San Diego County Juvenile Forensic Services, Health & Human Services

(858) 541-5245

Agency Description

We have a significant role to play in San Diego County HHSA service delivery. Juvenile Forensic Services is organized to provide clinical services and crises intervention to youth and their families in the Juvenile Justice System. We provide Crisis Intervention and on-going treatment to children and adolescents detained in two Juvenile Halls and two Probation Camp facilities. In this context we work closely with the general health clinic located in our detention facilities. We also provide consultation and training to Probation staff. We do psychological assessments at the request of the Court and provide intervention for minors in crisis over their arrest or the serious charges they may be facing. We do follow up counseling and medication for mentally unstable youth in these circumstances, and do evaluations for medication referrals and competency to stand trial questions. We do group therapy and currently run a variety of therapy groups especially in the Camp programs. We provide consultation to Probation on placement and planning issues. We assess and collaborate for court specific programs (JFAST -mental health court; Drug Court; and CSEC-focused Court) which has the goal of diverting emotionally disturbed youth out of the Probation system, while setting up intensive mental health treatment and family support in the community.

Agency Mission

To provide mental health assessment, intervention, and services to those children and their families who are involved in the Juvenile Justice System and who are without other resources to secure such services. To coordinate mental health services with those of the Probation Department in such a manner as to promote the best interests of this population of special needs youth and prevent their chronic, generational involvement in the mental health, social services, and criminal justice systems of San Diego County.


We serve an adolescent population, ages 10-19 years, multicultural, multiethnic, most often socio-economically challenged. Our youngsters often come from immigrant families, have poor academic skills, are gang involved, traumatized in early childhood, and later retraumatizeed by their choices. They are often heavily into drugs and alcohol. They are both victimized and victimizers of others in turn. They suffer from learning disabilities, ADHD, PTSD, and often have severe depression, bipolar disorder, and/or antisocial traits. A few are psychotic. Many are facing serious charges, and some are tried as adults. Their families are frequently disorganized, unavailable, overwhelmed, or suffer from severe mental illness. Sometimes, the parents are violent and abusive, or gone to prison for many years. These children are often repeatedly neglected, and establishing trust is a challenge, even when they are willing to play along. If you learn to do therapy in this setting, with these kids, you will be able to work with almost anyone, almost anywhere. Take on this challenge and you will expand your understanding of yourself and others beyond measure.

Staff (#, Degree, Prof. Lic.)

# of Psychologists: 9

# of Psychiatrists: 8

# of RN: 2

# of LCSW: 3

# of MFT: 7

OVERALL Match Process Internship Info

Half-time 1 0 0.00 08/27/2018 08/26/2019 25 1100
Full-time 3 0 0.00 08/27/2018 08/26/2019 40 2000
Half-time 1 2
Full-time 2 2

CURRENT Match Phase Needs

This Data is Informational Only. The Official Track and Available Position data is provided on the InternFit platform.

Full time Predoctoral Internship FT 3
Half time Predoctoral Internship UNDETERMINED/MULTIPLE 0

Required days and times

Thursdays from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM for Group Supervision. Individual scheduled supervision by appointment. No week-ends. No intern may work unless there is staff consultation available on site simultaneously.

Training and Education Offered

The object of the internship is to teach our interns how to function in the role of a forensic psychologist within our setting. Interns do initial clinical evaluations, crisis intervention, and follow selected cases long term. Interns will have some opportunity to do formal psychodiagnostic testing and report writing. They will discuss their findings with the referring psychiatrist, mental health clinician or fellow intern. Interns learn to present cases in group supervision and to collaborate with their peers. Interns have the opportunity to co-lead therapy groups in Juvenile Hall, master group techniques, and run a group independently. They may attend staff meetings at their assigned site and participate in clinical reviews as desired. Interns have opportunities to polish their ability to write competent clinical notes, and a cogent, formal psychodiagnostic evaluation. They get experience consulting with psychiatrists and interfacing with our multi-disciplinary team. They may have the opportunity to assist in doing a competency to stand trial screening and may learn how to do treatment to restore competency. Interns will have solid experience in working with a well-functioning team and incorporate a model that will be useful no matter where they work. As interns mature over the year, they have greater opportunities for independence and develop into valued members of our team, helping our youth learn from their mistakes. They counsel young people and help them re-evaluate their goals, come to terms with their trauma, and head off in a better direction. And, when these same youth return all too soon, our interns learn patience and acceptance, and how to start from where they left off, with renewed determination and hope.

X-Cultural Training


Our staff is multicultural and multiethnic, as is our community. Our facilities have large multiethnic populations. These issues are present and discussed on a daily basis. We offer a series of seminars in group supervision on this topic and have appropriate staff as guest presenters to educate ourselves and our interns. Our clinical staff have a number of immigrants and ethnic groups represented, including: African American, British, Chinese, East Indian, Eastern European, Hispanic, Philippine, German, and Scandinavian. One of our psychologists has published extensively in areas relevant to cultural competence in healthcare and has substantial experience in working clinically with local refugee populations.

Language(s) staff can use in the delivery of clinical services:

English, Spanish, Chinese, German


Conduct an initial screen of referred detainees, including a brief interview, MSE, and make a decision whether to refer to psychiatry or not. Assess minors for Watch Status and know when to consult with senior staff about the need for close watch and suicide watch. Know how and when to ask what to do, if you are unsure. Use judgment to identify your own level of competence in selecting among referrals. Have the ability to ask for supervision immediately when needed. Internalize all rules and ethical guidelines for confidentiality, as well as reporting protective concerns. Know what is easy and difficult for you, and work at your growing edge, neither beyond nor below. Have the courage to be open with your supervisor who is there to help you maximize your potential. Select a reasonable amount of cases for yourself. Be available for scheduled supervision, and seek it out beyond the schedule, rather than winging it on your own. Prepare your cases thoroughly for presentation and learn to articulate your issues. It is your responsibility to work hard and do your best. If no professional staff is available on site, you are not allowed to work alone. Follow the protocol of what to do in this situation because we are very serious about protecting you from getting in over your head.


Required/Desired Experience:

As a minimum, prospective interns should have third year status by the time they are ready to begin the internship. More advanced students will have preference in the selection process. A course in clinical inference is preferred. Practicum experience is a must. A major in clinical (or forensic Psy.D.) psychology is expected. A forensic emphasis is not as important as an excellent academic background and academic performance. Initiative, energy, and positive attitude are highly valued. Ph.D. and Psy.D. candidates are equally welcome.

Brief Description of Requirements:

Acceptable academic performance with some life experience with children and adolescents is very helpful. Coursework in psychodiagnotic testing, including intelligence and personality testing is also important. We tend to appreciate the ability to flex approaches based on clients' needs and presentation rather than ridgidly adhering to a more modularized and somewhat mechanical treatment model. Familiarity with several modes of psychotherapy is thus seen as positive. A statement of clear career goals may be helpful.

Application Procedures

Please submit documents as listed below. Submit to a one hour interview. Take a tour of Juvenile Hall and meet key STAT-Team staff and one or more current interns. If selected, be able to pass a criminal background check and physical at least one month before your planned start date.

Interview Process:

Our interview process is individual, conversational, and personal. We will discuss our personal cultural experiences and our life histories. You may share whatever you like, and only what you are comfortable with. We want to get to know you and allow you to get to know us. We assume you have studied hard and are ready for an internship. This is not a test, just an interview, and no two inteviews are exactly alike.

What we are looking for:

We want interns who are empathic, insightful, and ready to learn. We value energy, creativity, and initiative. Nothing beats a can-do attitude, taking on responsibilities, and willingness to try what your supervisor suggested, at least once anyway. We like the confidence that allows openness in supervision, lots of questions, and the willingness to share mistakes. We all love to laugh and, besides helping our kids, we aren't ridgit about anything, except ethics. We want interns who are likeable, easy to be around, and all different. If you can relax in our setting and do good work, you are for us. If this is too scary, makes you too nervous, or you can't stand to fail, this internship is not for you, and that is nothing to worry about. You will find your niche elsewhere and be happy.

Additional application docs required (if any)

  • Assessment Battery Report

Other information:

Remember, you do have to pass a background check and physical (SD County pays for both) or we cannot allow you to begin the internship. If accepted, we will lead you through the mechanics of that process.

Additional Comments

Please know your approximate time frame for the internship, whether you want full or half time, and so indicate, either at your interview or in your letter of intent. You will have a better chance of getting a position if you are willing to travel to East or South County. You will also have a richer experience if you are willing to rotate among internship sites. If you are going to be a half time intern, do not schedule classes to conflict with group supervision or the staff meeting scheduled at your site. Remember that on the day of group supervision you will be expected to remain at KMJDF and see kids. Therefore, you will need to keep your schedule free Thursday from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM.
  • County - SAN DIEGO
  • Contact Person Title - Director of Intern Training
  • Contact Person - Norman Severe, PsyD
  • Dir. of Training Title - Director of Intern Training
  • Dir. of Training - Norman Severe, PsyD

  • Last Updated - 30 December 2019

  • Number of Applicants Last Year -

  • Participating in CURRENT Match process - No

  • CAPIC Program ID - I-185
  • CAPIC Member Since - 2003
  • Region - So. Cal
  • Internships Status - Half
  • Statuses approved by CAPIC
    • Half-Time 1 Year - Yes
    • Half-Time 2 Years - No
    • Full-Time 1 Year - Yes
  • CAPIC Internship Types Available:
    • Half-Time 1 Year - Yes
    • Half-Time 2 Years - No
    • Full-Time 1 Year - No

Primary Location

  • Executive Director - Carlos Nelson, PhD
  • San diego, CA 92123
  • Phone - (858) 541-5245
  • Fax - (858) 541-5245

Training/Clinical Services Offered

  • Assessment
  • Brief
  • Crisis
  • Family
  • Group
  • Individual
  • Long Term
  • Outpatient
  • Psych. Testing