing unmet needs and may benefit from mental health support. 

This guide provides practical information and tools highlighting the variety of ways in which courts can support positive mental health and ensure children have access to services. This guide will also provide a deeper understanding of how unmet mental health needs and prior trauma may also impact the ways in which youth, parents, and caregivers engage in probate guardianship proceedings and highlight effective and compassionate ways of responding that are not punitive.