Cuyahoga County, Ohio Juvenile Court Early Intervention and Diversion Center (EIDC)

Interview with Bridget Gibbons; Director of Programming

Number served per year: 
2021 (current) - 1164 Youth
2020 - 2123 Youth
2019 - 3052 Youth

How are youth referred to your center?
Parent walk-in referrals, school referrals, and police referrals through the Prosecutor’s Office. Judges and Magistrates can also refer if they believe the case is more appropriate for diversion.

How does your center divert youth from the JJ system? The decision for diversion is a collaborative decision between the Court’s EIDC staff and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. A collaborative decision matrix was developed to guide diversion decisions. Each delinquency case is reviewed by the prosecutor to ensure the victim’s needs are met and there is no major victim opposition. Once the EIDC staff screen for mental health and interview the youth and family, the specialists make a recommendation up to the Prosecutor’s Office to recommend diversion. The EIDC’s goal is to tie youth and families to services within their own communities for support and/or treatment. 

What is your favorite tool used in screening and/or assessment and why?  EIDC utilizes the MAYSI-2, which is a brief behavioral health screening instrument to aid juvenile justice staff to identify potential and pressing behavioral health concerns. Any youth that has identified behavioral health concerns flagged through the MAYSI screener will be referred to mental health clinicians for a more comprehensive behavioral health assessment.

EIDC also utilizes the Ohio Youth Assessment System (Diversion Screener) to assess risk to re-offend. All youth are also provided the Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) screener to obtain data on the number of youth with diverse SOGIE identifiers that come into contact with the juvenile justice system.

What is the process your center uses to ensure youth are connected and matched with services after an assessment? Either Applewood clinicians or EIDC Care Coordinators or Intervention Specialists follow up with the agency or family to ensure that referrals are successful. While the case is open with EIDC, there is a minimal monthly follow up to ensure linkage is successful

What outcomes does the Family Resource Center track? 

  • # of youth screened
  • % of youth diverted from official case involvement
  • % successful completion from diversion with no further court action
  • Recidivism rate for diversion youth

What is the biggest challenge your assessment center faces? We are still working through the details of different processes in the EIDC.  It is challenging for staff to continually navigating the necessary, constant change and development of the EIDC as this is a new and growing assessment center.

What value to feel the NAC has brought to the Assessment Center community?  Networking and hearing about other Assessment Centers and the work they are doing across many other jurisdictions.

Download the EIDC brochure