Top 6-10 Juvenile Justice Blog Posts | 2012

We've counted down the top 25, 20 and 15 juvenile justice blog posts from 2012. Here are 6-10:
10. Missouri’s Unique Approach To Rehabilitating Teens in Juvenile Justice System
Missouri is changing the way it approaches rehabilitating teens in its juvenile justice system, and it’s working. With a focus on therapy and education rather than punishment, the state closed its training schools and large facilities with minimal schooling in the early 1980s.
9. Stop the Trauma. Start the Healing: A Latino Health Context
Latino children are the fastest growing population in the United States and over half will end up incarcerated, jobless, or dead at a young age. Recognizing this, the National Compadres Network released a brown paper explaining how transformational based healing can disrupt this cycle and improve health outcomes for Latino children.

Homeboy Industries: Changing Lives and Creating Opportunity in East Los Angeles

I really wanted to attend the Homeboy Industries and teen substance abuse interventions panel at JMATE, but didn't make it to the session. So I missed learning about Homeboy Industries' Project STAR program that works with recently released juveniles with a history of the substance abuse. They offer in-house, trauma-informed treatment that is sensitive to the unique needs of formerly gang-involved youth. Mental health services are a central part of the program, as are job trainings and academic and life skills classes.
Started as an alternative to gang violence in Los Angeles, Homeboy Industries trains and hires at-risk, recently released and former gang involved young people with the goals of transforming troubled youth into productive members of their communities. They provide free counseling, education, tattoo removal, substance abuse and addiction assistance, job training and job placement services.
Fast Company has a terrific piece on Homeboy Industries, its founder (Father Gregory Boyle) and the key people in charge of running the nonprofit.
Father Gregory Boyle moved to East Los Angeles 26 years ago, and began walking and biking the neighborhood. He became friendly with the community and even visited gang members in the hospital. And one day, he realized that he could help residents escape the pervasive cycle of violence.

JMATE 2012: Day 3 Takeaways

Whew, what an incredible (and jam-packed) three days! Here are our very quick takeaways from the final day of the Joint Meeting on Adolescent Treatment Effectiveness 2012:
Susan Richardson, National Executive Director, Reclaiming Futures

  • Youth consume more than 90% of their alcohol by binge drinking. And unfortunately, 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die annually as a result of binge drinking.
  • Only half of kids are asked about or screened for drinking and smoking when they visit a physician. 
  • When screening for substance use, the best questions to ask are about frequency of drinking and friends' drinking habits.
  • When working with at-risk kids, it's critical to take a hard look at an substance an adolescent has used more than five times.
  • The Longitudinal Pathways to Desistance Study is an important resource for those working with seriously offending teens.
  • A substance use disorder changes the relationship between risk markers and gainful activity over 6 years (mental health diagnoses do not). A substance use disorder makes things much worse.
  • Treatment provides a positive effect on marijuana use, offending and alcohol consumption for a period of time IF treatment continues for a sufficient length of time.

Liz Wu, Blog Editor, Reclaiming Futures

JMATE 2012: How Can Research Inform Development of More Collaborative and Integrated Care Models for Youth and Families?

Half of all psychiatric disorders occur before the age of fifteen. Most childhood onset psychiatric disorders increase the risk of developing early onset substance use disorder. And substance use increases the risk of developing psychiatric disorders.
So, what can treatment providers do to improve the care of kids who are using substances and may have (or be developing) psychiatric disorders?
According to Dr. Paula Riggs (director, Division of Substance Dependence, University of Colorado's School of Medicine), treatment providers need to compile a detailed history of substance use disorders for the child and his/her family. The history should include:

  • school risk factors (such as poor academic performance and substance use among the child’s friends);
  • attention to any substance used more than five times;
  • onset of substance use;
  • the progression to current substance use; and
  • frequency of use.

Dr. Riggs explained that this history is vital to understanding the cause of cause and risk of substance use and dependence. By gathering and analyzing this information, treatment providers will be able to provide a good diagnosis, which should drive treatment. “We shouldn’t be treating things unless we know what we are treating,” she said.

JMATE 2012: Bad Kids or Hurt Kids? The Compelling Need for a Trauma Informed Juvenile Justice System

Starting in 2010, there's been a policy shift around drugs, addiction and treatment, and it could not have come at a better time, explained David Mineta (deputy director of demand reduction at ONDCP) at yesterday's JMATE plenary. More Americans are dying from drug use than from any other kind of accidental death, including car crashes and gun wounds. "This is a public health problem," stressed Mineta, before explaining that the ONDCP is prioritizing prevention, treatment and diversion programs in its forthcoming 2012 national drug control strategy. [editor's note: we'll share this as soon as it's out]
"Addiction can be overcome and recovery is absolutely possible," said Mineta. "And we need to make sure our young people have the brightest future possible. It's personal for us."  
Following Mineta's moving keynote on addiction and prevention measures, Kris Buffington addressed the issue of trauma and its impact on adolescents.
Buffington explained that traumatic experinces can substantially impact biological, psychological and social development in youth. And unfortunately, symptoms associated with exposure to traumatic events are often misinterpreted as indicating a young person has a behavioral disorder. 

Live Blogging JMATE: The Juvenile Drug Court and Reclaiming Futures Models

This afternoon we heard about an upcoming evaluation of six Reclaiming Futures juvenile drug courts. Bridget Ruiz, a technical expert on adolescents from JBS International, chaired the session and opened the panel presentation with a discussion of the history of juvenile drug courts and Reclaiming Futures and also outlined the important elements of each approach.
“Evidence shows that combining the two models has been effective in helping young people, “ said Ruiz, who formerly was an associate professor at the University of Arizona.
Erika Ostlie, a senior policy associate at Carnevale Associates, gave an overview of an upcoming evaluation supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) of six federally funded Reclaiming Futures sites.

JMATE 2012: Day 1 Takeaways

Well, JMATE is off to a great start! Day one is over and we're all looking forward to day two. Here are our takeaways from today:
Jim Carlton, Deputy Director, Reclaiming Futures

  • Funding for prevention has been steadily declining over the years.
  • We're now seeing an uptick in marijuana (and alcohol???) usage among teens as prevention messages and perceived risks decrease.
  • Recovery services need to become as available as drugs and alcohol are.
  • Child maltreatment is the biggest predictor of co-occurring disorders.
  • Use of illegal substances and alcohol by adolescent girls have risen to nearly that of boys. Girls are more likely to abuse prescription drugs
  • There is ongoing tension around evidence based practices and culturally based services. For example, there are hundreds of federally recognized native tribes in the U.S. but very little research done to validate evidence based practices with them. Many native treatment approaches have not been studied.


Live blogging at JMATE: Organizational Issues in an Era of Change

This morning I attend a panel discussion on how organizations manage change. Chaired by Dan Merrigan, a professor at Boston University who manages the Reclaiming Futures leadership program, the session featured three presentations that addressed key communication and collaboration challenges.
Dr. Merrigan focused on the role of leadership in the initiative. “At Reclaiming Futures, we believe leadership is about setting direction, creating alignment, and maintaining commitment,” said Dr. Merrigan. “ According to Dr. Merrigan, the Reclaiming Futures leadership culture is a collective activity distributed across boundaries and it exists without formal authority. “Leadership is adaptive, strategic, and relational,” said Dr. Merrigan.
Dr. Merrigan stressed that it’s important to recognize that change always causes anxiety. “We urge people to distinguish between technical work (which requires mechanical fixes),” he said, “and adaptive work (which requires addressing change). To accomplish this, Reclaiming Futures helps local teams build teams across systems, cultures and organizations that identify their adaptive challenges.”

JMATE 2012: Recovery Schools

Across the country, substance abusing teens are dropping out of high school at alarming rates. But a recovery high school in downtown Boston is targeting youth in recovery with great success. At a JMATE 2012 panel on recovery schools, a staff member from Ostiguy Recovery School spoke about the differences between a recovery school and a regular school. At Ostiguy Recovery School:

  • Students receive recovery support and counseling in addition to math and science
  • Students lead their own sobriety groups which empowers them to take control of their lives
  • Students WANT to be there (this is not a mandated rehab program)
  • Students outreach at area schools to let troubled students know there is another option 

Follow our JMATE Coverage on Twitter

A number of our fellows and staff are tweeting live from the Joint Meeting on Adolescent Treatment Effectiveness (JMATE). If you're on Twitter, follow along and join in the conversation using #JMATE. And for those not on Twitter, follow along on the blog!

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Reclaiming Futures at JMATE 2012

Many of the Reclaiming Futures staff and fellows (myself included) are attending this year's annual JMATE conference. We are excited to meet many of you and to share best practices in the juvenile justice and adolescent substance abuse treatment fields. In fact, we sincerely hope that should you see one of us in the elevator or at a panel, you will come up and say hello and introduce yourself. And to make that easier, here's a roster of Reclaiming Futures folks attending the conference:
Susan Richardson, National Executive Director

Jim Carlton, Deputy Director

Cora Crary, Learning Collaborative Manager

Dr. Laura Nissen, Special Advisor


Registration for JMATE 2012 is now open, plus JMATE call for abstracts extended to November 8

The 2012 Joint Meeting on Adolescent Treatment Effectiveness (JMATE) will take place April 10-12 in Washington, D.C. 
The annual conference welcomes adolescent treatment researchers and evaluators, project directors, clinicians, policy makers, youth, families and other members of the recovery community in effort to exchange ideas and data in the field od adolesecnt treatment toward effective evidence-based practices.
JMATE 2012 will feature individual and panel presentations, technical workshops, poster sessions and interactive discussion hours.
Click here to register.
Additionally, the 2012 JMATE call for abstracts has been extended for one week to November 8, 2011.
This extension is being granted in response to requests from the field and to help make up for a few technical issues that some persons reported experiencing during the abstract submission process. For complete details and instructions on how to submit your abstract, click here.