Blog: Positive Youth Development

Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events

opportunityBelow you'll find a selection of the latest grants, jobs, webinars and events posted to our Opportunity Board. Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. We encourage you to browse and to post!

Forsyth County Summer Enrichment Program Trains Teens to Become Community Participants

Youth-involved activities like summer jobs, group outings and continued education are IMG_6718particularly important in the summer, when teen crime rates typically spike. Research has found that keeping teens busy may suppress summer crime and violence — one study last year reported a 43 percent reduction in violent crime among teens who participated in a part-time summer job for 13 weeks.

For Reclaiming Futures in Forsyth County, North Carolina, the summer enrichment program for juvenile drug treatment court youth goes beyond that.

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves JJDPA Update; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves JJDPA Update (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange)
The Senate Judiciary Committee has now approved the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2015, a bipartisan bill which has the ability to increase protections for youth within the criminal justice system. The legislation would update the law to reflect new understandings of best practices in juvenile justice.

3 Reasons to Take Our Survey

Help us continue to improve our work by filling out our new positioning survey!We need your help

As Reclaiming Futures heads into its 15th year of service, we’re seeking your help to identify new opportunities to grow this initiative and better serve vulnerable, young populations. We hope you’ll contribute your input in our new survey to help us understand where Reclaiming Futures is doing well, and where we can get better.

Click here to start the survey.

The 16-question survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. At the end of the survey, you'll have the opportunity to be entered to win a $50 Amazon, Visa or Starbucks gift card (winner's choice).

Casey: Time to Close ‘Youth Prisons’; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

Casey: Time to Close ‘Youth Prisons’ (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange)
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has called for an end to state juvenile correctional centers, which the foundation refers to as "youth prisons." This call to action is fueled by their recent report which finds that despite increased attention to the conditions of juvenile corrections institutions, incarcerated youth continue to be subjected to abusive, systematic maltreatment.

The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: New Report Calls for Better Treatment for Girls

The findings are staggering, if not disturbing.r4g_meme_m4

  • 31 percent of girls in the juvenile justice system had been sexually abused, four times higher than the rate of boys.
  • 45 percent of girls in the system have an adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) of five or more, placing them at a much higher risk for chronic health issues.

A new report out by Rights4Girls, in conjunction with the Ms. Foundation for Women and the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty & Inequality, reveals how the “Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline” strikes girls especially hard. It concludes that there is a direct cause-and-effect connection between the sexual abuse of girls at a young age and their involvement in the juvenile justice system.

History of Abuse Seen in Many Girls in Juvenile System; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

History of Abuse Seen in Many Girls in Juvenile System (The New York Times)
A report released on Thursday - a rare examination of girls in the juvenile justice system - finds that as many as 80 percent of girls in state systems have a history of sexual or physical abuse, and that sexual abuse is among the primary predictors of girls’ involvement with systems.  The report also finds that systems lack resources to identity or treat these common issues, and suggests ways to approach needed reform.

The Corps Network: Providing Opportunities for Previously Incarcerated Teens

corpsnetInvolving previously incarcerated young people in the community can have a tremendous impact on their future success: Research consistently shows that connecting youth with mentors, education and/or employment opportunities can greatly reduce recidivism and help to re-integrate them.

Connecting Reclaiming Futures youth with mentorships, employment opportunities and other pro-social activities is something that all of our sites are committed to and have seen tremendous success with. Just two recent examples of these include Montgomery County, Ohio, bringing together court-involved young people for a community mural project, and El Paso, Texas, supporting teens who worked together to build an award-winning Thanksgiving float.

Signs to a Creative Future: National Painting Week Mural Project Led By Teens in Juvenile Court

20150610_153753Montgomery County Juvenile Court and Keep Montgomery County Beautiful are pleased to announce that the Helping Adolescents Achieve Long-term Objectives (HAALO) mural project is ahead of schedule and taking shape in the east end of Dayton. HAALO is a program that connects young people involved with Montgomery County Juvenile Court to arts programming through a partnership with K12 Gallery.

During the entire month of June, kids from the Montgomery County Juvenile Court’s HAALO Program will be transforming the Wilson Sign Company building. This structure, located at 300 Hamilton Ave, has been the target of graffiti vandals for many years. However, the youth in the HAALO program have spent the last five months planning and conceptualizing a mural that will replace the graffiti with beautiful artwork that pays homage to the history of innovation and creativity here in the Miami Valley.

Save the Date: Leadership Institute Live-streaming on June 23rd

blog pic for live-streamWe look forward to bringing the Reclaiming Futures community together next week for our annual Leadership Institute! The annual conference provides the opportunity for juvenile justice and adolescent mental health and substance use treatment colleagues to engage in a robust discussion of critical topics, as well as an opportunity for participants to help one another successfully adopt, implement and sustain Reclaiming Futures at the local level.

2015 Leadership Institute will be held on June 23-24 in La Jolla, California, and this year's theme is: “Public Health and Justice: A Partnership to Promote Equity and Well-Being for Youth and Families."

Can't make it to Leadership Institute this year? On Tuesday, June 23rd three Leadership Institute plenary sessions will be live-streaming on and on

Juvenile Community Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence

Reduce Gun Violence picThe number of youth falling victim to gun violence is a very serious issue for society. Homicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-24 year olds. The troubling trend of gun violence has lead many communities to work together to address the problem. On May 5, 2015, Montgomery County Juvenile Court Judge Anthony Capizzi hosted the Juvenile Community Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence (JCIRGV) Call-In. Since 2010, Montgomery County Juvenile Court has hosted six Call-In sessions, serving a total of 87 at-risk youth. The youth are identified through Montgomery County Juvenile Court after collaborating with the Dayton Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. The youth selected are at a high risk to be the victims or the perpetrators of gun violence. They have also been identified as being associated with a gang or organized criminal activity.

The Juvenile Community Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence (JCIRGV) is comprised of the Dayton Police Department, Trotwood Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, F.B.I., A.T.F., U.S. Marshall, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office and Montgomery County Juvenile Court. This multi-jurisdictional, multiagency, mutual effort is intended to quickly and effectively reduce gun violence and associated homicides. JCIRGV is collaborating with state and federal law agencies, social service providers, and the community to present a clear message that gun violence must stop.

Chittenden County Aims to Streamline Screening and Assessment for At-Risk Young People in Vermont

In January we announced that five Reclaiming Futures sites were chosen to implement an innovative adaptation of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for adolescents. Each of the five pilot sites will serve at least 100 youth over the course of three years, targeting youth who show mild to moderate levels of substance use—a population that doesn’t often qualify for or seek treatment, but who are at high risk for developing worse substance abuse problems down the road.

Two of those sites are brand new sites implementing the Reclaiming Futures model for the first time, including Chittenden County, Vermont, bringing the total national cohort of Reclaiming Futures sites to 41.

The Chittenden County team convenes to discuss plans for the new site.

As this national collaborative of juvenile justice and mental health experts is growing, we followed up with Jon Kidde, Project Director at Chittenden County, to learn about his team’s vision for helping Vermont’s young people at the front door of the juvenile justice system. Despite all 41 sites being replicated as a Reclaiming Futures model, each state and county face unique challenges to assisting teens. We aim to connect sites to share innovative ideas and creative solutions, and Jon Kidde is the latest to share how the Chittenden County site will adapt and implement the SBIRT process in Vermont.

Strengthening Youth Services: The National Mentoring Resource

UntitledThe National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) and The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) have developed a resource to help strengthen youth mentoring services nationwide: the National Mentoring Resource Center.

The Resource Center was launched this January, after a special presentation at the National Mentoring Summit, with the goal to “improve the quality and effectiveness of mentoring across the country by supporting youth mentoring practitioners to more deeply incorporate evidence-based practices.”

Hardin County Convenes Local Leaders at Annual Stakeholder Meeting

Last week, Hardin County Juvenile Court convened its annual stakeholders meeting, gathering leaders from local businesses, churches and agencies to share progress on Reclaiming Futures’ impact through new data, and insight into the future of the program.

Randy Muck, Senior Advisor of Advocates for Youth and Family Behavioral Health, speaks at the Hardin County Juvenile Court stakeholder meeting

Judge Steven Christopher shared results from Hardin County’s participation in a statewide pilot program to study medically assisted treatment for opiate abuse. He noted positive results. Of the 69 percent of people in his family treatment court, zero percent relapsed or experienced recidivism.

The Solution to a 27.47 Ton Problem

April in Dayton, Ohio generally means the winIMG_4366ter 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.

NCJFCJ Releases Guide to Trauma Consultation in Juvenile and Family Courts

A growing body of research is constantly giving fuel to the issue of childhood trauma and toxic NCJFCJ Trauma Manual Coverstress—specifically, how they impact health outcomes in the future, and the critical need for juvenile and family courts to become trauma-informed in order to effectively treat these issues. The latest effort to make trauma-informed courts widespread is from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), which has released “Preparing for a Trauma Consultation in Your Juvenile and Family Court,” a guide for juvenile and family courts to become more trauma-informed.

The guide outlines why courts need to be trauma-informed and how they approach building a framework, including:

  • Elements of a comprehensive and successful trauma-informed framework
  • Questions to ask to determine if your juvenile or family court is ready for a trauma consultation
  • How to prepare for a consultation
  • What to expect during a consultation
  • How to put consultation recommendations into action

ACEs Too High, an online news site dedicated to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), regularly reports on the need for more trauma-informed courts that are reflected in this NCJFCJ guide. A recent article by writer Ed Finkel reports on local courts who are adopting models of trauma-informed care, and other tools available, such as the Think Trauma curriculum for staff members in juvenile correctional facilities.

Finkel also reported on the trauma-informed approach used by judges to administer sustainable solutions for at-risk youth. The article interviews several judges to gain their perspective on trauma-informed courts.

Most recently, Pediatrician and ACEs leader Nadine Burke Harris brought ACEs to the forefront once again on a national stage during her TEDMED talk emphasizing the health impact of childhood trauma, indicating that those who have experienced high levels of this kind of toxic stress are four times more likely to become depressed, and 12 times more likely to attempt suicide.

The NCJFCJ guide is more timely than ever, as more and more public health leaders are adding to existing evidence that emphasizes the need for trauma-informed care. A trauma-informed court can be a safe and effective point of intervention to vulnerable youth and families, and can help coordinate support or treatment to improve outcomes and get young people on a positive path.

Reclaiming Futures Names Evan Elkin as New National Executive Director

Susan Richardson has recently announced her plans to leave the position of national executive director of Reclaiming Futures to return to her home state of North Carolina, and we are grateful for her years of excellent leadership. Yesterday, Reclaiming Futures appointed Mr. Evan Elkin as national executive director, effective May 11, 2015.

Register for the 2015 Juvenile Justice Youth Summit

Emerging leaders age 17-25 interested in juvenile justice reform will convene at the 2015 Juvenile Justice Youth Summit, co-hosted by The Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) (OJJDP).

The two-day summit—"The Time is Now: Creating Change with Young Emerging Leaders"—takes place July 23-24, 2015 in Washington, DC.

According to the event announcement, “these next generation leaders gain a better understanding of the current juvenile justice system, examine trending reform topics, and participate in various skill-building, hands-on activities.” Agenda topics include: juvenile justice 101; keeping young people out of adult courts, jails, and prisons; and positive youth development. Additional interactive activities will connect these young leaders with key influencers:

  • Hill Day on July 23, 1:30pm - 3:30pm ET - Attendees receive training on legislative advocacy, develop talking points, and visit their members of Congress or their staff to discuss juvenile justice reform and urge them to act on the issue.
  • Job Shadowing on July 24, 1:40pm - 3:40pm ET - Attendees will be matched with a juvenile justice professional who is working in a role/issue of their interest. Attendees will shadow the professional for a few hours to get a sense of what a career might look like in that field.

Help identify emerging leaders in juvenile justice, and encourage them to register for the 2015 Juvenile Justice Youth Summit. We can help foster the next generation of leaders who will ultimately impact the future of juvenile justice.

Registration Details

Registration is now open. Register by April 30 for get the early bird discount rate.

  • Early registration period: March 12 - April 30, $65 -- All
  • Regular Registration Period: May 1 - May 31, $85 -- CJJ Member, $105 -- Non-Member
  • Late Registration Period: June 1 - June 26, $110 -- CJJ Member, $120 -- Non-Member


All participants that register during the early registration period or using the non-member rate will receive a complimentary CJJ membership.

CJJ has a room block reserved at The Liaison Hotel for $189/night. To make your reservation you can call (866) 233-4642 or click here. Please reference the "Coalition for Juvenile Justice" group when making reservations or provide the following reservation ID: 15CJJ.


Contact Jonathan Litt, CJJ's Field Relations Associate, at

Get Your School or Community Involved in National Youth Violence Prevention Week: March 23-27, 2015

Youth violence in the U.S. is the third leading cause of death for young people between the agesSAVE logo of 15 and 24—one of the many reasons National Youth Violence Prevention Week seeks to educate students, teachers, school staff, parents, and the public on effective ways to prevent or reduce youth violence.

Taking place next week, March 23-27, 2015, Youth Violence Prevention Week is founded by The National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE). The initiative kicks off with the 15th SAVE Summit March 21, and expands nationally next week to encourage communities to host events and workshops engaging students in the fight to stop shootings, bullying and other violence in our schools using the planning tools and resources in SAVE’s Action Kit.

According to SAVE, violence in schools has become devastatingly common in the United States (statistics sourced from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention):

  • On average, 1,642 young people 10 to 24 years old had physical assault injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments EVERY DAY last year.
  • Between 20 and 33 percent of U.S. students say they have been bullied at school. 70 percent of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.
  • Only about 20 to 30 percent of students who are bullied notify adults.
  • About 17 percent of high school students in 2013 reported taking a weapon to school.

During the week of March 23-27, SAVE will offer activity ideas for schools and community organizations across the country to host events educating youth on the potential of their positive impacts on their communities. Below are a list of events produced by SAVE and its sponsors:

  • Monday, March 23: Promote Respect and Tolerance day is hosted by Teaching Tolerance, an organization dedicated to reducing prejudice and supporting equitable school experiences for children. Schools can hold a cultural day to celebrate activities, dress and customs from groups around the world.
  • Tuesday, March 24: Manage Your Anger, Don’t Let It Manage You day is hosted by the American School Counselor Organization, which supports school counselors' focus on student development. This day challenges students to create signs or codes to use to communicate when they are angry so they do not let it get out of control.
  • Wednesday, March 25: Resolve Conflicts Peacefully day is hosted by the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network, which aims to ensure each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Students can observe conflicts and engage in group discussions to find effective ways to resolve them.
  • Thursday, March 26: Resolve Conflicts Peacefully day is hosted by the School Safety Advocacy Council, which provides training to school districts, law enforcement agencies and school safety professionals. School administrators will be challenged on this day to conduct a survey to assess students’ perceptions of safety during the school day and ask for suggestions to improve.
  • Friday, March 27: Unite in Action day is hosted by Youth Service America, which increases the number and the diversity of volunteer opportunities for youth around the globe. To wrap up the week, a final challenge will work to “beautify” the school or community by cleaning up graffiti/vandalized areas.Colored wheel of audiences involved in youth's life

Visit the National Youth Violence Prevention Week website for an activity planning guide, as well as suggested ideas targeted at specific audiences involved in young people’s lives (ie: parents, school, senior citizens, law enforcement, medical services, etc.)