Blog: Adolescent Mental Health

Why Schools Over-Discipline Children With Disabilities; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

Why Schools Over-Discipline Children With Disabilities (The Atlantic)
As the U.S. Department of Education celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the high rate at which special-needs students are disciplined raises questions about the current state of equal access to services like public education. Some researchers and advocates refer to this issue as "the discipline gap," and data from the Department of Education finds that the disparity increases when race is added.

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves JJDPA Update; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves JJDPA Update (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange)
The Senate Judiciary Committee has now approved the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2015, a bipartisan bill which has the ability to increase protections for youth within the criminal justice system. The legislation would update the law to reflect new understandings of best practices in juvenile justice.

3 Reasons to Take Our Survey

Help us continue to improve our work by filling out our new positioning survey!We need your help

As Reclaiming Futures heads into its 15th year of service, we’re seeking your help to identify new opportunities to grow this initiative and better serve vulnerable, young populations. We hope you’ll contribute your input in our new survey to help us understand where Reclaiming Futures is doing well, and where we can get better.

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The 16-question survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. At the end of the survey, you'll have the opportunity to be entered to win a $50 Amazon, Visa or Starbucks gift card (winner's choice).

The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: New Report Calls for Better Treatment for Girls

The findings are staggering, if not disturbing.r4g_meme_m4

  • 31 percent of girls in the juvenile justice system had been sexually abused, four times higher than the rate of boys.
  • 45 percent of girls in the system have an adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) of five or more, placing them at a much higher risk for chronic health issues.

A new report out by Rights4Girls, in conjunction with the Ms. Foundation for Women and the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty & Inequality, reveals how the “Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline” strikes girls especially hard. It concludes that there is a direct cause-and-effect connection between the sexual abuse of girls at a young age and their involvement in the juvenile justice system.

History of Abuse Seen in Many Girls in Juvenile System; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

History of Abuse Seen in Many Girls in Juvenile System (The New York Times)
A report released on Thursday - a rare examination of girls in the juvenile justice system - finds that as many as 80 percent of girls in state systems have a history of sexual or physical abuse, and that sexual abuse is among the primary predictors of girls’ involvement with systems.  The report also finds that systems lack resources to identity or treat these common issues, and suggests ways to approach needed reform.

Apply Now for the 2015 Multi-System Integration Certificate Program

Now through August 21, 2015, The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) at Georgetown University‘s McCourt School of Public Policy is accepting applications for its 2015 Multi-System Integration Certificate Program.

The program is designed to support local jurisdictions’ efforts to improve outcomes for youth who have been involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems (also known as “crossover youth”) by implementing integrated, multi-disciplinary solutions.

Maltreatment of Incarcerated Youth Still a Problem, Report Finds; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

Maltreatment of Incarcerated Youth Still a Problem, Report Finds (Philanthropy News Digest)
A report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that, despite increased attention to the detrimental conditions of juvenile corrections institutions, incarcerated youth continue to be subjected to abusive, systematic maltreatment.

State Supreme Court Ruling Seals Juvenile Records; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

Clinical Conversations about Cannabis: Using Elicit-Provide-Elicit (ATTC Network)
Given the current climate of conflicting messages and changing policy related to marijuana, counselors need both sources of reliable information and effective strategies to guide their interventions as they talk with clients about this controversial subject. The purpose of this article is to describe how Motivational Interviewing (MI) strategies can inform clinical conversations about cannabis use, with a focus on the Elicit – Provide – Elicit (EPE) model as one potentially useful tool.

Save the Date: Leadership Institute Live-streaming on June 23rd

blog pic for live-streamWe look forward to bringing the Reclaiming Futures community together next week for our annual Leadership Institute! The annual conference provides the opportunity for juvenile justice and adolescent mental health and substance use treatment colleagues to engage in a robust discussion of critical topics, as well as an opportunity for participants to help one another successfully adopt, implement and sustain Reclaiming Futures at the local level.

2015 Leadership Institute will be held on June 23-24 in La Jolla, California, and this year's theme is: “Public Health and Justice: A Partnership to Promote Equity and Well-Being for Youth and Families."

Can't make it to Leadership Institute this year? On Tuesday, June 23rd three Leadership Institute plenary sessions will be live-streaming on and on

Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events

opportunityBelow you’ll find a selection of the latest grants, jobs, webinars and events posted to our Opportunity Board. Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. We encourage you to browse and post!

Preventing Children with Disabilities from Entering the Juvenile Justice System

ndrnApproximately 65 - 70 percent of young people in the justice system meet the criteria for a disability. During time in the system, many children are deprived of the services they need for healthy growth, education, and development—something that negatively impacts children with disabilities more seriously than others.

The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) released a report this month with recommendations on preventing disproportionate placement and inadequate treatment of children with disabilities in the system: “Orphanages, Training Schools, Reform Schools and Now This?”

Assessing Trauma in Kids Just Got A Little Better; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

Assessing Trauma in Kids Just Got A Little Better (Psych Central)
A research team at Case Western Reserve University  proposed and tested a new method to assess trauma in youth. It would be especially relevant for assessment within the juvenile justice system.

New Study Highlights Lack of Treatment for Youth with Mental Health Problems

The New England Journal of Medicine has released a study with results emphasizing the lack of treatment for seriously ill youth in the U.S. Titled “Trends in Mental Health Care Among Children and Adolescents,” the study used data on 53,622 youth between the ages of 6 and 17 years to analyze mental health services over time.

The main finding of the study revealed that while the number of young people with mental health problems decreased—and the rate of treatment increased—the most seriously ill still fail to get the help they need.

Possible Implications for Public Schools: Addressing Complex Trauma

The Washington Post,  LA Times and Aces Too High posted stories regarding the lawsuit filed against the Compton School district for allegedly not responding to students’ learning and mental health needs specifically related to complex trauma. The statutory framework for this lawsuit is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and American Disabilities Act. The Washington Post article provides the actual lawsuit and all three articles offer synopses of the trauma experienced by youth named in the lawsuit.  The lawsuit describes and alleges that these young people experienced numerous traumas both on and off school propfile0001681273132erty such as homelessness, physical and sexual abuse, violence, witnessing shootings, unsafe school conditions, and familial behavioral health issues.  Three Compton School district teachers are named for the prosecution alleging that their requests to provide youth with the appropriate behavioral health services were ignored by the district.  For those of us that work in the juvenile justice or behavioral health fields these stories seem all too common. Decades of research and practice have shown that trauma has profound negative effects on an individual’s overall health (e.g., neurological, biological, psychological, social).  One of the more well-known studies, which is being used to support this lawsuit, is the Adverse Childhood Experiences ( ACEs) study. The major findings from the ACEs study show trauma can impair an individual’s social, emotional, and cognitive abilities and functioning.

But, what is complex trauma?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

MentalHealthimage (1)For over 65 years, Mental Health Awareness Month has provided the opportunity for Mental Health America (MHA) and related organizations to conduct awareness activities across the country.

In order to bring awareness to the importance of addressing mental health early on, the 2015 theme is "B4Stage4." MHA chose this theme in an effort to change the way mental health is thought of, and to encourage prevention and intervention techniques as early as Stage 1.

House Proposal Would Eliminate Key JJDPA Funding; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

House Proposal Would Eliminate Key JJDPA Funding (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange)
This past week the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Sciences & Related Agencies, released their FY'16 Appropriations proposal, causing alarm in the juvenile justice community. Juvenile justice funding that goes to states, under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, would be eliminated under the new proposal. For more information you can  check out this JJIE story by Gary Gately,  and also follow National Juvenile Justice Network for updates.

How to Support National Prevention Week 2015: “The Voice of One, the Power of All”

NPW15This week is National Prevention Week 2015 and the theme is “The Voice of One, the Power of All,” emphasizing the importance of communities and individuals coming together to help each other lead healthy, productive lives.

Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Prevention Week is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of substance abuse and mental health issues that brings individuals, organizations, coalitions, states, and communities together through local events to educate the public about the importance of preventing substance abuse and mental disorders before they occur.

How Curfews Have Changed Through History; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • How Curfews Have Changed Through History (TIME)
    In light of recent events in Baltimore, Lily Rothman, Archive Editor of, examines the historical reasons for and effects of curfews, and why emergency curfews should be thought of differently than permanent juvenile curfews

Recovery Support Services for Youth and Families

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and the April issue of The Atlantic features a story titled - “The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous” by Gabriella Glaser. The article sheds light on the recovery support service of 12-step programs through interviews with research and practice experts and personal testimonials.