Blog: North Carolina

Wake Forest Law School Students Mentor Troubled Teens in North Carolina

An integral part of Reclaiming Futures' six step model is connecting troubled young people with positive and caring adult mentors. In Forsyth County, North Carolina, Wake Forest Law School students are volunteering their time to mentor teens and provide that positive influence.
Our very own judicial fellow Judge William B. Reingold spearheaded the partnership between the Pro Bono Project and Reclaiming Futures. He recruited students by sharing the benefits of being a mentor while detailing the great need in Forsyth County. 
Writing in the Pro Bono Project's blog, law student Ramie Shalabi explains the partnership:

The Wake Forest University School of Law students meet at least once a week with their mentees and participate in activities such as bowling, prom dress shopping, and playing basketball. The mentors are required to write “contact notes,” which they submit to Advanced Placement monthly, to help ensure that the program is running effectively.
Although law students make a one-year commitment to the program, most of this year’s mentors have expressed their desire to remain involved in their mentee’s lives. Kelsey Baird (’13), a mentor, called her experience “valuable as it is fulfilling . . . and one of the best programs I’ve been involved in at Wake Forest.”

North Carolina Update: Screening for Adolescent Substance Abuse

The first step of the Reclaiming Futures model is to screen youth entering the juvenile justice system for substance abuse problems using a reputable screening tool. Each of the six sites in North Carolina have adopted the Global Appraisal for Individual Needs Short Screener (GAIN-SS).
From 2010-2011, 2,663 GAIN screeners were completed with 2,490 youth in Reclaiming Futures' North Carolina sites. Of these screenings, 22% scored at moderate to high risk on the substance disorder screener. This indicates that these youths may need substance abuse, dependence or substance use disorder treatment and therefore should be referred for further assessment. Approximately 18% of youth scored high risk on the overall screening with an additional 75% scoring moderate risk, indicating need for substance abuse and/or mental health assessment/treatment.
This tool has been made available to all counties through the North Carolina Juvenile Online Information Network (NC-JOIN). Since July 2011, 58 counties have used NC-JOIN to track results of the GAIN screening results. This data is then used to make appropriate referrals and in development of service plans for youths.

JMATE 2012: Ask a Judge: Demystifying Juvenile Court and How Judges and Treatment Providers Can Partner Together Successfully

Earlier this afternoon, I sat in on a JMATE panel with three juvenile court judges who discussed how Reclaiming Futures works in their courts and why other courts should consider implementing the model. 
Judge Anthony Capizzi of Dayton, Ohio, began the presentation with the problem: too many teens today are struggling with drugs, alcohol and crime. Eighty percent of the youth Judge Capizzi sees have alcohol or other drug problems and many are self medicating. And this is not unique to Ohio.
As a juvenile court judge, Judge Capizzi finds that treatment helps reduce recidivism, saves money and builds safer communities. BUT most juvenile courts are not set up to detect and treat substance abuse or provide mental health services. And this is where the six step Reclaiming Futures model comes in. Under the Reclaiming Futures model, court teams are set up with a judge, probation officer, treatment provider and community members. The teams work together to make sure that kids are screened for alcohol and other drugs at intake and sent to treatment when needed.

North Carolina Legislators, Advocates Want Juvenile Justice Age Upped to 18

A bipartisan group of lawmakers are reviving efforts to increase the age a young person charged with a crime may be tried as an adult in North Carolina, a move heralded by child advocates who say policies automatically charging a 16-year-old as an adult are obsolete.
Previous attempts to increase the age to 18 have failed, largely due to budgetary constraints, but, now, it’s gained bipartisan support by a group of lawmakers who agree that the current laws, passed in 1919, should be revised. Meanwhile, state child advocates are now holding discussions with stakeholders such as law enforcement, court officials and juvenile workers in every county to explore the feasibility of raising the age.
“We must think that our kids are more evil than kids in other states,” said Rep. Alice Bordsen (D-Alamance), a lead supporter of the effort and a lead sponsor of the House bill. “We try them as an adult at the age of 16. With the exception of a few states, North Carolina is the only state to try them at that age. We are harsher on them and we work less to rehabilitate them, even on low-level offenders. It says that we don’t like our kids.”
North Carolina and New York are the only states that try 16-year-old young people as adults. Eleven states set the age of at 17 years old; 37 states set it at 18.

Work with Reclaiming Futures in North Carolina

The North Caroline Department of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention has an opening for a Reclaiming Futures Trainer who will provide training and technical assistance to existing and newly developed sites to help build statewide capacity for Reclaiming Futures. 
Description of Work
This position provides training and technical assistance to existing and newly developed Reclaiming Futures sites to help build statewide capacity for the program. Curriculum-based training, adaptation of the national RF curriculum to North Carolina, planning and further meeting the training needs at each site will be required. Must be able to conduct quality field research (raining methods, subject matter), have strong consultation and collaboration skills and work well as a team player.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
Effective methods/models of adult learning; multi-media tools and methods for delivering training; strong research skills (evaluating subject matter, lesson plans, curricula, etc); excellent oral and written communication skills; strong experince in delivering adult education/adult learning training using multiple methods and modes; strong coordination and management skills (multiple priorities and tasks); skills in evaluating training and quality improvement.

Greetings from North Carolina's Reclaiming Futures Office

Reclaiming Futures is a philosophy of how we assess the needs of our youths in the juvenile justice system and connect them to the services they need, from substance abuse treatment to community-based activities that make a long-term difference.

North Carolina's statewide Reclaiming Futures office will work with sites and state level partners to implement the RF model in local sites and identify ways to integrate with state level systems of care.

We will be working to ensure that local sites have access to the data systems they need to document the model and its impact on the youths being served.

With my background as the research and evaluation director for a non-profit, I know how critical it is that local and state partners have access to data about the impact of this initiative on youths and their families. This will both demonstrate the return on investment in the model, and ensure data is timely, allowing for continuous quality improvement of services for youth.

New director leads Reclaiming Futures office in North Carolina

Jessica A. Jones to Lead Reclaiming Futures Office in North Carolina
Public-Private partnership expands proven treatment model in state juvenile courts
RALEIGH, N.C. (December 19, 2011) – Jessica A. Jones began work Thursday, December 15 at the North Carolina Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (DJJDP) as director of the new North Carolina office of Reclaiming Futures, a national organization that improves drug and alcohol treatment for young people in trouble with the law. Jones formerly served as research and evaluation director at the Down East Partnership for Children in Rocky Mount, N.C.
“We are delighted to welcome Jessica to this position,” said Secretary Linda Hayes of the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. “She brings the right set of management and data research skills to take Reclaiming Futures to statewide success and help as many teens as possible in North Carolina.”
“I am excited to join Reclaiming Futures and the North Carolina Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to help teens caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime,” said Jones. “North Carolina’s six existing Reclaiming Futures communities have made a positive difference in the lives of our state’s youth, and I look forward to working with them to spread the Reclaiming Futures model across the state.”
Jones will lead all aspects of the project, including strategic planning and implementation in addition to developing the capacity for four additional Reclaiming Futures sites in North Carolina. Her role includes project management and the duplication of the successful services of the national program office.
The nationally evaluated six-part Reclaiming Futures model – originally created with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – provides alcohol and drug screening for all teens who enter the juvenile justice system, then develops a treatment plan and connects them with employers, mentors and volunteer service projects. An evaluation by the Urban Institute and the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children found that the 10 Reclaiming Futures pilot communities reported significant improvements in juvenile justice and drug and alcohol treatment.