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Mental Competency Assessment & Training (MCAT) Program-Full Service

A Community-Based Competency Restoration Program for Juveniles and Adults
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Contact us Today! Learn more about our MCAT Competency Restoration Program!

Contact us today to learn more about our MCAT Program! Our dedicated team of experienced professionals is eager to assist you in understanding the benefits and tailored support this program offers. At Psychwest, we pride ourselves on delivering personalized, effective solutions through our comprehensive competency restoration programs. Let us help you explore the MCAT Program and how it can make a positive impact on individuals who need assistance in obtaining competency to stand trial.
Mental Competency Assessment & Training (MCAT) Program- Full Service

A Community-Based Competency Restoration Program for Juveniles and Adults

Fostering Abilities to Become Competent to Stand Trial

Mental Competency Assessment & Training (MCAT) Program: Empowering Juveniles and Adults to Become Competent to Stand Trial


Our full-service Mental Competency Assessment & Training (MCAT) Program provides competency training for juveniles and adults involved in the criminal justice system to obtain competency. The program focuses on providing personalized training to ensure participants understand the legal process and can effectively participate in their defense.

Psychwest, Inc. has been providing mental competency to stand trial services for juveniles and adults since 2007. We offer direct community-based (e.g., homes, correctional facilities, group homes, other community settings) competency training services in Central and Northern California and remote electronic services nationwide.


If an individual’s competency to stand trial is in question, the court may suspend proceedings and order a competency evaluation. If you need a court-ordered juvenile or adult competency evaluation, please refer to our Competency to Stand Trial Assessment information for additional details on how we can complete this.

If an individual has already been found incompetent to stand trial and the court has ordered competency training, you may make a referral for competency training services by contacting us directly or by completing our Referral Form. Once the completed Referral Form and required documentation is received (e.g., authorization, referral information, collateral information), an intake evaluation is completed. A comprehensive report detailing the findings and recommendations is written and provided to the referring agency.

Training follows with our 4-phase training program utilizing the juvenile or adult curricula, workbooks, digital activities, and manipulatives to assist clients in learning and retaining the information in each phase. Following each phase, a phase evaluation is conducted by our licensed psychological staff to ensure progress in the program. Following the four phases, an exit assessment is completed by, and if training has been completed satisfactorily, a written report detailing and comparing the initial and posttest results as well as giving a rationale on how the individual meets the minimum competency requirements is forwarded to the appropriate agency. At the end, the client is provided with a certificate indicating completion of the program. Once the client has completed the MCAT Program, maintenance training may be utilized to assist the client with retaining the material learned. This ongoing support ensures that individuals continue to practice and reinforce the skills they have learned, helping them maintain their mental competency until their court or trial date.

Progress reports and phase assessment reports are provided throughout the training program and include updates to the client’s progress. Barriers that prevent a client from moving forward is assessed and identified, and solution(s) on how to overcome and resolve them is included.

4 Phases of Competency

At the core of MCAT Program are the four phases of competency, designed to provide a comprehensive and structured approach to assessing and enhancing the mental competency of participants.

    1. Phase 1 - General Legal Knowledge: Participants receive education on basic legal concepts and courtroom procedures, allowing them to better understand the legal process and their role in the proceedings.
    2. Phase 2 - Tolerating Stress and Behavioral Conduct: The program addresses participants' emotional well-being, teaching them strategies to cope with stress and maintain appropriate behavior during legal proceedings.
    3. Phase 3 - Working with an Attorney: Participants learn how to effectively communicate and collaborate with their legal counsel, ensuring a strong attorney-client relationship and enabling them to actively contribute to their defense strategy.
    4. Phase 4 - Ability to Consult with Counsel/Case-Specific: This final phase focuses on enhancing participants' understanding of their specific case, as well as their ability to consult with their attorney on case-related matters.

Mental Competency Evaluation Scale (MCES) and Juvenile-Mental Competency Evaluation Scale (J-MCES)

Assessment Process

    1. Baseline Assessment: Upon entering the MCAT Program, participants are given a baseline assessment using the MCES or J-MCES. This initial evaluation helps determine the individual's current level of competency and identifies areas requiring targeted intervention and support.
    2. Phase Assessments: After receiving training in each phase, participants are reassessed using the MCES or J-MCES to evaluate their progress in the specific competency areas. Successful completion of a phase assessment indicates that the participant has acquired the necessary skills and knowledge in that phase, allowing them to advance to the next phase.
    3. Final Assessment: Upon completion of all four phases, participants undergo a final comprehensive assessment using the MCES or J-MCES. Successful completion of this assessment indicates that the individual has achieved the necessary level of mental competency to stand trial.

Program Evaluation and Improvement

Program evaluation and improvements are essential components of the MCAT Program. Procedures are in place for data collection, monitoring, and reporting, to measure program success and make data-driven decisions to improve its effectiveness.

Our Committment!

The MCAT Program is committed to empowering juveniles and adults involved in the criminal justice system by assessing and restoring their mental competency to stand trial. By providing comprehensive support, tailored interventions, and ongoing evaluations, the MCAT Program aims to ensure that individuals can effectively participate in their defense and navigate the legal process. Through the dedicated efforts of the team, the MCAT Program strives to foster a more just and inclusive legal system for all.
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