Before sharing our accomplishments and expansion efforts, let’s take a moment to acknowledge numerous people and organizations that we have had the privilege of working with over the past few years to implement Reclaiming Futures’ version of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (RF-SBIRT).
Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance use treatment, and teen mental health.
Teen Drug Overdose Death Rate Doubles Over Last Decade (Psychiatry Advisor)
Trust For America's Health released a new report with findings that the American drug overdose mortality rate has more than doubled over the last ten years, and especially among young men between the ages of 12 to 25 years old. Prescription drugs were found to be responsible for many of the overdoses, and were also found to be connected to heroin addictions in young people.
On October 27, 2015, Montgomery County Juvenile Court, Judge Nick Kuntz and Judge Anthony Capizzi hosted the 12th annual Natural Helper Recognition Banquet. As one of the ten original Reclaiming Futures sites, this year marked our twelfth year of our Natural Helper program. Our volunteers and community partners that make our initiative a success were recognized for their
achievements. This year’s event was held at the Presidential Banquet Center in Dayton, Ohio. Approximately 200 community leaders, partners, Natural Helpers and Juvenile Court staff were in attendance, including members of the Lucas County Reclaiming Futures team.
The evening started with entertainment provided by the talented Novae A Capella Group, a student cappella group at Centerville High School whose motto is, "Shine like stars, work like bees, and sing like angels." Their performance was enjoyed by all in attendance. Special guest speaker, Brian Jenkins, a local businessman, author and motivational speaker provided a wonderful story of addiction, incarceration, recovery and the impact two special mentors had on his life. One particular part of his message really resonated with the audience: “For all of you who are mentoring and wonder if all of your efforts are ever recognized by the people you are working with, I am here to tell you that they are. Please don’t give up.”
The National Program Office (NPO) is very pleased to announce Reclaiming Futures' new rural community collaborative site in NW Ohio. The NW Ohio Reclaiming Futures (NORF) Initiative is a collaboration between Defiance, Henry, and Williams Counties, as well as their regionally shared service providers and community stakeholders. As a new example of a Reclaiming Futures rural community collaborative site (the site model also exists in Kentucky and North Carolina), NW Ohio provides an important example of a site tapping into an innovative state justice reinvestment fund in order to join the Reclaiming Futures initiative.
NW Ohio is Reclaiming Futures' fifth site in the state of Ohio. Evan Elkin, Executive Director of Reclaiming Futures, credits the growing presence of Reclaiming Futures in Ohio to the neighborly and supportive tendencies of Ohioans, which creates a grassroots sharing of information. “They share with their communities and around the state - and word of the positive outcomes the existing sites are seeing is getting around,” explains Elkin.
Defiance, Henry, and Williams Counties of NW Ohio provide an excellent example of Ohio's collaborative and supportive nature, and how this quality of working together and sharing resources particularly benefits rural communities. The three counties joined together to propose the NORF Initiative upon recognizing a need in their communities for more consistency and specifically...
April in Dayton, Ohio generally means the winter weather is starting to break. Snow showers and subzero temperatures are replaced with rain showers and flowers. For some neighborhoods in Dayton, Ohio the break in the weather brings light to a major issue. The issue of illegal dumping is highly visible once the piles of snow have melted away. In some instances, neighborhoods have been left with tons of trash and debris. For several blocks certain alleyways can be found with couches, mattress, appliances and construction waste.
On April 1, 2015 Montgomery County Juvenile Court hosted its fourth annual community cleanup in the Fairview Neighborhood. This was a community effort, with multiple partners coming together to improve the appearance of one of our city’s neighborhoods.
On October 16, 2013, Montgomery County Juvenile Court, Judge Nick Kuntz and Judge Anthony Capizzi hosted the 10th annual Natural Helper Recognition Banquet. As one of the first Reclaiming Futures sites, this year’s celebration was significant as Montgomery County was celebrating its 10th year of our Natural Helpers Program. Volunteers and community partners that have made this initiative a success were recognized for their achievements. This year’s event was held at The Salvation Army, Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Dayton Ohio. Over 100 community leaders, partners, natural helpers and juvenile court staff were in attendance.
The evening also showcased the talents of many students from two local high schools. Kettering Fairmont High School Acapella Group, Eleventh Hour, and Stivers School for the Arts Jazz Ensemble provided entertainment for the evening. Special guest speaker Scott McGohan, CEO of McGohan Brabender provided an inspirational message for all in attendance. Judge Nick Kuntz and Judge Anthony Capizzi gave special recognition to 12 natural helpers for their years of service, assistance on advisory projects, and for their distinguished services to the youth of Montgomery County.
Winston Churchill once said, "There’s just something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." Horse therapy has indeed been proven effective in several different cases regarding mental health, addiction, physical therapy, and human development. Hardin County, Ohio is putting this idea to the test.
Hardin County Reclaiming Futures has partnered with Serenity Stables Therapeutic Center Inc. to provide horse therapy to youth in the juvenile system through the Horse and Youth program (H.A.Y.).
The H.A.Y. program will provide intervention strategies for the adjudicated youth who need a way to build self-confidence, leadership skills, and group interaction capabilities. The young people will have 12 weekly sessions to create a bond with their horse, as well as the people, of Serenity Stables.
“The horses do not care who you are, what trouble you have been in, or what problems you may have. Each youth will be able to establish a bond with an animal that is totally non-judgmental,” Judge Christopher, Hardin County Juvenile Court, explains.
This type of bond will serve to build confidence in the young people of Hardin County and help them develop a new, healthier mindset. Judge Christopher also believes the people of Serenity Stable, who have ample experience working with challenged youth, will serve to be positive role models for the participants.
Preventing drug use before it begins, especially among our youth, is a cost-effective way to reduce substance abuse and its negative consequences. A great way to achieve this is by encouraging an overall healthy lifestyle, which is exactly what the Hocking County Juvenile Court (HCJC) did this summer in Ohio.
HCJC partnered with North’s Fitness Center, a local gym, to invite 14 court-involved young people to exercise in their facility at no cost for the duration of the six-week summer program called “Crush-It Fitness”.
Similar to programs like SPORT and InShape, Hocking County’s Crush-It Fitness was designed to channel the youth’s free time into something positive and guide them toward a healthier lifestyle—a tactic that can be very effective to prevent substance abuse and reduce recidivism.
A celebration ceremony was held on Sept. 12, 2013 to recognize the young people who completed the program. They received t-shirts and positive affirmations. Participants gave mixed reviews on the program—mandating exercise is tough business! But, a combination of logistic and planning feedback came in that will help Hocking County succeed if they continue the “Crush-It Fitness” program in summer 2014.
Last year, the Vera Institute of Justice’s Family Justice Program wrapped up a multi-year project to develop and pilot family engagement standards for the Performance-based Standards Learning Institute. All juvenile corrections facilities participating in PbS are now collecting information related to family engagement—including a survey of family members twice a year. There are currently 48 facilities across 15 states collecting family surveys with a total of 1,033 family surveys collected since the start of the project.
One of the original pilot states is already benefiting from having data on family engagement after implementing the new standards last fall. Based on feedback from their PbS reports, Indiana’s Pendleton Juvenile Correctional facility decided to increase their rates of visitation. They analyzed their visitation policies and made drastic changes—opening up visitation hours to just about any time a family member can get to the facility. In addition to the expanded visiting hours, all restrictions on the number of visits a young person could receive were lifted.
These changes went into effect at the beginning of this year and, after just a few short months, the staff are seeing big changes. Not only did they successfully double their normal rate of visitation, they saw improved behavior by young people in the facility. The Family Justice Program found a similar correlation between improved behavior and visits in Ohio.
Congratulations to Reclaiming Futures Montgomery County!
Under the leadership of Honorable Anthony Capizzi, this Juvenile Drug Court was recently awarded $975,000 from the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The three-year Drug Court Expansion grant supports Montgomery County's efforts to unite juvenile courts, probation, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and the community to reclaim youth. Through this grant, Ohio will be able to serve an additional 45 families per year and 135 over the grant's three-year span.
Together, they are improving drug and alcohol treatment and connecting teens to positive activities and caring adults.
There is statewide interest in Ohio to expand the Reclaiming Futures model beyond the four current sites. If you know community leaders interested in breaking the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime, or philanthropies investing in juvenile justice reform, we'd like to hear from you.
For more information about bringing Reclaiming Futures to your community, please call Susan Richardson at 503-725-8914 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Map at right illustrates current (blue) and potential (orange and green) Reclaiming Futures communities in Ohio.
Have you ever wondered how you could make a difference in the lives of young people in your community?
Less than one year into a $1.3 million grant, Lucas County Reclaiming Futures Project Director LaTonya Harris breaks it down for Leading Edge guest host Rob Wiercinski in Toledo, Ohio.
Watch this video to learn how they are decreasing recidivism and increasing drug court graduation rates. They will make even greater strides with more mentors to provide positive activities for teens:
Despite the fact that synthetic marijuana use is soaring around areas like Hardin County, Ohio, we continue to successfully break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime using our proven six-step model. At a recent site visit, we found that Reclaiming Futures Hardin County has:
- Strong, committed teamwork that uses a holistic, seamless, coordinated system of support for teens
- Effective, solid partnership with Ohio Northern University – good evaluation and site analysis with the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) data, and impressive internship development
- Cohesion: Probation, Behavioral Health Services and Recovery School all under one roof
- Superb GAIN rates, particularly upon follow up
- Many Evidence-Based Treatment options
- Well-implemented service coordination, with many positive pro-social activities (fishing, scrapbooking, archery, 4-H club, and community service opportunities)
- Great local partnerships, for example, teen financial literacy training with the local credit union
- Strong sustainability strategy
- Good representation at Juvenile Treatment Court staffing/team meeting, with input from many partners around the table
- Good communication with parents, evident by their attendance at the Juvenile Treatment Court hearing and positive interactions during family updates and high school graduation celebration at court
- Excellent feedback from youth and parents during interviews after court
- Wonderful community activities and exceptional fundraising events
Kudos to the Reclaiming Futures team in Hardin County, Ohio!
Leaders in Hardin County, Ohio, are using the proven Reclaiming Futures six-step model and strong collaboration to break the generational cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime in their community.
In the video below, Wade Melton, program director of Hardin County Juvenile Court and director of Hardin Community School, describes how Reclaiming Futures positively impacts his work:
Stay tuned for an update about my recent site visit to Hardin County, Ohio.
PEW recently published a report revealing the effectiveness of the RECLAIM (Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to Incarceration of Minors) funding initiative in Ohio. The report found RECLAIM to be highly successful in lowering recidivism rates and saving the state millions of dollars:
RECLAIM is an initiative funding program that allows county courts to implement community based programs in order to provide alternatives to juvenile incarceration for juvenile offenders or youth at risk of offending. The increased funding for counties is based on an equation that refunds counties for the time juvenile offenders would have spent if they had been committed to the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) state facility.
Like many states in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Ohio saw an increase in the incarcerated youth population. By 1992, the state reached an all-time high of 180 percent of capacity with many of the youth being first-time nonviolent offenders. The idea was that by better serving low to medium risk offenders through locally tailored community programs, admissions would decrease as well as recidivism rates.
Reclaiming Futures Hardin County recently hosted our first annual Run for Recovery 5k Run/Walk & Kids Dash. The event was held in order to involve the community in the services offered from both Hardin Community School and Reclaiming Futures, while encouraging our youth to live a healthier lifestyle. The name Run for Recovery was chosen in order to incorporate Hardin County youth in all aspects of recovery, including education, along with recovery from drugs, alcohol, crime, and mental health problems.
The race was held Saturday May 25th, 2013 at Hardin Community School/Lifeworks Center. Roughly 160 runners/walkers and youth took place in the 5k and kids dash. Each participant received a goody bag filled with local offerings and a Run for Recovery 5k t-shirt.
Businesses, organizations and individuals from the community astounded us with their overwhelming support months leading up to the race! Nearly 40 separate entities showed their support with monetary donation, door prize donations, post-race refreshment, prizes for the kid’s dash, participants’ goodie bag contributions, and sponsorships for kid’s entry fees, not to mention the countless volunteers who helped with race preparation.
Race morning was no different! Our team was greeted race morning with over 20 volunteers to help us organize. Volunteers from the Sheriff’s Office, Kenton Police Department, mentors, Hardin Community Schools’ 4-H chapter, and Hardin County Vietnam vets were on site to assist our team. Throughout the race, public bystanders lined the streets to watch as the race participants passed by their homes and offices. A huge hit for the crowd was seeing Hardin County Juvenile Court’s K9, Cory, complete the 5k with her handler Sheriff Deputy Rushing.
Thanks to the teamwork of Hocking County Reclaiming Futures, many teens in Southeast Ohio are receiving the support they need to break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime.
Learn how this team creates healthy activities for young people. In a story, published by the Logan Daily News on April 1, they:
- Hiked trails with a soil & water conservation education specialist,
- Created art from recycled and reclaimed items, and
- Learned to identify trees and shrubs in the Hocking Hills
Reclaiming Futures teens are learning to give back too. By donating art objects for programming at the Bishop Educational Gardens, they are creating goodwill in the community.
Kudos to Hocking County Reclaiming Futures for building educational partnerships for court-involved young people. Together, they are connecting teens to positive activities and caring adults.
Since receiving a $1.32 million grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), Lucas County, Ohio, has moved quickly to implement the Reclaiming Futures model. Per the model, teens will be screened for substance abuse and mental health issues directly after arrest and receive treatment as needed.
The Toledo Free Press reports:
Reclaiming Futures will be used as a model with 25 teenagers in the Lucas County Juvenile Treatment Court. There is a goal set to increase the capacity to 30 teenagers who will receive treatment each year. This would mean 120 teenagers will be helped by the grant during the four years.
“It’s great for our county,” [Lucas County Juvenile Treatment Court Coordinator LaTonya] Harris said. “This is going to allow us to serve as a model for other counties and other sites when we get our results.”
Harris said there is no end for Reclaiming Futures in sight, even if the funding from the grant runs out. Once it is implemented and the staff is fully trained, the program will stay intact for as long as the community wants it to be.
Despite snow, ice, fog and temperatures around 15 degrees on January 25, nearly 70 leaders interested in juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, public policy and philantropy gathered at the Columbus Foundation in Columbus, Ohio, to learn about Reclaiming Futures, a proven model for helping teens break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime.
We were joined by Harvey Reed, Director of Ohio Department of Youth Services, to discuss how to unite probation officers, judges, substance abuse treatment professionals and community members to help teens in the justice system.
The following counties expressed interest in the technical assistance, training, webinars, leadership institutes, fellowship support and coaching available to members of the Reclaiming Futures community:
Hardin County Reclaiming Futures was recently invited to speak to a local church group about their Recovery School (Hardin Community School) and Hardin County Reclaiming Futures Juvenile Drug Court. The church members loved hearing about the community initiative and wanted to reach out to the local youth by donating funds for a gingerbread house project.
The project began on December 10, 2012 for the Recovery School students who had a week to complete their houses. Now that the houses are finished, we are holding a contest on our Facebook page for the best houses. Hardin County’s Reclaiming Futures Fellows are also invited to come in for judging and awarding prizes. Almost the entire student body at the recovery school turned out to participate in the project.
Most students anticipated doing their own gingerbread house, but quickly realized that the task was not as easy as one would think and most began working together as teams to build the walls and the roofs. The houses were made of graham crackers and held together by a special icing to help hold the structure together. Decorations were available as multiple assortments of candies.
There are a few immutable functions of government—and public safety is paramount amongst them. We expect our state and local governments to use our tax dollars to keep the public peace, to punish those who do wrong, and ensure streets remain safe for prosperous economic development.
But as with all uses of taxpayer dollars, we expect Virginia to accomplish these goals effectively and efficiently.
Outdated juvenile justice systems present an excellent example of the inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. For decades, juvenile justice systems have over-relied on secure confinement of juvenile offenders in state facilities. Unfortunately, this process of seeking to rehabilitate juvenile offenders is the most expensive and, typically the least effective option.
Juvenile justice systems are unique from other public safety agencies as juveniles are treated differently than adult offenders, largely due to their age and capacity for change. Therefore, rehabilitation is an even more important goal for juveniles. The public benefit and cost savings that result from diverting a youth from a lifetime of crime, and putting them on the right track to a law abiding and productive life, are immense and should be prioritized.
Regrettably, the evidence suggests that Virginia is falling short of this goal. More than 700 youths are in state lockups on any given day. Taxpayers pay $221 per day, per juvenile, and at an average time spent in the facility of 14 months, the resulting tab is almost $100,000.