The recipe necessary to reclaim the lives of youth that have penetrated the juvenile justice system begins in our own kitchens. One part parents, one part community, a dash of judicial intervention (to taste) and we have a life that is once again shining and full of promise.
Case in point: on September 10, 2009, the Greene County Juvenile Drug Treatment Court (JDTC) -- click on the photo at left for a larger view of our team1 -- successfully graduated one of our youth, due to the engagement of the youth and family, the commitment from the JDTC team, and the overall support from the community in Greene County. This commencement represented a very important milestone for a young man who continually demonstrated a willingness to make positive changes in his life.
JDTC is a court-managed, intensive, integrated treatment program with an expected participation length of 10 to 18 months. Participating youth are expected to make weekly court appearances, provide urine samples on a random basis several times a week, attend drug treatment services weekly, meet with their probation officer consistently and in addition to all of that, they need to regain focus on their academics.
Parents are also expected to participate and support their child throughout the program. After all, they are the most important team members! Without the parents, all of our efforts would be short-lived and unsustainable. Families have to be willing to open up their lives and the doors to their home, navigate through the stigma associated with substance abuse, and make sacrifices that affect the entire family. This is part of the recipe that can reclaim the lives of their children.
Another ingredient in the substance abuse recovery of youth and the families that we serve is community. The social ills of addiction and substance abuse are not confined to any specific gender, race, or class. Substance abuse creates ripples in all of our lives. As a community, we’re all responsible for creating a system of care that opens up access to services needed to overcome addiction and substance abuse.
A special thanks to the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) for investing in our County and bringing the Reclaiming Futures Model into our community.
1Pictured from left to right: Dan Johnson, Children's Division; Shelly Hurtt, Community Service Worker/Burrell Behavioral Health; Commissioner Peggy Davis; the author; Leslie Corbiere, Supervisor Clinical Services/Burrell Behavioral Health; Marilyn Gibson, RF Project Director; Linda McMillin, Therapist/Burrell Behavioral Health. Seated: Scott Crawford - tracker.
Shawn Billings, M.S., serves as the Probation & Field Services Supervisor for the Juvenile Office in Greene County, MO Drug Court Administrator for the 31st Judicial Circuit (Greene County) and the 39th Judicial Circuit, as well as its Reclaiming Futures Juvenile Justice Fellow. He has worked with youth and families in the juvenile justice field for nearly 10 years.
Updated: February 08 2018