This article explores the intersect between mentally ill youth and the juvenile justice system. Mentally ill youth are disproportionately represented at every stage in the juvenile justice system due to their symptoms being mistaken for delinquent behavior. This stems from the legislators reforming the juvenile justice system from rehabilitative to punitive over the years in an attempt to hold delinquent youth accountable for their actions. Federal statutes have been enacted and federally funded programs have been implemented that seek to address the mental health crisis in today’s youth and keep mentally ill youth out of the juvenile justice system. This article discusses the goals, regulations, and guidelines set forth by these statutes and programs along with the shortcomings that are faced when they are actually put into practice. This article then gives suggestions to improve these statutes and programs based on current research that has proven to be successful.