Skip to content

Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth

The goal of the Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth is to raise awareness for better mental health services in the community for young people and their families, and to coordinate delivery of those services to ensure the community’s youth have a chance to succeed.

Meet the Director

A photo of Dr. Altha Stewart

Altha J. Stewart, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Community Health Engagement at UT Health Science Center in Memphis is Associate Professor and Chief of Social/Community Psychiatry as well as Director, Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth at UTHSC.  In 2018-19 she served as the 145th President of the American Psychiatric Association, the first African American elected to this position in the 175-year history of the organization.   Prior to joining the faculty at UTHSC, she served as Executive Director of the Memphis/Shelby County System of Care program.  A native of Memphis, Dr. Stewart worked for decades as CEO/Executive Director in large public mental health systems in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.  She received her medical degree from Temple University Medical School and completed her residency at what is now Drexel University.  She has received honorary degrees from Regis College and Christian Brothers University in Memphis.  She is past president of the Black Psychiatrists of America, Association of Women Psychiatrists and American Psychiatric Foundation.  She is the recipient of the Black Psychiatrists of America Lifetime Achievement Award.


If you are requesting assistance from any of our programs, please click here to Request for Assistance. If you would like to contact us by phone, please give us a call at 901.448.4200.

Shelby Connects Network System of Care Program coordinates the community-based services and supports to meet the challenges facing children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families. Families and youth work in partnership with mental health providers, family support specialists, natural community support systems, schools, and other community agencies to develop and implement individualized service plans based on family-driven and youth-guided direction to address the needs of the child and family. Shelby Connects Network helps children, youth, and families achieve positive life outcomes by providing the services, supports, and opportunities they need to thrive in their homes and communities.

 Core values:

  1. No “wrong door”
  2. Child/youth guided
  3. Family-driven
  4. Strength-based
  5. Community-based
  6. Culturally and linguistically competent

Who can make referrals:

  1. Parents
  2. Children/Youth (with parental consent)
  3. Schools
  4. Community Members
  5. Community Partners
  6. Child-serving agencies (DCS, Juvenile Court, etc.)

 Who can be referred:

  1. Children 18 years old and under
  2. Must live in Shelby County, and can
  3. Have a mental illness or behavioral health diagnosis, or
  4. Experiencing problems at home, in the community, and at school, or
  5. Be involved with or show the potential for becoming involved with the Department of Children’s Services, law enforcement, the juvenile justice system, or child welfare systems.

Gang Intervention Focusing on Families and Trauma Supports (GIFFTS)

The goal for GIFFTS will be to reduce the impact of violence on youth in targeted neighborhoods through an enhanced gang intervention and prevention model using trauma-informed interventions and evidenced-based family supports. The implementation process for GIFFTS is centered around identifying risk factors, while strengthening protective factors to reduce the influence of violence and violent crimes in decision-making by youth that often ends with gang involvement.

Wraparound Frayser provides support for a community organization-based wraparound approach (by Legacy of Legends CDC in Frayser) to serving children impacted by mental illness and trauma. We work directly with school personnel and providers to identify the child's needs, works with the family to ensure those needs are met, and creates a trauma-informed school environment to support the child's emotional well-being and improved academic performance.


Last Published: Mar 12, 2021