New director leads Reclaiming Futures office in North Carolina
Jessica A. Jones to Lead Reclaiming Futures Office in North Carolina
Public-Private partnership expands proven treatment model in state juvenile courts
RALEIGH, N.C. (December 19, 2011) – Jessica A. Jones began work Thursday, December 15 at the North Carolina Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (DJJDP) as director of the new North Carolina office of Reclaiming Futures, a national organization that improves drug and alcohol treatment for young people in trouble with the law. Jones formerly served as research and evaluation director at the Down East Partnership for Children in Rocky Mount, N.C.
“We are delighted to welcome Jessica to this position,” said Secretary Linda Hayes of the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. “She brings the right set of management and data research skills to take Reclaiming Futures to statewide success and help as many teens as possible in North Carolina.”
“I am excited to join Reclaiming Futures and the North Carolina Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to help teens caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime,” said Jones. “North Carolina’s six existing Reclaiming Futures communities have made a positive difference in the lives of our state’s youth, and I look forward to working with them to spread the Reclaiming Futures model across the state.”
Jones will lead all aspects of the project, including strategic planning and implementation in addition to developing the capacity for four additional Reclaiming Futures sites in North Carolina. Her role includes project management and the duplication of the successful services of the national program office.
The nationally evaluated six-part Reclaiming Futures model – originally created with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – provides alcohol and drug screening for all teens who enter the juvenile justice system, then develops a treatment plan and connects them with employers, mentors and volunteer service projects. An evaluation by the Urban Institute and the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children found that the 10 Reclaiming Futures pilot communities reported significant improvements in juvenile justice and drug and alcohol treatment.
In 2008, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust supported the adoption of Reclaiming Futures by six North Carolina communities in the following counties: Chatham, Cumberland, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Orange, Rowan, Surry, and Yadkin.
In September 2011, Governor Beverly Perdue announced the statewide expansion of Reclaiming Futures through a partnership among the North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Governors Crime Commission, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and The Duke Endowment. The two foundations are contributing $1.1 million of the $1.28 million in funding over two years to pay for four more pilot sites and eventual statewide adoption.
“We are pleased to have Jessica heading up the new North Carolina statewide office,” added Susan Richardson, national executive director of Reclaiming Futures. “Her experience with evaluating programs will be incredibly useful as we expand our program. We would also like to thank our agency and foundation partners for helping us open new sites and reach more kids.”
Since the arrival of Reclaiming Futures in North Carolina three years ago, over 6,800 teens have received appropriate assessment for substance abuse and mental health problems upon entering the system in North Carolina. This helps judges understand the treatment needs of young people appearing in their courts. Research confirms that Reclaiming Futures sites significantly increase the percentage of youth successfully entering treatment (approximately 30% to 78%). Teens who are successful in treatment are far more likely to turn their lives around.
About Reclaiming Futures: Reclaiming Futures was established by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to offer a new approach to helping teenagers caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime. It now operates in 29 communities in 17 states. Its funding partners include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the federal government’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and The Duke Endowment. The national office of Reclaiming Futures is housed in the Regional Research Institute of the School of Social Work at Portland State University. To learn more, visit www.reclaimingfutures.org
Liz Wu is a Digital Accounts Manager at Prichard Communications, where she oversees digital outreach for Reclaiming Futures and edits Reclaiming Futures Every Day. Before joining the Prichard team, Liz established the West Coast communications presence for the New America Foundation, where she managed all media relations, event planning and social media outreach for their 6 domestic policy programs. Liz received a B.A. in both Peace and Conflict Studies and German from the University of California at Berkeley.