Supporting Systems Change in Reclaiming Futures Communities
Reclaiming Futures has helped communities break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime for 10 years. But how exactly does Reclaiming Futures accomplish systems change? We sat down with National Executive Director Susan Richardson to learn about the model and benefits of becoming a Reclaiming Futures site.
Lori Howell (LH): What makes Reclaiming Futures successful in a variety of communities across the country?
Susan J. Richardson (SJR): Reclaiming Futures offers powerful tools and resources to communities helping teens overcome drugs, alcohol and crime. We work to improve drug, alcohol and mental health treatment and connect teens to positive activities and caring adults.
LH: That sounds like quite a feat! How do you accomplish this?
SJR: Reclaiming Futures unites juvenile courts, probation, adolescent substance abuse treatment, teen mental health treatment and the community to reclaim youth.
LH: Susan, please tell us about the Reclaiming Futures model.
SJR: The proven six-step Reclaiming Futures model unites juvenile courts, probation, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and the community to reclaim youth. Together this leadership team works for change to improve drug, alcohol and mental health treatment for teens and connect them to positive activities and caring adults.
LH: Please tell me more about the leadership team and how it functions.
SJR: The Reclaiming Futures Change Teams are organized into five groups: Judicial, Juvenile Justice, Substance Abuse Treatment, Community, and Project Director Fellowships. This change team also represents their local community at national Reclaiming Futures meetings. In addition to regular conference calls, each Fellowship has an annual meeting with their colleagues. Both the calls and meetings provide opportunities for Fellows to discuss implementation issues, professional topics, and seek the advice and support of colleagues as they work to implement the Reclaiming Futures model at the local level.
LH: How does a community know if it is a good candidate for Reclaiming Futures?
SJR: We provide a Community Readiness Assessment, an easy-to-use questionnaire covering each step in the Reclaiming Futures model. The Assessment supports the tenets of Reclaiming Futures, such as community-directed engagement and communications. Completion of this tool provides a solid foundation for teamwork to implement Reclaiming Futures.
We also offer learning collaboratives, site coaches, biennial leadership institutes, online tool kits and communications services to support local implementation.
Please call 503-725-8911 or email email@example.com to learn more about bringing Reclaiming Futures to your community.
Lori Howell regularly contributes articles about juvenile justice reform and adolescent substance abuse treatment to ReclaimingFutures.org. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in French from Seattle University. Lori works as an account director at Prichard Communications.