“Read All About It” - Research Findings Published!

Reasons why I am proud to write this blog post...

Reason 1: My former colleagues (and friends) at The University of Arizona, Southwest Institute for Research on Women (UA SIROW) (UA SIROW) have been leading the efforts on the national evaluation of Juvenile Drug Courts and Juvenile Drug Courts blended with Reclaiming Futures (JDC/RF).  UA SIROW collaborated with Chestnut Health Systems and Carnevale Associates, LLC to implement a comprehensive evaluation that included data from Juvenile Drug Courts, Juvenile Drugs Courts blended with Reclaiming Futures, and non-justice related intensive adolescent outpatient programs. The purpose was to examine processes, outcomes, and costs.

Demonstrating Success: How Ventura County Won $600,000 Grant

One of the greatest pleasures of working with Reclaiming Futures is getting to know juvenile justice leaders around the country—and celebrating their successes.
A great example is the team in Ventura County, California, who recently received a $600,000 two-year, Second Chance Act grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to serve young people with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders. 
Because Ventura County Reclaiming Futures has demonstrated success—and funders like to invest in promising practices—they continue to attract partners to help teens overcome the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime.
Keep up the great work, Ventura County!

Robert Listenbee to Lead Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Last Friday, President Obama announced his intent to appoint Robert Listenbee, Jr. as Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). 
From the announcement:

Robert Listenbee, Jr. is Chief of the Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, a position he has held since 1997. He has also been a trial lawyer at the Defender Association of Philadelphia since 1986. Previously, from 1991 to 1997, Mr. Listenbee was Assistant Chief of the Juvenile Unit. He is a member of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, which advises the Governor of Pennsylvania on juvenile justice policy. Mr. Listenbee serves on the policy committees of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association and the National Center for Juvenile Justice. He serves on the advisory board of the National Juvenile Defender Center and is a board member and former President of the Juvenile Defenders Association of Pennsylvania. Mr. Listenbee received a B.A. from Harvard University and a J.D. from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

Listenbee has agreed to join the administration and will replace acting Administrator Melodee Hanes.

OJJDP Seeking Peer Reviewers

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is seeking juvenile justice experts to serve as peer reviewers for its 2013 grant applications.
From JuvJust:

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) invites practitioners with expertise in juvenile mentoring programs, youth-focused policing, and the implementation and evaluation of tribal youth initiatives to apply to serve as peer reviewers for its fiscal year 2013 discretionary grant applications.
To apply, e-mail a current résumé or curriculum vitae to by November 30, 2012. Note your areas of expertise in the message body. OJJDP will compensate peer reviewers for their time and effort. OJJDP anticipates using these peer reviewers in March/April 2013.
Peer reviewers have at least 2 weeks to evaluate and rate a set number of applications and to submit their assessments electronically in the Office of Justice Programs’ Grants Management System. OJJDP will conduct a conference call in which a panel of at least three reviewers reach consensus on the merits and shortcomings of each application. OJJDP is committed to ensuring a fair and open process for awarding grants. Peer reviews, which provide an independent assessment of applications, play an important advisory role to that end.
Peer reviewers must comply with the OJP conflict of interest rules and regulations. For example, a peer reviewer cannot have a financial relationship with an organization that submitted an application under the solicitation being peer reviewed.

[NEW REPORT ] Underage Drinking: Practice Guidelines for Community Corrections

OJJDP’s October Juvenile Justice Bulletin examines underage drinking and offers evidence-based guidelines for screening and treating teen drinkers. OJJDP’s interest in promoting better treatment for underage drinking isn’t new--they’ve long understood the physical, neurological and legal consequences of underage drinking.
The Underage Drinking Bulletin series was created to help educate practitioners and policymakers about these issues and to provide evidence-based guidelines. Highlights from the 10 guidelines from this bulletin are included below:

  • Youth should be screened for alcohol problems regularly throughout their supervision. If they are found to be at risk for such problems, a substance abuse specialist should conduct a thorough assessment. Other assess­ments should identify youths’ risks, needs and assets.
  • Justice professionals should develop an individualized case plan for each youth.
  • Professionals should match interventions with a youth’s needs and assets. Youth’s progress and participation in programs should be monitored.
  • Family and social networks must support youth.
  • Youth should receive swift and certain sanctions for noncompliance with supervision conditions but should also receive positive reinforcement for constructive behaviors.

OJJDP Bulletin: Underage Drinking Still a Major Problem for Teens, Society

OJJDP posted findings from an underage drinking literature review in their September Juvenile Justice Bulletin. The review focuses on how drinking can affect teens’ mental and physical well being--highlights from the bulletin are included below (emphasis mine):

  • The human brain continues to develop until a person is around age 25. Underage drinking may impair this neurological development, causing youth to make irresponsible decisions, encounter memory lapses, or process and send neural impulses more slowly.
  • Underage drinking cost society $68 billion in 2007, or $1 for every drink consumed. This includes medical bills, income loss, and costs from pain and suffering.
  • In 2009, 19 percent of drivers ages 16–20 who were involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration over the legal adult limit (0.08).
  • Alcohol use encourages risky sexual behavior. Youth who drink may be more likely to have sex, become pregnant, or contract sexually transmitted diseases.

2009 Juvenile Court Statistics: Process and Trends

A new report from the National Center for Juvenile Justice analyzes the 1.5 million delinquency cases processed by juvenile courts in that year. “Juvenile Court Statistics 2009,” closely examines the type of offenses committed, who committed them and how the young people were processed before, during and after their court appearances. In addition, the report looked over juvenile statistics from as far back as 1985 to determine the trends juvenile cases.
The process of the juvenile justice system has many different steps and there are a number of ways that a teen can be processed depending on their circumstances, offense committed and various other factors. All cases need to be referred to the court, usually by law enforcement agencies, and then it is determined if the case will be handled formally or informally and in juvenile or criminal court. In 2009, juvenile courts handled roughly 4,100 cases each day, 30% more than in 1985 and 300% than in 1960.

The Causes, Correlates and Pathways of Multi-System Youth

On July 26, 2012, I attended the OJJDP and NTTAC webinar on the causes, correlates and pathways of multi-system youth. This was the first webinar in a series on improving outcomes for multi-system involved youth who cross over between child welfare and juvenile justice.

The following take-aways are from the first portion, presented by Dr. Denise Herz:

  • Two of the most important predictors for crossing into delinquency are the number of referrals to the child welfare system and experiencing abuse persistently from early childhood into adolescence.
  • Often youth will have a previous but not current child welfare case at the time of delinquency. If youth in the juvenile justice system are found to have a prior child welfare referral, it is important to revisit the child welfare case and to ensure that there is not current maltreatment.
  • Risk factors for delinquency for those in the child welfare system include placement instability and the absence of pro-social bonds. Living in a group home has been found to increase the likelihood of delinquency compared to other types of placements.
  • Child welfare and juvenile justice can’t do this alone. They need strong support and partnerships with behavioral health treatment and education. In particular, engaging and stabilizing youth in an educational placement can provide long-term improvements.

These are my take-aways from the portion presented by John Tuell:

$1.29 Million National Evaluation to Examine Juvenile Drug Courts Implementing Reclaiming Futures

New federal dollars will pay for a $1.29 million, multi-year evaluation in six juvenile drug courts implementing Reclaiming Futures, a national program that improves drug and alcohol treatment for teens in trouble with the law. This evaluation, the first of its kind, will examine the impact, processes and cost-effectiveness of Juvenile Drug Courts implementing the Reclaiming Futures model. Funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention through an interagency agreement with the Library of Congress, this evaluation will be conducted by the University of Arizona's Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW).
"We know from a 2006 evaluation by the Urban Institute that Reclaiming Futures improves the lives of young people by changing the juvenile justice system for the better," says Susan Richardson, national executive director of Reclaiming Futures. "This new research will look at specific outcomes, such as recidivism, relapse rates, and costs." 

June 27 OJJDP Webinar: Sustaining Quality Programs

On June 27, 2012, at 3:30 p.m. E.T., the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) will present a Webinar titled, “Effective Strategies to Help Sustain Your Quality Programs.” 

Prichard Communications




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This Webinar is designed for jurisdictions, organizations, and individuals who want to:
-leverage cross-systems communications and collaborations to sustain effective programs
-learn social marketing skills and strategies
-advocate for their programs, services, initiatives, and functions
-engage clients, funders, and champions as advocates

Increasing Disclosure and Identifying Victimizations of Children

In 2008, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention conducted the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV), which is the most comprehensive survey to date to assess childhood victimizations. The survey was initiated under the OJJDP’s Safe Start program in efforts to increase authority knowledge of childhood victimizations, including sexual assault by an adult, kidnapping, gang or group assault, as well as indirect victimizations such as witness to assault and exposure to shooting of another.
Although the study primarily focused on which authorities, including police, school and medical officials, were more likely to know about certain types of victimizations, another interesting aspect of the study examined what kind of factors were preventing disclosure to authorities. It reported that authorities were less likely to know about victimizations of boys, Hispanic youth, and those of higher SES groups (Support Enforcement Services). Researchers speculate that victims with these characteristics are hesitant to report their exposure as a reflection of social norms and cultural concerns.
The study concludes that although there are higher rates of victimizations known to authorities, officials need to increase disclosure promotion aimed at these particular groups. It is important for victims to view these trained professionals as resources who can help protect them and not as people who they must fear.

May 9: Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

On May 9, 2012, the OJJDP and SAMHSA will observe National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day to promote recovery and resilience for young people in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. The two agencies will support efforts to help the public recognize signs of chlid trauma, promote treatment for children's traumatic experiences and promote trauma-informed social services and supports. 
Why is this important?
As we learned at this year's JMATE conference, childhood mental health problems increase the risk of substance use and addiction (because many teens are self-medicating) and substance use increases the risk of developing mental health problems. Trauma (especially when experienced at a young age) severely affects a child's ability to cope and affects brain size (NOT intelligence). And 92% of incarcerated kids have experienced one or more traumas during their childhood.
To learn more about National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day and to plan an activity, visit

Journal of Juvenile Justice: Call for Articles

OJJDP's peer-reviewed Journal of Juvenile Justice is accepting article submissions for its third and fourth issues, with the third issue being released in October of 2012.
The recently released second issue includes articles on school learning in a rural juvenile detention facility, arrest histories among homeless youth, juvenile reentry and reintegration, community truancy boards, polygraph testing and assessment tools.
From the second issue's forward by OJJDP Acting Administrator Melodee Hanes:

As I begin my tenure as the Acting Administrator at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), one of my top priorities is to ensure that our partners in the field have ready access to the latest juvenile justice research and evaluation findings. Consequently, I am pleased to present the second issue of the Journal of Juvenile Justice (JOJJ)—OJJDP’s online peer-reviewed journal. I am particularly pleased to note that the intended audience for JOJJ is both practitioners and researchers. Prior to coming to OJJDP, I spent more than 16 years as a deputy county attorney prosecuting child abuse, sexual assault, and homicide cases. I know firsthand the importance—and the challenges—of getting this type of valuable information to professionals in the field.

Jurisdictions Sought for Technical Assistance for Youth and Families in Multiple Systems

Calling all juvenile justice and child welfare specialists! JuvJust recently announced a great opportunity:

The Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps will support the participation of four jurisdictions in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare System Integration Technical Assistance Initiative. The jurisdictions, which will be competitively selected, will receive technical assistance and consultation during a 12-month period to improve outcomes for families with youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation are jointly sponsoring this project. This initiative is part of a broader partnership between OJJDP and the MacArthur Foundation to improve outcomes for youth involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.

Applications are due March 9, 2012. 

OJJDP Seeking Probation Agencies for Youth Mental Health Screening Project

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is seeking state-level probation agencies in adolescent mental health screening and risk/needs assessment areas.
From JuvJust:

The National Youth Screening and Assessment Project will support the participation of two state-level juvenile probation agencies in the Mental Health Screening and Risk/Needs Assessment in Juvenile Justice Demonstration Project. The probation agencies, which will be selected through a competitive process, will participate in the evaluation of an empirically informed approach to case planning. The project will evaluate and improve probation agencies’ decision-making skills when processing youth in the juvenile justice system, thereby reducing costs, improving resource allocation, and reducing further delinquency.

Sponsored by the OJJDP and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, this initiative is part of a broader partnership to improve outcomes for youth involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.
Applications are due February 27, 2012.

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.

A Look at Youth-Related Spending in Obama's 2013 Budget

President Barack Obama unveiled his 2013 budget proposal Monday, which calls for $3.8 trillion in spending and projects a $901 billion deficit for the year. It was quickly met with resistance from Republican leadership.
“The President’s budget falls exceptionally short in many critical areas – including a lack of any substantive proposal for mandatory and entitlement spending reform,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), in a statement issued Monday.
Rogers promised to “go line by line through the President’s budget, prioritize programs, and make decisions on the appropriate investment of discretionary funds.”
Juvenile Justice
The President would fund the Office of Justice Programs at $1.7 billion in 2013, down from $2.7 billion in 2011 and $2 billion in 2012. The budget would increase spending on the juvenile justice and delinquency prevention programs at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, a division of OJP.

Formula grants to states (Title II): $70 million
2012 appropriation: $40 million
Delinquency prevention grants: $40 million
2012 appropriation: $20 million
Block grants to states (JABG): $30 million
2012 appropriation: $30 million
Mentoring programs: $58 million
2012 appropriation: $78 million
Community-Based Violence Prevention: $25 million
2012 appropriation: $8 million

Melodee Hanes to serve as new acting administrator at OJJDP

After nearly three years of serving as acting administrator for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), Jeff Slowikowski has decided to step down. He will now serve as OJJDP's acting deputy administrator for policy. In a press advisory released today, Laurie O. Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, announced that Melodee Hanes will step in as acting administrator for the OJJDP.
From the release:

“We have welcomed the expertise and energy that Melodee Hanes has brought to the office in her role as counselor to the acting administrator--and will continue to bring to her new leadership role. Improving the quality of life for children, while ensuring their safety, is a priority for the Attorney General and I look forward to her leadership within the Office of Justice Programs,” said Assistant Attorney General Robinson. “I want to thank Jeff for his exceptional service. Jeff’s leadership has been vital to the important work of OJJDP and to the many successes we have had in the office over the past three years.”
During his tenure as acting administrator, Slowikowski oversaw distribution of more than $1.5 billion in funding to support juvenile programs, including $50 million for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He revitalized OJJDP’s research program, helped OJJDP launch important work in areas such as school discipline and tribal and military-youth mentoring, and oversaw OJJDP’s national symposium, a meeting of over 3,000 youth professionals.
Before serving as counselor to the acting administrator, Hanes spent 16 years as a deputy county attorney in Des Moines, Iowa, and Billings, Mont., primarily prosecuting child abuse, sexual assault and homicide cases. She has trained child protection investigators and served as an adjunct professor of law at Drake University, where she taught child abuse law, forensic medicine and forensic law. Hanes is a graduate of Drake University Law School.

Topics: No bio box, OJJDP

Youth arrests for violent crime reach lowest level in 20 years

Good news from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). In their recently released Juvenile Arrests 2009 bulletin (the latest year data is available), OJJDP analysts found that in 2009, youth arrests for violent crime reached the lowest level in 20 years.

From the news release:

According to the 2009 data, U.S. law enforcement agencies made an estimated 1.9 million arrests of persons younger than 18 years old, nine percent fewer than in 2008. Between 2008 and 2009, there were declines in nearly every offense category. The number of juvenile arrests for Violent Crime Index offenses--murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault--decreased ten percent from 2008, reaching its lowest level since the early 1990s.

Materials from OJJDP's 2011 National Conference for Children's Justice & Safety

Good news! Materials from the OJJDP's 2011 National Conference for Children's Justice & Safety are now available online
For those unable to attend, the two-and-a-half day national conference addressed many of the key issues and strategies in the field of juvenile delinquency and victimization. Leading experts and researchers gave workshops and sessions that promoted evidence-based practices that incorporate emerging concerns in prevention, juvenile justice and victimization.
We hosted an all-day pre-conference workshop, focused on the Reclaiming Futures model and drug court. Video from the session is available below:
Video I
Introduction (Susan Richardson, National Director of Reclaiming Futures)
Why reform is needed – Reclaiming Futures' history and purpose (Susan Richardson)
What's happening in your court?  (The Honorable Anthony Capizzi, Reclaiming Futures Montgomery County
How many youth in your courts have a substance abuse problem? What happens to them as a result of that, and how do you measure progress and/or success with those efforts?
Reclaiming Futures model (Dan Merrigan, Ed.D., M.P.H., Reclaiming Futures Leadership Consultant and Christa Myers, Project Director, Reclaiming Futures Hocking County)