New Year Brings Cautious Hope for Mental Health Care; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Op-Ed: Trauma and Triumph in Family Court (
    "Shortly before Christmas, I returned a phone call from a woman whose 12-year-old stepgrandson wanted to end court-ordered visitation with his non-custodial mother. As I was about to tell her that I no longer practice law and am retired from the bench, she mentioned the mother’s name – let’s call her Amanda – and a flood of memories came to me. Hang with me, please. This is a story of complex family relations and problems and one that exemplifies the challenges, as well as the benefits, of engaging families in changing juvenile behaviors."
  • Activists Push for Juvenile Justice System Reforms (Al Jazeera America)
    Critics argue detention centers wrongly focus on punishment rather than rehabilitation for young people.
  • New Law Keeps Some Juveniles Out of Detention Centers (
    Changes in Georgia’s Juvenile justice laws could save taxpayers money in the new year. Currently, it costs $90,000 a year per child who is placed in a juvenile detention center. With this new program, kids who commit non-violent crimes may not have to go there, but instead serve their sentence at home, saving tax payers millions.

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Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Mental Health

  • New Year Brings Cautious Hope for Mental Health Care (
    Texas has lagged far behind virtually every other state when it comes to investment in mental health care. But after lawmakers allocated record levels of funding to mental health services during the 2013 legislative session, and with the beginning of expanded mental health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, advocates say they see new cause for optimism — and still more room for improvement.
  • Our Voice: Let's Get at the Root of Teen Drug Abuse Problems (The Bellingham Herald)
    "We don't intend to give parenting advice in this column, but do give some weight to Kennewick police Chief Ken Hohenberg's statements that, 'Trust works both ways in a relationship.' And that if a youth is using drugs, it most likely is a symptom of a problem. Often adolescents and adults turn to drugs or booze as an escape or as a coping mechanism."
  • More Than 6 Percent of U.S. Teens Take Psychiatric Meds: Survey (
    Slightly more than 6 percent of U.S. teens take prescription medications for a mental health condition such as depression or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new survey shows. The survey also revealed a wide gap in psychiatric drug use across ethnic and racial groups.
  • Homeless Teens and Young Adults Find Shelter and a Future in Denver (Al Jazeera America)
    Urban Peak program offers so much more than a place to stay for homeless youth ages 15 to 24

juvenile-justice-system_David-BackesDavid Backes writes the Friday news roundup for Reclaiming Futures and contributes articles about juvenile justice reform and adolescent substance abuse treatment to He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Santa Clara University. David works as an account executive for Prichard Communications.

Topics: News, No bio box

Updated: January 10 2014