Blog: Reclaiming Futures

Youth Justice News Roundup

We round up the latest news on youth justice reform and national public health.

News from the National Executive Director, May 2016

America is facing a heroin and opiate crisis. Heroin is increasingly popular – a report by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration indicates that first-time heroin users doubled between 2006 and 2013 and data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse opiates imageindicate that deadly heroin overdoses increased sixfold in the years between 2001 and 2014. More than ever before, this crisis is addressed as a public health issue more than a public safety or criminal justice issue. This shift has sparked much public debate about why this is the case. Have we finally reached a tipping point as a society in our views of addiction as a health concern? Have irresponsible pain management prescription practices contributed to opening our eyes to one of the epidemic’s root causes? Some argue that race is a critical part of the story and feel that the shifting demographic - with an apparent increase in the proportion of white heroin and opiate users - is what has changed the perception of heroin abuse and finally mobilized policy makers. In this month’s Reclaiming Futures newsletter, we focused our attention on the issues surrounding the opiate crisis and featured a new blog post by Reclaiming Futures Program and Policy Analyst Bridget Murphy.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment Alert!

Deadline Approaching: Review and comment by April 11, 2016

Have you seen the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) proposed changes to 42 CFR Part 2, Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records? If not, we recommend taking a look and commenting as an individual, agency/organizational, or community collaboration. Feel free to share praises and/or critiques about the proposed changes with SAMHSA.

Here are some key highlights:

  • Rewind time to more than four decades ago - 42 CFR Part 2 was conceptualized and approved to provide iPAGE2-COURTROOMndividuals seeking substance use disorder treatment with protections for privacy and confidentiality. It was acknowledged that stigma and fear of potential repercussions (familial, employment; criminal) prevented people from seeking treatment.
  • The last “substantive” update to 42 CFR Part 2 was in 1987 (approaching three decades ago).
  • There have been substantial changes in the way substance use disorder treatment is provided including a greater number of integrated health care centers (primary and behavioral health) and greater use of electronic health records. As such, modernizing 42 CFR Part 2 is necessary.
  • The proposed regulations will continue to apply to federally-assisted “programs“ which “holds itself out as providing, and provides substance use disorder diagnosis, treatment, or referral for treatment.” General medical facilities have always been included as a “program”, but the proposed change adds “general medical practices” to the definition.
  • It proposes if agencies and organizations that have “general designation” on consent form(s) they must provide patients a list of where their information has been shared.
  • Proposes agencies and organizations must have policies and procedures in place to sanitize paper and electronic records.

News from the National Executive Director, March 2016

-sad-tears-cry-depression-mourning-2A critical element of the juvenile justice reform narrative in the past decade has been our elevated understanding of the role that trauma plays in the experiences of young people - particularly those involved with the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. With traumatic events and victimization affecting millions of youth each year, childhood trauma has genuinely become a pressing public health issue.

News from the National Executive Director, February 2016

Maria Hernandez, a Santa Cruz Reclaiming Futures participant, with her mom.

It took decades and a mountain of research evidence showing that incarcerating adolescents does little to prevent recidivism before policymakers took notice and began supporting measures to reduce incarceration and invest in community-based alternatives that prioritize treatment and support for youth and their families. Increasingly, over the past 15 years, we have seen the field come together around the common goal of creating a system for justice-involved youth that is more therapeutic, less punitive, less reliant on detention and incarceration, and more thoroughly grounded in research evidence and best practice. The catalyst for this paradigm shift has been a series of significant strategic investments by federal agencies and by major foundations like Annie E. Casey with its Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, the MacArthur Foundation and its Models for Change, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) investment in Reclaiming Futures. These investments have all paid off in different ways to drive the field forward.

Reclaiming Futures Cuts Crime, Saves Money

National evaluation shows that Reclaiming Futures generated $11 million in cost savings over one year; promoted better outcomes for teens and communities.

Five communities using the Reclaiming Futures model — a national public health and juvenile justice reform framework that promotes effective treatment practices — saved $11 million in one year. The national evaluation showed that juvenile drug courts implementing the Reclaiming Futures model saw significant reductions in crime and delinquency, which drove these notable fiscal savings.

Conducted by the University of Arizona’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women and funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention through an interagency agreement with the Library of Congress, research examined cost savings over a 12-month period at five juvenile drug courts around the country where the Reclaiming Futures model was implemented. Results show that the savings from implementing Reclaiming Futures are more than double its cost; net savings amounted to $84,569 per teen. Serving a total of 139 teens over the year of the study, these five communities saved more than $11 million in total. Further, average savings were even greater among participating teens with severe clinical problems, amounting to $232,109 in savings per teen.

12th Annual Natural Helper Recognition Banquet in Montgomery County, Ohio

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 RFBanq2015GroupReclaiming 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.”

Welcoming NW Ohio: Our New Rural Community Collaborative Site

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...

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 use and teen mental health areas. There is no cost to browse or to post!

Next Week: A Restorative Justice Interactive Webinar Opportunity

so what is restorative justiceAccording to research conducted by The World Prison Brief, the United States has the highest prison population of any developed country in the world. The tendency to incarcerate, rather than rehabilitate, has taken its toll on our country’s most vulnerable youth. Due to increased public awareness around this issue, communities nationwide are exploring and implementing alternatives to incarceration -- as well as actively seeking to end the school-to-prison pipeline. Restorative Justice is one of the alternatives to the standard juvenile justice approach.

‘Somebody Asked:’ A Simple Strategy to Address Substance Use

This story was originally published in It is authored by Alexa Eggleston, a senior program officer, domestic programs at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. 

Alexa-Eggleston2-336x504In the first two years of our work to advance new approaches to prevent and reduce substance use among youth and young adults, a key finding we often share surprises most people: Young people actually think health care practitioners should talk to them about alcohol and drugs.

Unfortunately, most health care providers do not screen their adolescent patients for substance use as part of routine clinical care.  And no, we aren’t talking about the “Just Say No” approach of the ‘80s and ‘90s, but a new approach based in the research literature that frames substance use as a health issue.

Just as health care practitioners counsel young people about other health matters — like the importance of eating right, exercise and safe sex — there is a new movement to apply these same strategies to discuss the negative impact that alcohol and drugs can have on their health, relationships and other things that matter to them.

Mural Dedication Attracts Community Support for Reclaiming Futures

The Reclaiming Futures program in Montgomery County, Ohio, has been using arts New Image1programming to build assets in our young people since 2010. More than 110 youth have benefited from the Helping Adolescents Achieve Long-term Objectives (HAALO) program since that time.

On June 30, 2015 Montgomery County Juvenile Court hosted a Community Mural Dedication to celebrate the amazing work of the HAALO Program. The “Signs to a Creative Future” mural was dedicated to the youth artists who spent countless hours conceptualizing and creating the mural.

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.

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).

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.

Montgomery County Juvenile Drug Court Graduation

On Thursday May 21, 2015, the Honorable Judge Anthony Capizzi hosted his annual Drug Court Graduation.  This year’s graduation was unique in that it was the first time  the graduation was not held at the Montgomery County Juvenile Justice Center.  The celebration of recovery was held in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.  The Honorable Judge Walter Rice shared his bench with The Honorable Juunnameddge Anthony Capizzi to preside over the graduation in United States District Court Federal Building in Dayton, Ohio.

During the first part of the ceremony Judge Rice shared the bench with Judge Capizzi, as they both welcomed the eleven graduating youth, families, court staff, Deputy Director and Director of Ohio Department of Youth Services and various elected officials from Montgomery County.  Once the welcome was complete, Judge Anthony Capizzi shifted his attention to the amazing accomplishments of the eleven graduates, and became the first visiting judge to preside over a Juvenile Drug Court Graduation in the United States District Court.

House Proposal Would Eliminate Key JJDPA Funding; News Roundup

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

House Proposal Would Eliminate Key JJDPA Funding (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange)
This past week the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Sciences & Related Agencies, released their FY'16 Appropriations proposal, causing alarm in the juvenile justice community. Juvenile justice funding that goes to states, under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, would be eliminated under the new proposal. For more information you can  check out this JJIE story by Gary Gately,  and also follow National Juvenile Justice Network for updates.

Saying Goodbye: Reclaiming Futures Recognizes the Impact of Susan Richardson

farewellpost We recently announced the departure of Susan Richardson, Reclaiming Futures’ current national executive director. Effective May 11, Susan will transition out of the organization and return to North Carolina after four years leading and overseeing the national program office in Portland, Oregon.

In commemoration of Susan’s work over the last few years, the Reclaiming Futures team has gathered their favorite memories working under her leadership:

Susan has been an incredible force within and across Reclaiming Futures since we first met years ago.  Her passion, dedication and determination to learn, promote, advance and celebrate the mission, the values and the spirit of the initiative has been unmatched. She has tirelessly tended and expanded the networks and partners of RF.  She has thoughtfully shepherded an important (and challenging) transitional phase of our effort.  Her contributions will always be valued and we will miss her regular presence in our ranks - but truly consider her a valued part of the Reclaiming Futures family.  Thank you Susan!!!
-Laura Nissen, Ph.D., LMSW, CADC III, Dean and Professor, School of Social Work, Portland State University