Glossary: B

"Best Interest"

A standard used to decide what actions or arrangements would most benefit a child, and one on which juvenile court judges may base a disposition, or sentence. Notably, juvenile defense attorneys, unlike Guardians ad litem in dependency proceedings, generally represent the stated interests and desires of their clients rather than what they believe is in the youth’s “best interest.”

Behavioral Health Care

The care and treatment of an individual’s mental health and substance-abuse issues.

Blended Sentencing

A sentence that falls outside of a juvenile or criminal court’s normal realm of consideration. For example, in some states a criminal court may impose a juvenile disposition for certain youth tried as adults or, conversely, a juvenile court may levy an adult sentence or a combined juvenile-and-adult sentence against an offender. While a juvenile court will impose an age-appropriate placement followed by a term in adult prison, the adult sentence is on hold pending a review of the youth’s progress in the juvenile system.