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  • Science of Adolescent Development Continues to Inform Juvenile Justice System

    Over the past decade, state and local jurisdictions have been actively developing strategies to reduce both recidivism and spending in their juvenile justice systems. Many also seek to ensure that every youth who comes in contact with the system is met with procedural fairness at every stage of the justice system. To help accomplish these goals, juvenile justice leaders are examining and applying research and recommendations outlined in Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach, a seminal report released by National Research Council in 2012. This report provides an extensive review of decades of research on juvenile justice programs and practices.

    To read more, visit the Justice Center website >> 

  • Growing Evidence for Link Between Experience in Detention and Recidivism in Teens

    Young people in the juvenile justice system who have an overall positive experience are 49 percent less likely to continue committing crimes, according to arrest and/or return-to-placement reports.

    Two recent research briefs, “What Youths Say Matters” [PDF] and “Reducing Isolation and Room Confinement,” [PDF] by the Performance Based Standards Learning Institute (PbSLi) suggest that there is a direct, and strong, link between the quality of a teen’s time in detention and their likelihood to commit new offenses:

    The latest PbSLi brief, “What Youths Say Matters,” focuses on the recent study, Pathways to Desistance, which is regarded as the most comprehensive longitudinal study of youths in the juvenile justice system.

    The Pathways researchers interviewed around 1,400 youths in Philadelphia and Phoenix over a seven-year period observing what makes youths continue—or stop—committing crimes.

    This study demonstrated that teens’ experiences in custody impact their future choices. The two main conclusions of the report include the following:

    1. What youths say matters; youths tell us ways we can help prevent them from continuing to commit crimes; and
    2. Asking young people is a valid, cost-effective way to find out what we need to know to prevent future crime.

  • RECLAIM Ohio: A Promising Alternative to Teen Incarceration

    PEW recently published a report revealing the effectiveness of the RECLAIM (Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to Incarceration of Minors) funding initiative in Ohio. The report found RECLAIM to be highly successful in lowering recidivism rates and saving the state millions of dollars:

    RECLAIM is an initiative funding program that allows county courts to implement community based programs in order to provide alternatives to juvenile incarceration for juvenile offenders or youth at risk of offending. The increased funding for counties is based on an equation that refunds counties for the time juvenile offenders would have spent if they had been committed to the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) state facility.

    Like many states in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Ohio saw an increase in the incarcerated youth population. By 1992, the state reached an all-time high of 180 percent of capacity with many of the youth being first-time nonviolent offenders. The idea was that by better serving low to medium risk offenders through locally tailored community programs, admissions would decrease as well as recidivism rates.

  • Washington One of Nation's 'Comeback States' on Juvenile Justice; News Roundup

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Accouncement: Website Launch
      New website launches for Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT), providing help for adolescents and families.
    • Washington One of Nation's 'Comeback States' on Juvenile Justice (
      Washington’s juvenile detention population dropped 40% between 2001 and 2010, according to a new report released Tuesday by the National Juvenile Justice Network. The analysis puts Washington among nine “comeback states” on the issue of juvenile justice.
    • Ted Cox has Faith in the Youth he Serves (
      Retired Army Reserve Col. Ted Cox arm wrestles an inmate at the Caddo Parish Juvenile Justice Complex, where he is the administrator. He regularly counsels the youth there.
    • Zero Tolerance and Juvenile Justice: A View from the Bench (Alaska Justice Forum)
      "The factors that lead youth into juvenile crime are many and varied. Drugs, alcohol, and interpersonal violence are often cited as major contributors. However, in my estimation, one of the principal factors that may often precipitate a plunge into the juvenile justice system is the failure to maintain and succeed in school."

  • Vera Releases New Guide for Evidence-Based Practice

    The Vera Institute of Justice recently released a handbook to help a wide range of social service practitioners, in juvenile justice and beyond. The new document, "Measuring Success: A Guide to Becoming an Evidence-Based Practice," breaks the process into three steps and offers an easy-to-follow methodology to measuring performance.

    Vera offers guidance in determining who qualifies as evidence-based, which can be helpful for funding. Vera's announcement continues:

    Demonstrating that a program accomplishes its stated goals is increasingly important for social service organizations—funders and clients want to see the evidence of successful outcomes. Although a full-scale evaluation can be a costly and overwhelming goal, adopting the information-gathering and self-reflective approaches that lead up to an evaluation can in themselves strengthen an agency’s focus and procedural fidelity.

    Vera has worked with juvenile justice system service providers in many settings as they build and monitor their programs. It produced this handbook on the basis of experience in the field, and in collaboration with the Institute for Public Health and Justice at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

    While the guide grew out of requests from juvenile justice service providers for a roadmap toward becoming an evidence-based practice, its recommendations have applications beyond juvenile justice. “We believe the systematic approach to collecting information on goals, treatment methods, and outcomes can benefit other social service providers seeking to measure the efficacy of their interventions,” said Annie Salsich, director of Vera’s Center on Youth Justice.

  • New Report: Moving Forward to End Mass Incarceration

    The Sentencing Project recently released a report examining the history and impact of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI). The JRI is an evidence based approach to improve public safety, reduce incarcerations and reinvest savings to enhance neighborhoods. So far, it has supported 27 states in the last decade. While the JRI has made progress, the report, “Ending Mass Incarceration [PDF],” offers a note of caution:

    Our analysis, described in the pages that follow, lead us to the conclusion that while JRI has played a significant role in softening the ground and moving the dial on mass incarceration reform, it is not an unmitigated success story; the picture is complex and nuanced.

    It argues that the expansion of correctional control has not occurred accidentally, but as a result of deliberate policy choices that have increased the number of people entering the system and how long they stay. Although there have been some problems with the JRI since it was originally catalyzed, The Sentencing Project is enthusiastic about where it will go from here.

    The report emphasizes the impact that JRI could have moving forward through four recommendations:

    1. Reduce all forms of incarceration and correctional supervision (probation/parole).
    2. Reinvest in high incarceration communities.
    3. Involve stakeholders and non-governmental entities at the state and local levels throughout the planning, legislative, implementation and reinvestment process.
    4. Create a multi-year plan and course for implementation and evaluation beyond short-term legislative or policy fixes.

  • Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice: A Guidebook for Implementation

    The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s National Youth Screening & Assessment Project recently published “Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice: A Guidebook for Implementation.” This guidebook looks at research evidence and provides a framework for selecting and implementing an evidence-based tool to help reduce risks associated with teens’ placement and supervision while involved with the juvenile justice system. Via the report:

    The primary purpose of this Guide is to provide a structure for jurisdictions, juvenile probation or centralized statewide agencies striving to implement risk assessment or to improve their current risk assessment practices. Risk assessment in this Guide refers to the practice of using a structured tool that combines information about youth to classify them as being low, moderate or high risk for reoffending or continued delinquent activity, as well as identifying factors that might reduce that risk on an individual basis.

    The purpose of such risk assessment tools is to help in making decisions about youths’ placement and supervision, and creating intervention plans that will reduce their level of risk.

  • Violence Prevention: Evidence-Based Practices and Community Involvement

    Contrary to what many people believe, mass shooters and other killers aren’t born, they’re created.

    Violence is preventable, though maybe not totally avoidable. As shown by a growing body of scientific research, interventions that address the underlying causes of violent behavior and victimization are effective in preventing new instances of violence. There are programs and strategies that, if implemented correctly, reliably and significantly reduce youth crime.

    Policy makers, practitioners and families that are committed to reducing violence must invest in potentially effective practices to the extent there are means of determining effectiveness. Making use of evidence-based interventions already at hand could potentially contribute to a reduction in violence and save billions of dollars by preventing or mitigating factors that would otherwise require expensive interventions after the fact.

    To prevent violence and reduce its consequences it is necessary to understand the causes of violence. A major finding of national and international reports on violence is that no single factor explains why one individual, family, community or society is more or less likely to experience violence. Instead, it shows that violence is rooted in the interaction of factors ranging from the biological to the political. An ecological approach to prevention of violence targets the categories of risk factors for violence at four interacting levels: the individual, relational, community context and societal factors

  • A Community Approach to Juvenile Justice

    This Fall, the Adler School Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice (IPSSJ) and its partner organizations with the Cook County Juvenile Justice Task Force published a concept paper (PDF download) outlining community-based, trauma-informed, restorative solutions to youth crime and conflict in Cook County, Illinois. The report provides guiding thoughts on how the juvenile justice system can better support young people while making communities safer. It also recommends alternatives to existing centralized juvenile detention approaches in Cook County.

    The Adler School IPSSJ paper reports that the majority of juvenile justice dollars are spent in only a few zip codes. By using community approaches to juvenile justice, the Adler School argues that the county could get a much higher return on investment, along with lowering the risk currently posed by teen crime. Via the report:

    ...if the county does not reinvest these dollars in the communities of greatest need, it is asking residents of those areas to assume substantial additional risks to their safety without funding the types of programs and initiatives that could effectively manage those risks. This is a very real danger. As we all labor to design the best possible future for juvenile justice in Cook County, we would like your help keeping the above ideas and concerns at the forefront of the process. We know fundamental change will take years to responsibly develop; yet the time to begin the work is now.

  • Implementing Evidence-Based Programs for Justice-Involved Teens

    A recent report from the Association for the Advancement of Evidence-Based Practice demonstrates strong evidence to support shifting resources to evidence-based programs (EBPs) in delinquency prevention or intervention, or those proven to produce substantial reductions in recidivism and crime. Despite this, according to the report,

    Although there are sufficient resources currently invested in juvenile justice programs to provide a program that has been proven effective for every youth who could use one, less than 10 percent of youths in need actually receive these programs.

    To address this and improve the availability and quality of EBPs, the report, Implementing Proven Programs For Juvenile Offenders: Assessing State Progress, examined the top five states in terms of proven programs (Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine and New Mexico) for commonalities that could guide other states.

    Key similarities found in the study included:

    • Structured involvement of all key stakeholders: requiring the cooperation of many state and local agencies, including state departments, law enforcement, and school systems, in programs
    • Development of local expertise: identifying at least one person to become fully informed about the available EBP options and allotting time for them to do this
    • Pilot testing of new EBPs: picking one or two sites in which to test the program models selected as the best to suit their needs
    • Creation of information resource centers: establishing sites with staff acting to bridge the science of EBPs (assessment instruments, training consultant etc.) and the practitioners
    • Designation of small number of EBPs to be supported by state: starting out supporting just one EBP and slowly adding additional programs
    • Special funding for designated EBPs: enlisting state support for important but non-revenue producing pre-implementation aspects of a new EBP
    • Technical assistance to counties for needs assessment, program selection and implementation

  • Most Popular Juvenile Justice Blog Posts | October 2012
    by LIZ WU

    Did you miss some of our blog posts last month? Not to worry - here's a round-up of our most popular posts from October 2012.

    10. [NEW REPORT] Community Solutions for Youth in Trouble
    Over the past few years, Texas has shifted youth rehabilitation from large state-run facilities to smaller community programs. And they're seeing great results.

    9. October is National Youth Justice Awareness Month
    Last month, over 20 states are holding events to raise awareness about youth justice issues and the juvenile justice system.

    8. 7 Core Principles to Change the Course of Youth Justice
    A new article from the New York Law School Law Review examines problems with the juvenile justice system and offers solutions for a more productive youth justice system.

    7. NC Teens, Police, Community Join Forces to Stop Bullying Epidemic 
    Recognizing the need to address bullying in schools, young people in North Carolina partnered with police officers and community members to create a short movie against bullying.

  • Minnesota Reports on Disproportionate Minority Contact in its Juvenile Justice System

    Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs has been researching Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) in their state in order to better understand why minority youth have contact with the juvenile justice system at different rates than white youth. Their new report, “Disproportionate Minority Contact in Minnesota’s Juvenile Justice System,” is an exhaustive investigation measuring DMC in Minnesota, along with strategies for reducing it.

    Disproportionate Minority Contact is often dismissed by people not involved with the juvenile justice system with the thought that minority youth commit more crimes than white youth. The data, however, suggests otherwise. Via the report:

    While data suggest white youth and youth of color may have different rates of offending for some crimes, the levels of disparity observed are too great to be explained by differences in youth offending patterns alone. Furthermore, once youth of color are in the system, research reveals they receive harsher consequences than white youth with similar offenses and criminal histories.

    The report continues with an explanation of why DMC may be occurring:

    A host of factors potentially contribute to disparate rates of justice system contact for youth of color. These include the inequitable distribution of resources in communities, bias within the policies and practices of juvenile justice agencies, and underlying social conditions of communities, particularly poverty.

  • Tough Times For Girls In Juvenile Justice System and More; News Roundup

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Kids Count Report Demonstrates New Jersey’s Successes In Juvenile Justice (
      Advocates for Children of New Jersey today released a special juvenile justice Kids Count report entitled, “Measuring Change in New Jersey’s Treatment of Young Offenders.” The report details the successful reforms in juvenile justice since the implementation of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) in New Jersey.
    • Tough Times For Girls In Juvenile Justice System (
      [AUDIO STORY] The number of boys locked up for crimes has dropped over the past decade, but the number of young women detained in jails and residential centers has moved in the other direction. Experts say girls make up the fastest-growing segment of the juvenile justice system, with more than 300,000 arrests and criminal charges every year.
    • Common Sense Discipline In Denver Schools (
      Between 2009 and 2011, enrollment in Denver schools rose six percent. But even with an increased number of students, expulsions dropped 44 percent, from 185 to 104. That’s because the school district has adopted alternatives to zero-tolerance, such as restorative justice and conflict resolution, which seek to defuse and resolve disciplinary issues before they rise to a level demanding expulsion.
    • South Dakota Counties Export Effective Juvenile Justice (
      Minnehaha and Pennington County, in South Dakota, have dropped juvenile detention rates by one-third and one-half, respectively, in just two years. Now the rest of the state is hoping to follow their lead.

  • 7 Core Principles to Change the Course of Youth Justice

    A new article from the New York Law School Law Review examines the problems with the juvenile justice system and offers solutions for a more productive youth justice system. “When the Cure Makes You Ill: Seven Core Principles to Change the Course of Youth Justice,” calls the extremity of youth justice to trial and shares statistics of the negative effects the system has on children.

    Our current juvenile justice system is “iatrogenic,” says author Gabrielle Prisco. Being in the system worsens outcomes for troubled teens and more often than not, results in violence and recidivism -- the very same outcome it tries to remedy.

    Prisco outlines seven core principles to change the course of youth justice:

    Principle One: Treat Children as Children
    Research shows children lack critical thinking skills and the ability to fully understand risk management. “The region of the brain that is the last to develop is the one that controls many of the abilities that govern goal-oriented, ‘rational’ decision-making, such as long-term planning, impulse control, insight, and judgment,” writes Prisco. Children who are incarcerated in an adult jail are thirty-six times more likely to commit suicide because they are not properly cared for in a youth facility, yet thirty-nine states in the United States presently allow juveniles to be tried in adult court and sentenced to life without the chance of parole (JLWOP). 

  • New Findings on Youth Brain Development and Decision Making

    The National Juvenile Justice Network recently published new research exploring the significant differences in teens’ brains compared to adults’. The latest research, “Using Adolescent Brain Research to Inform Policy: A Guide for Juvenile Justice Advocates,” looks at specific areas of the brain and how they function when involved in particular activities and thinking. This has allowed researchers to learn a great deal about how teens and adults differ when using their brains.

    Major findings from the report include:

    • Brain development takes place in stages and is not fully complete in adolescence. The frontal lobe, tasked with decision making, planning, judgement, expression of emotions and impulse control may not be fully mature until the mid-20s.
    • The limbic system, which helps to process and manage emotion, is also developing during adolescence. This causes adolescents to experience more mood swings and impulsive behavior than adults.
    • Levels of dopamine production shift during adolescence. As a result, activities that once were exciting to youth may not be so as they enter adolescence, and thus they may seek excitement through increasingly risky behavior.
    • When adolescents make choices involving risk, they do not engage the higher-thinking, decision-and reward areas of the brain as much as adults do. This can lead adolescents to actually overstate rewards without fully evaluating the long-term consequences or risks involved in a situation.

  • What's the Best Way to Train People to Use Evidence-Based Practices?

    Psychologist Melanie Barwick is a co-author of “Training Health and Mental Health Professionals in Motivational Interviewing: A Systematic Review,” published in the September 2012 issue of the Children and Youth Services Review.

    Barwick and her colleagues were curious about how evidence-based practices can be successfully implemented in service settings, including youth programs. The researchers reviewed 22 programs’ approaches to implementing an evidence-based practice called “motivational interviewing,” defined in their paper as “a collaborative, person-centered form of guiding [clients] to elicit and strengthen motivation for change.”

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, Barwick and her colleagues found that the practice is most successful when staff have in-depth, prolonged training on how to use it.

    “Training that consisted of theory and discussion produced only a modest gain in knowledge,” they write.

    “It was only when on-the-job coaching was added that large gains were seen in knowledge, ability to demonstrate the skills, and use of the new skills in the classroom.”

  • [NEW REPORT ] Underage Drinking: Practice Guidelines for Community Corrections

    OJJDP’s October Juvenile Justice Bulletin examines underage drinking and offers evidence-based guidelines for screening and treating teen drinkers. OJJDP’s interest in promoting better treatment for underage drinking isn’t new--they’ve long understood the physical, neurological and legal consequences of underage drinking.

    The Underage Drinking Bulletin series was created to help educate practitioners and policymakers about these issues and to provide evidence-based guidelines. Highlights from the 10 guidelines from this bulletin are included below:

    • Youth should be screened for alcohol problems regularly throughout their supervision. If they are found to be at risk for such problems, a substance abuse specialist should conduct a thorough assessment. Other assess­ments should identify youths’ risks, needs and assets.
    • Justice professionals should develop an individualized case plan for each youth.
    • Professionals should match interventions with a youth’s needs and assets. Youth’s progress and participation in programs should be monitored.
    • Family and social networks must support youth.
    • Youth should receive swift and certain sanctions for noncompliance with supervision conditions but should also receive positive reinforcement for constructive behaviors.

  • New Program Evaluation Report: What Works and What Doesn’t for Boys and Girls

    Child Trends recently released two fact sheets examining practices that had positive, negative or neutral impacts on boys and girls: What Works for Female Children and Adolescents: Lessons From Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventions and What Works for Male Children and Adolescents: Lessons From Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventions.

    Child Trends evaluated 115 random assignment intent-to-treat intervention programs for boys and 106 for girls, and published findings broken down in a number of outcome areas including Academic Achievement & School Engagement, Delinquency, Mental Health & Internalizing, Physical Health and Nutrition, Reproductive Health and Substance Abuse.

    Overall, both boys and girls responded well to mentoring--this type of intervention showed positive results in academic achievement. However, boys and girls differed in several other areas. Via the boys’ report:

  • OJJDP Bulletin: Underage Drinking Still a Major Problem for Teens, Society

    OJJDP posted findings from an underage drinking literature review in their September Juvenile Justice Bulletin. The review focuses on how drinking can affect teens’ mental and physical well being--highlights from the bulletin are included below (emphasis mine):

    • The human brain continues to develop until a person is around age 25. Underage drinking may impair this neurological development, causing youth to make irresponsible decisions, encounter memory lapses, or process and send neural impulses more slowly.
    • Underage drinking cost society $68 billion in 2007, or $1 for every drink consumed. This includes medical bills, income loss, and costs from pain and suffering.
    • In 2009, 19 percent of drivers ages 16–20 who were involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration over the legal adult limit (0.08).
    • Alcohol use encourages risky sexual behavior. Youth who drink may be more likely to have sex, become pregnant, or contract sexually transmitted diseases.

  • REPORT: “Boys Will Be Boys” (Unless They’re Black, In Which Case Lock them Up)

    In “Criminalizing Normal Adolescent Behavior in Communities of Color: The Role of Prosecutors in Juvenile Justice Reform,” Kristin N. Henning focuses on the disparity of treatment of youth when race is a factor.

    Youth have long held special status in the justice system. Teens tend to make questionable decisions which can lead to very negative outcomes, due to their difficulty weighing both short and long-term consequences. But, via the report:

    As youth mature, they age out of delinquent behavior and rarely persist in a life of crime. Because children and adolescents are more malleable and amenable to rehabilitation than adults, the Supreme Court has recognized youth as a mitigating factor in the disposition of even the most serious criminal behavior by adolescents.

  • Director Appointed to Office of Adolescent Health

    Evelyn M. Kappeler was appointed Monday from "acting" to permanent Director of the Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health.

    Ms. Kappeler was first appointed in 2010 by the Assistant Secretary for Health to build and lead -- in an acting capacity --the newly funded Office of Adolescent Health (OAH). She established the office and implemented its signature $110 million grant program aimed at reducing teen pregnancy through the replication of evidence-based program models and research and demonstration projects.

    Ms. Kappeler convened the Health and Human Services-wide Adolescent Health Working Group, a first of its kind collaboration among the many agencies and offices with interest in ensuring the health of adolescents and young adults.

    The group focuses on their shared interests in promoting healthy social, emotional and physical development during adolescence to help teens grow into productive, healthy adults and reaching adolescents who are most in need of integrated, coordinated services and care.

  • PODCAST: Early Trauma, Teen Aggression and the Juvenile Justice System

    In a recent podcast, Natalie Katz of Sage Publications interviewed Julian D. Ford, one of the authors of “Complex Trauma and Aggression in Secure Juvenile Justice Settings.” This study, written by John Chapman, Daniel F. Connor and Keith R. Cruise in addition to Ford, examines the relationship between trauma experienced by young people and aggressive behavior, especially in youths in the juvenile justice system.

    Below you’ll find Natalie Katz’s main questions in bold, followed by my summary of Ford’s answers. You can also listen to the full podcast here (it’s about 15 minutes long).

    What kinds of trauma are most often experienced by youths?

    Most youths experience one traumatic event sometime in their childhoods. These events are very seriously threatening and fall into a few different categories:

    • Violation of bodily integrity
    • Violent trauma creating serious physical harm
    • Accidental trauma (driving collisions, falls, etc)

  • San Francisco's Community-Focused "Wraparound" Approach Reduces Recidivism

    Last month, members of CJCJ’s Wraparound team had the honor of presenting to juvenile justice leaders from select California counties at the Sierra Health Foundation’s Positive Youth Justice Initiative (PYJI) Speaker Series. Juvenile Justice Clinical Supervisor, Margaret Hitchcock and Wrap Rehabilitation Counselor, Randell Lewis, were joined by CJCJ’s Executive Director, Daniel Macallair, San Francisco Deputy Director of Juvenile Probation, Allison Magee, and Statewide expert on EPSDT and Wraparound funds, Joseph Harrington. As one of California’s model counties, the San Francisco collaborative was invited by Sierra Health Foundation to discuss its community-based wraparound approach toward serving high-needs youth.

    (Sierra Health Foundation’s Positive Youth Justice Initiative - Applying a Community‐Based Wraparound Approach from Youth Empowerment Studios on Vimeo.)

    This wraparound model would not be effective without the collaboration between the San Francisco Probation Department, Public Defender’s Office, other county departments and community-based nonprofits. As a result of this collaboration, San Francisco has seen a dramatic reduction in recidivism since implementation of the Wraparound program in 2009.

  • New CASA Columbia Study Reports Inadequate Treatment for Addiction

    The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia) released a new five-year national study on addiction treatment, finding that despite overwhelming evidence that addiction is a disease, treatment options don’t follow the same methodologies that we currently use to treat other diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart conditions. Treatments for each of these diseases of course differ, but doctors still use the same process of evidence-based diagnosis followed by appropriate treatment.

    Although addiction to nicotine, alcohol and other substances affects over 40 million Americans--more than cancer, diabetes and heart conditions--most medical professionals aren’t qualified to treat addiction. The study found youth who begin smoking, drinking, or using other drugs before the age of 21 are at higher risk for addiction. In 96.5 percent of cases, addiction originated with substance use before the age of 21 when the brain is still developing. Via the press release:

    “The report finds that while doctors routinely screen for a broad range of health problems like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, they rarely screen for risky substance use or signs of addiction and instead treat a long list of health problems that result, including accidents, unintended pregnancies, heart disease, cancers and many other costly conditions without examining the root cause.”

  • A Regional Approach to Helping Native Youth Beat Substance Abuse Addiction

    The Indian Health Service funds 11 regional centers across the country that treat Native youth with substance abuse problems. We spoke to Skye Bass, an Indian Health Service (IHS) public health specialist, about the culturally specific approach used by the Youth Regional Treatment Centers.

    NCFY: What do the IHS-funded Youth Regional Treatment Centers offer Native youth that can’t be found in other substance abuse treatment centers?

    Bass: The Indian Health Service-funded treatment centers are unique due to the fact that emphasis on American Indian and Alaska Native culture is a central component of treatment.

    This emphasis is reflected in most, if not all, aspects of programming, including the design and location of the centers; Indian preference in staff hiring; holistic program components, such as family involvement, spiritual ceremonies, and a focus on healing and coping with grief; and finally, the affirmation of cultural identity, norms of sobriety, and personal responsibility to one’s Tribe and community.

  • Join the 6/26 Twitter Chat on Bullying
    by LIZ WU

    On Tuesday, June 26th, the Advancement Project, Gay-Straight Alliance Network and the Alliance for Educational Justice are hosting a Twitter chat on bullying. In particular, they will explore strategies that schools can take to end bullying. They will also discuss zero-tolerance and school-to-prison pipeline policies.

    The three organizations are also releasing a policy report on bullying and zero-tolerance disciplinary measures.

    To join the conversation, use the #bullychat hashtag on Twitter and RSVP on Facebook for the opportunity to submit questions ahead of time.

  • New Financing Tool for Social Programs Opens Doors for Juvenile Justice

    Identifying the best programs for solving serious social problems is challenging for governments in the best of times, and all the more so in a constrained fiscal environment where every dollar must count. This is particularly true in areas like juvenile justice where the most effective interventions may involve combining approaches that governments currently support through separate funding streams—and where politicians’ personal views may steer disproportionate amounts of funds to programs that sound good on paper but don’t deliver results.

    But an innovative new financing tool called Social Impact Bonds may help solve some of these challenges. Social Impact Bonds, or SIBs, take traditional government funding structures and turn them on their head. Instead of paying costs upfront for a prescribed set of services, SIBs allow governments to define outcomes they want to achieve—and not pay a dime if those goals are not met.

    At their core, Social Impact Bonds are a straightforward concept. A SIB is an arrangement between one or more government agencies and an external organization where the government specifies an outcome or set of outcomes they want to achieve and promises to pay that external organization a pre-agreed sum if it is able to accomplish the outcome(s). For a SIB agreement to work, the contracting agencies must place few, if any, controls on how the external organization seeks to achieve the outcome. This allows the external organization to use a combination of approaches to achieve the outcome.

  • Liveblogging Shay Bilchik at PSU: Improving Systemic Coordination and Outcomes for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System
    by LIZ WU

    Shay Bilchik (founder and Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute) is at Portland State University this afternoon to discuss the juvenile justice system. I'll be liveblogging his talk here, so tune in!

    "If We Knew Then, What We Know Now: Implications for Juvenile Justice Policy in America"

    4:45pm Dr. David Springer (upcoming Dean of PSU's School of Social Work): I've had the pleasure of serving with Shay on a juvenile justice panel in Austin about a year ago, and we're all in for a real treat.

    4:50pm Bilchik: We're launching work with Multnomah and Marion counties' juvenile justice systems...

    Oregon has demonstrated a vision that shows the possibility of serving children and families in a great way. The multi-system juvenile justice system here is the best in the country. 

    4:55pm Bilchik: We're primed to build a better and smarter juvenile justice system. It's no longer just the juvenile justice field, youth development field, education fields.. we're now working across systems. As Dr. Laura Nissen says, "these are boundary founders" who are working across multiple fields. To put it simply, we want to provide love, opportunity and hope to the children who come in contact with the juvenile justice system.

    5:05pm Bilchik: We need to make sure that none of our children fall through the cracks and too often we don't do that. Too often these kids are without power (living in impoverished communities) and kids of color.

    So what would we have done differently if we knew then what we know now?

  • Takeaways from Oklahoma: Cultural Sensitivity and Evidence-Based Practices Matter

    Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Reclaiming Futures Cherokee Nation site in Oklahoma. I am especially impressed by how committed the team members are to not only serving the youth of the Cherokee Nation, but also to helping them connect with their cultural heritage.

    I had a couple of key takeaways:

    • Cultural sensitivity is key: As Treatment Fellow Lori Medina mentions in her video, the Cherokee Nation site has unique cultural challenges in working with local teens. Being able to fully understand and relate to Native American culture has allowed the site to truly connect with troubled kids and make sure they are on the path to rehabilitation and success. There is a particular focus on learning how to make Native American crafts and participating in cultural events, which not only teaches the kids a marketable trade, but also helps them to connect to their heritage and community.
    • Evidence-based practices are crucial: Project Director Jennifer Kirby is a big supporter of using evidence-based practices to improve treatment for troubled teens. As Jennifer explains in her video, the Reclaiming Futures model provides them with the tools to better assess troubled youth at intake. This allows them to make better-informed recommendations for treatment and services, which leads to stronger outcomes.


  • Felony: A response to cigarettes & cell phones in Georgia youth detention

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    Adolecscent Substance Abuse Treatment

  • New National Poll: Strong Support for Youth Rehabilitation Over Incarceration and More -- News Roundup
    • New National Poll: Strong Support for Youth Rehabilitation Over Incarceration
      Poll highlights critical and timely information on youth in the justice system, showing overwhelming public support for treatment and rehabilitation of youth over incarceration and automatic prosecution in adult criminal court. This survey, a sample of 1,000 American adults, was commissioned by the Campaign for Youth Justice.
    • Sustainability: Impact Beyond Grant Programs
      These slides and guides from Pennsylvania State University are very helpful for juvenile justice programs and prevention work. (Hat tip to Paul Savery)
    • Feds Tell California Marijuana Dispensaries to Shut Down
      U.S. attorneys say they will prosecute landlords who rent space to operators of medical marijuana dispensaries. The attorneys said they suspect these dispensaries of using the state’s medical marijuana law to profit from large-scale drug sales.

  • Improving State Juvenile Justice Systems and More -- News Roundup
    • Why Are All the Black Kids in Special Ed?
      Minority students (and especially Black students) are disproportionately diagnosed with disabilities and placed in special education or lowest-level courses. The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia makes the case for seeking a second opinion.
    • Lasting Drop in Smoking, Delinquency, Drug Use
      Study shows that tenth-graders in towns using Communities That Care, a prevention system developed by University of Washington researchers, are less likely to have tried drinking or smoking compared with teens living in towns that had not adopted the system. Delinquent behavior, including stealing, vandalism and physical fights, decreased too.
    • Kids-for-Cash Sentencing Set for November 4
      Robert J. Powell, the former co-owner of two juvenile detention centers in Pennsylvania who testified he paid kickbacks to two judges, may serve 21 to 27 months in prison for failing to report a felony and abetting tax evasion.

  • Fit for Trial in the Juvenile Justice System (and More) -- News Roundup

  • Your Input Needed: Building an Online Community Supporting Evidence-Based Practices and Quality Improvement in Behavioral Healthcare

    adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_construction-signsEvidence-based practices and how to implement them is a priority for many substance abuse treatment organizations, including those treating adolescent.  

    To help with this priority, NIATx has launched a new project, the Building a Sustainable National Infrastructure for Research and Dissemination of Improved Behavioral Treatment Practices, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The informal title for this project is “The Network of Practice.”

    Its aim? To build an internet-based community focused on adopting evidence-based clinical practices. The resulting tool may include features such as virtual cafes, a step-by-step guide to implementing an evidence-based practice, a library of practical information, and a cost-benefit calculator.

    More than 500 organizations have completed an online survey for this project (and that number is growing). You can still complete the survey (which takes about five minutes to complete) by visiting:

    For more information about the project or to get involved in its development, please contact:

    Anna Wheelock at or
    Kim Johnson at

  • Survey of Police Chiefs Shows Need for Police Training to Work with Youth

    juvenile-justice-system_cops-lecturing-handcuffed-youth-on-streets-ChicagoAt a  training of Massachusetts MBTA Training Academy recruits in July, a police officer said to the group, “What I am telling you today we did not get when we were in the academy. Now you’ve got a leg up in dealing with kids by knowing this stuff.” The officer had been trained in a train-the-trainer capacity building effort by Strategies for Youth. “Knowing this stuff about kids makes working with them easier and less stressful and believe me, they can be stressful,” he told the recruits.

    The newly released findings of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) survey on juvenile justice and youth training needs suggest this officer is both right and unusual. Training in best practices for working with youth is helpful, but remains the exception to the rule across the country.

    The IACP’s survey, the “2011 Juvenile Justice Training Needs Assessment,” found that police chiefs want training but lack funding and agency resources to provide it to their officers.  They wanted their officers to have the skills to work with the increasing and challenging demands posed by youth. The top 5 areas in which chiefs want their officers trained are:

    1. substance abuse;
    2. physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse;
    3. dealing with chronic juvenile offenders;
    4. bullying/cyber-bullying; and
    5. gangs. Other topics included internet offending, runaways, and school safety. 

    The survey is notable for the unusually large size of the sample: over 672 law enforcement officers in 404 law enforcement agencies in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The agencies represented the gamut of departments, from small and rural, to suburban, to large and urban; 77% were police departments.  

    Demands on  Law Enforcement:

    While officers have always dealt with children and youth, arguably today they are asked to deal with them more than ever. Cuts in youth serving programs, the increased placement of officers in schools, and the common reaction of calling the police for any youth-related issue, combine to make police the first responders to incidents involving youth. 

  • Less Scared Straight, More 'Talk Therapy'

    juvenile-justice-system_teen-staring-through-chainlink-fenceThe other day I watched the A&E program Beyond Scared Straight for the first time. I'm familiar with the original 1979 Academy Award winning documentary, Scared Straight!, that inspired many states across the country to institute similar programs in an attempt to deter juveniles already involved with the criminal justice on some level from a future life of imprisonment. These kids are taken on a tour of a jail and introduced to prisoners who recount horror stories of their time behind bars. The hope is that once given a taste of the grim reality of prison life, these 13-19 year old kids will want to go "straight" and avoid incarceration. Executive produced by the director of the original, Arnold Shapiro, this new "reality" series is the highest rated original program in A&E's history.

    The show has been met with harsh criticism. In an op-ed for the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, director of Justice Programs at Governor's Office for Children and Families in Georgia, Joe Vignati wrote: "The scared straight approach is an inappropriate and unacceptable means for disciplining children. This approach has been shown to cause short -and long-term harm and actually INCREASES the likelihood of re-offending among some participants."

    A January op-ed for the Baltimore Sun titled "Scary -- and ineffective," written by Laurie O. Robinson and Jeff Slowikowski, two Justice Department officials, sites research that says those who participated in a scared straight type program were 28 percent more likely to offend than youths who had not participated. The Campaign for Youth Justice is calling for the show to be pulled from A&E.

    In the episode I saw, there was a young man named Brandon who lived in Detroit. Brandon sported a tattoo on his right forearm of a skull and the word "Heartless" underneath and said he lived by the creed "MHD," which stands for "Money, Hoes, Drugs." Money brings women, and drugs bring money, Brandon explained. The worst he had ever done, he admitted, was shoot someone.

  • The Effects of Drug Testing in Schools (and More) -- News Roundup
    • Health and Human Services Awards $40 million
      Grants were awarded to 39 state agencies, community health centers, school-based organizations and non-profit groups in 23 states for efforts to identify and enroll children eligible for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. (Hat tip to Rob Vincent.)
    • Study Finds Drug Testing in Schools Has Only Small Effect in Reducing Substance Use
      “This study sends a cautionary note to the estimated 20 percent or more of high schools that have joined the drug testing bandwagon,” study co-author Dan Romer said in a news release. “We find little evidence that this approach to minimizing teen drug use is having the deterrent effect its proponents claim.”
    • Fact Sheet: Understanding Child Welfare and the Courts
      Families involved with the child welfare system may have some involvement with the court—in most States, this occurs in a family or juvenile court. This fact sheet is designed to serve as a quick guide to the general types of court hearings that a family may experience, and it traces the steps of a child welfare case through the court system. (H/t Paul Savery.)

  • Teens Only Listen to One Person…Themselves: How a Child’s Own Reasons for Change Lead to the Most Success

    adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_teens-on-the-street[Please note: Reclaiming Futures and its partners are not endorsing or promoting the author's book. We are reprinting his column because it does a good job of showing how the principles of Motivational Interviewing (an evidence-based practice) can be used to help youth make positive changes. Though written for parents with teens using alcohol and drugs, it also applies to juvenile probation officers and other professionals who work with youth to help them change their behavior -- all sorts of behavior, not just alcohol and drug use. --Ed.]

    Imagine you are in the Emergency Department (ED) with your 16-year-old daughter, who was brought in for her second episode of alcohol poisoning in six months. The doctor is about to discharge her because, medically, she’s fine, but you know she’s going to go right back to heavy drinking if you don’t do something. You and your husband feel you’ve tried everything to help your daughter, but you also believe that there has to be some way to take advantage of this dire emergency to motivate her to get into treatment and to stop drinking.

    I’ve seen hundreds of families in this very situation and their dilemma is always the same: they all want to influence their child to get on a better path, but they don’t know that there is a quick, easy and scientifically-proven way of getting the job done. The approach I’m referring to is called “Instant Influence.” It’s based on Motivational Interviewing (which in its briefest form has been shown to reduce substance use among adolescents and young adults seen in the ED) and my 20 years of experience motivating some of the most resistant-to-change substance abusing children and adults in a wide variety of settings.

    People tend to only listen to one person — themselves. And, as a result, they’re only influenced by one person … again — themselves. So, as frustrating as this may be for a parent who would like to sternly say, “You have to stop!” and to have that be enough, the real trick to motivating someone is to get them to convince themselves to make a change for their own good reasons.

  • "Beyond 'Scared Straight'" Program “Incoherent” According to Conflict Management Expert

    juvenile-justice-reform_beyond-scared-straight-North-CarolinaThe premier episode of the new season of the controversial reality show, “Beyond Scared Straight,” adheres to the themes that made it A&E’s most watched show: a small group of at-risk youth spend the day in prison where they are yelled at, intimidated and humiliated by sheriff’s deputies and inmates alike. The screaming and threats of prison rape are followed by emotional conversations with the inmates as they describe to the teens where they went wrong and how the teens can avoid the same fate.

    The episode features Mecklenburg County, N.C.’s “Reality Program,” created by Sheriff Daniel “Chipp” Bailey.

    “Our Reality Program stresses education, not intimidation,” Bailey is quoted as saying on the program’s website.

    According to the website, the mission of the program is to “provide the community with a program which will help educate young people about the long-term effects of participating in criminal activity.”

    After watching the show, non-violent communication and conflict management expert Dr. Heather Pincock was baffled.

    “There is no coherent approach in the diversion program,” Pincock said. “Most of the episode they [the deputies] were there to intimidate the youth or break the youth down or humiliate them. Then they suddenly start saying. ‘We’re your friends, we’re here to help you.’ There are very mixed messages around their role. It doesn’t make any sense.”

  • Poll: Drug Abuse a Top Health Concern for Kids (and More) -- News Roundup
    • Selecting and Implementing Evidence-Based Practices
      Treatment funding is being increasingly tied to outcomes, a trend expected to continue as the integration of behavioral health with primary care moves forward in the context of healthcare reform. Learn more from the Addiction Technology Transfer Center of New England about achieving desired client outcomes in part 2 of a 3-part series.
    • Poll: Drug Abuse Equals Childhood Obesity as Top Health Concern for Kids
      On Aug. 15th, the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital released the results of its 5th annual national poll, in which Americans rated drug abuse and childhood obesity as the number one health concern for our nation’s youth. This is important news because it shows that drug abuse is now on the radar screens of people throughout the country and that Americans are very concerned about this issue. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America issues a statement in response. (Hat tip to Christa Myers.)

  • "Beyond 'Scared Straight'" Returns to Promote a Discredited Juvenile Justice Intervention (Roundup)

    juvenile-justice-system_scared-teenMuch to our dismay, A&E Network will air a second season of "Beyond 'Scared Straight,'" its hit reality-TV show, beginning August 18, 2011. As you may know, the program exposes a group of teens who've committed offenses to a group of adult prison inmates who scream, yell, and talk tough, in an effort to convince the kids to "going straight." 

    There's a lot of problems with this approach, but the chief one is this: it doesn't work. There's not a single piece of independent research that indicates it's effective, and quite a lot that shows it isn't -- in fact, an overview of nine studies shows that youth who participate are more likely to commit crimes than kids who don't.  That may make for great television, but it's not good for the kids or our communities. 

    We've given a lot of coverage in the past to why "Scared Straight" is a bad idea, so I'll just link to it here:

    Photo: anna gutermuth under a Creative Commons license.

  • VIDEO: Dr. Howard Liddle on Engaging and Changing Troubled Youth

    adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_Howard-LiddleBack in 1974, sociologist Robert Martinson reviewed the research and concluded that "nothing worked" when it came to rehabilitating offenders. Then, in the mid-1990s, when fears about rising juvenile crime rates were at their peak, John DiIulio of Princeton predicted an onslaught of teens in trouble with the law, whom he dubbed "super-predators," creating a toxic political environment for those who knew from experience that youth in the justice system were overwhelmingly capable of positive change and rehabilitation. 

    Martinson and DiIulio were wrong. Most importantly, Martinson's research was flawed, and he admitted his errors in print. [For this history and much more, see "Juvenile Justice: Lessons for a New Era."]

    But the myths remain -- and they get in the way of our ability to take advantage of new, evidence-based treatments that are exceptionally effective.

    So argues Dr. Howard Liddle, of the Center for Treatment Research on Adolescent Drug Abuse (CTRADA) at the University of Miami, in the brief video below:

  • How to Find Effective Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment + How to Train Treatment Counselors

    adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_cool-stuff-neon-signHere's four great resources for finding effective adolescent substance abuse treatment programs (emphasis on residential), plus one on how to train clinicians in evidence-based treatment:

    1. How to Find the Best Drug Treatment for Teens: A Guide for Parents -- This guide from TIME magazine is excellent to pass on to parents struggling with their teens' drug and alcohol issues. Among other things, it includes a link to Time to Get Help, an excellent website developed and hosted by The Partnership at (I'm glad TIME got the word about about this -- while Steve Pasierb, CEO of the Partnership, did a post for us about Time to Get Help way back in December, there's no denying that TIME gets a little more traffic than we do. And I was unaware of the next two resources before I read the TIME article.)
    2. Questions for Parents to Ask Before Entering a Youth in a Residential Program - these questions were developed by the Federal Trade Commission and apply to all sorts of residential programs, not just alcohol and drug treatment programs.
    3. Ten Important Questions to Ask Teen Substance Abuse Treatment Program
    4. Questions for Youth to Ask When Entering a Treatment Program - Imagine a set of questions youth might ask themselves and others before agreeing to enter a residential program. Questions that could help them adjust to treatment faster.  Now, you don't have to imagine, thanks to the Building Bridges Initiative of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  You can see similar tip sheets for parents and recommendations for treatment providers and adolescent substance abuse policy officials at the state level on how to use and disseminate them here. 
    5. Strategies for Training Counselors in Evidence-Based Treatments - What's the most effective way to insure that your clinicians learn to implement evidence-based treatments?  Learn the answer(s) in this article, authored by Steve Martino of Yale University School of Medicine, which appeared in the December 2010 issue of Addiction Science and Clnical Practice. (Hat tip to Paul Savery.)


    NOTE: This is an updated  version of a post that appeared in February 2011. 

    Photo: hometownzero.

  • Programs that Work for Juveniles & Adults in the Justice System, and Crime Victims
    by BENJAMIN CHAMBERS for a credible source of information about what programs work for teens in the juvenile justice system, adults in the criminal justice system, or for crime victims?

    Your search just got a little easier. Today, the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice launched a new website,,designed to be a "one-stop shop for programs that work in criminal justice, juvenile justice and crime victim services."

    According to the OJP press release, the site "includes information on more than 150 justice-related programs and assigns "evidence ratings – effective, promising, or no effects — to indicate whether there is evidence from research that a program achieves its goals." And its searchable database includes programs for "corrections, courts, crime prevention, substance abuse, juveniles, law enforcement, technology and forensics, and victims."

    The juvenile section of the site is divided into four categories:

    • Child Protection/Health
    • Children Exposed to Violence
    • Delinquency Prevention
    • Risk and Protective Factors

    Looking for substance treatments for youth in the juvenile justice system? Check under "Child Protection/Health.

    Besides dividing program results into "effective," "promising," and "no effect," you'll also see common -- and interesting -- questions, linked to answers.

    My favorite was, "What is the national juvenile recidividism rate?" I've been in the field long enough now that it's been years since I've wondered (not seeing the forest for the trees). So I clicked on the answer and learned that there is no official national statistic for juvenile recidivism, because of the wide variability of juvenile justice systems from state to state.

  • Creating a Holistic Approach to Intervening with Juveniles in the Justice System

    juvenile-justice-reform_hands-coming-together[Testimony given April 2011 by John Roman, Ph.D., before the Council of the District of Columbia Committee on Human Services. Reprinted with permission from The Urban Institute. -Ed.]

    Good morning. My name is John Roman and I am a senior fellow in the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where I have studied innovative crime and justice policies and programs for more than a decade. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today about integrating innovative practices to better serve juveniles involved with the justice system and to improve public safety.

    Using Lessons from Recent Innovations to Create a Holistic Approach to Intervening with Juveniles

    Over the last decade, across the United States, there has been tremendous interest in reforming juvenile and criminal justice systems to both improve their performance and to improve public safety by reducing crime and delinquency among adjudicated youth. What I would like to describe today is how those innovative practices—the Reclaiming Futures initiative, drugs courts and other alternatives to commitment, and Project HOPE—might be integrated to maximize their effectiveness and minimize costs.

    In the first phase of Reclaiming Futures, begun in 2002, multidisciplinary teams in ten communities worked collaboratively to enhance the availability and quality of substance abuse interventions for youth involved with the juvenile justice system. All ten projects relied on judicial leadership, court/community collaborations, interorganizational performance management, enhanced treatment quality, and multiagency partnerships to improve their systems of care for youthful offenders with substance abuse problems.

  • Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare Proceedings on Film for Research and Training, and More: A Roundup

  • NEW DATE - Webinar: Why and How to Work with Families of Justice-Involved Adolescents

    I doubt that there is an influence on the development of antisocial behavior among young people that is stronger than that of the family. (Steinberg, 2000)[i]

    The most successful programs are those that emphasize family interactions, probably because they focus on providing skills to the adults who are in the best position to supervise and train the child. (Greenwood, 2009)[ii]
    adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_compassThanks to many independent reviews, consensus documents, and meta-analyses of the evidence base on how to work effectively with juvenile offenders, there are numerous signs that the specialty has achieved a certain level of maturity.[iii]
    A significant part of this new generation of work in the field pertains to the accumulated and rigorously derived findings about the role of families, family relationships, and parenting practices as key aspects of the creation and maintenance,[iv] as well as the reversal of antisocial and other problem behaviors.[v]
    For some time, we’ve “known” that it can be beneficial to involve families more substantively and consistently in working with juvenile offenders, as evidenced in this quote: “In this era of an increased focus on public sector accountability, one of the important questions posed to policymakers and elected officials may be ‘Why are you waiting so long to support families?’ ” (Duchnowski, Hall, Kutash, & Friedman, 1998[vi]).

  • Motivational Interviewing: An Introduction to an Evidence-Based Program and Implementation Process
    adolescent-substance-absue-treatment_ATTC-logoThe Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network hosts regular "iTrainings" in the field of addictions treatment and recovery services. Here's one you won't want to miss. "Motivational Interviewing" is a therapeutic technique that uses research on how people make behavior changes to help counselors be significantly more effective with resistant clients -- even those struggling with alcohol and drug use.
    Adapted from the announcement:
    Motivational Interviewing: An Introduction to an Evidence-Based Program and Implementation Process
    April 21, 2011
    11 am - 12:30 pm PST / 2pm - 3:30 pm EST
    Hosted by: Northeast ATTC
    This webinar will provide attendees with a brief introduction to Motivational Interviewing, its core concepts and treatment approach. In addition, strategies to insure the successful implementation of this evidence-based chemical dependency treatment model will be discussed. A question and answer period will accompany this presentation to allow participants an opportunity to gain further clarification regarding the model and a program implementation process.

  • Evidence-Based Practices for Children Exposed to Violence: A Selection from Federal Databases - and More

    juvenile-justice-system_peace-signSeems like youth violence -- and ways to address it -- is all over the news right now.

    1. Research: Children Exposed to or Victims of Violence More Likely to Become Violent.
    2. This publication from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services "summarizes findings from federal reviews of research studies and program evaluations to help communities improve outcomes for children exposed to violence. It cites evidence-based practices that practitioners and policymakers can use to implement prevention services and activities for these children." (H/t to

  • For Youth Removed From Home, Is it Helpful to Meet with Parents Not in Recovery?

    juvenile-justice-system_question-mark-spray-paintedRecently, I posted a question from a juvenile justice professional about what the research said about possible harm done to youth who visit their family members in juvenile detention or prison. We got an answer to that one, but it raised a new question from someone else:

    What about children who are removed by either family or the state from parents who are addicted to drugs and have previously exposed the child to unsafe situations as well as neglect? 

    Is it beneficial or harmful to the child for the absent parent who is addicted to substances to allow visitation, knowing that the parent will be intoxicated at the time of visitation?  And does age make a difference?  Is it different for a 5 year old vs a 12 year old? 

    Any info would be appreciated.

    What do you think? Anyone know what the research says about this?  Please share, and I'll post what I learn -- leave a comment, drop me an email, or start a discussion in our LinkedIn group, "Juvenile Justice Reform and Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment."