Blog: Reclaiming Futures

Juvenile Drug Courts & Reclaiming Futures -- Evaluation Grant Opportunity

juvenile-drug-courts_abstract-shapesAre you a researcher with a background or interest in juvenile drug courts? Know someone who fits the bill?
Then check out a new grant solicitation from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to evaluate juvenile drug courts implemented with the Reclaiming Futures model. These sites have also been funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
This goal of this three-year grant is "to conduct an independent evaluation of the combined effects of the two interventions to determine what system-level changes may result in increased efficiencies and cost effectiveness."
Objectives(as listed in the solicitation):

  1. Assess the operations of juvenile drug courts/Reclaiming Futures model using established indices for performance, efficiencies, and cost effectiveness.
  2. Improve the empirical knowledge base about juvenile drug courts and the Reclaiming Futures model.
  3. Analyze the efficacy of combined efforts of juvenile drug courts and the Reclaiming Futures model.
  4. Conduct case studies using administrative, collaboration, and quality indices and the sixteen (16) key elements of juvenile drug courts.
  5. Evaluate the potential for replication of these models

Application deadline is August 20, 2010.

"Brain Cells. Trust Me, You Need Them," and More in Our Weekly Roundup


  • Families and teens often need a quick orientation to the juvenile justice system -- but there's never one there when you want one. YouTube is changing that, though. Above is a 9-1/2-minute video from a Florida teen court that provides a thorough overview of how things work there (although it is, unfortunately, cut off prematurely.) Anyone have other examples they want to share?

Making the Case for Your Program: Social Return on Investment

juvenile-court_calculations-on-graph-paperIs your program for youth in juvenile court worth it? 
Does it really make sense to spend all that money on treating a kid for his drug habit, or to provide 20 teens with job readiness skills? 
Chances are, it does. Your program probably saves the community a lot of money in avoided costs -- but can you prove it?  That's the tricky part.

Supporting Teens in Treatment and Beyond: Our Community Summit and Lessons Learned

community-involvement_people-working-at-tablesI’m sure you already know the Reclaiming Futures mantra for teens in the justice system who have alcohol and drug issues: “More treatment, better treatment, and beyond treatment!”
The hardest part of the mantra to bring to fruition is the third part of it – how can we help support youth in recovery once they’re done with treatment (or even the juvenile court)? Changing behavior for the long-term isn’t easy, and youth need positive activities and supportive adults to help them stay sober and crime-free.
To begin to tackle our own “beyond treatment” plan, Bristol County Reclaiming Futures recently hosted a “sustainability summit.” Our goal was to initiate conversation about how to better meet the needs of at-risk and justice-involved youth with substance abuse issues, and I’m happy to report that the project generated a lot of positive energy and even made the news! We generated a number of strategies to move forward, and a task force comprised of summit attendees and other interested parties soon begin working on implementing them. (Special thanks to Dan Merrigan of Boston University, our Reclaiming Futures coach, for facilitating the work group project.)
Some highlights:

Mentors for Teens in the Justice System - Reclaiming Futures in Dayton Issues Call to Community

juvenile-court-mentors_top-story-WDTN In June, Reclaiming Futures Montgomery County in Dayton, OH, held a successful event asking members of the community to mentor teens in the justice system struggling with alcohol and drug issues. (Dayton already has a great track record in this area, having already recruited and trained over 190 "natural helpers" for these youth.) 
The event garnered a news story in the Dayton Daily News, “Kids in Juvenile Court in Need of Mentors,” and it was the "top story" (see right) on the evening news, in a story called, "Helping Teens with Mentors
Great work, team!

Related Post: Reclaiming Futures sites in Bristol County, MA, and Forsyth County, NC, also recently reached out to the community for assistance in working with teens involved in drugs, alcohol, and crime.
Bonus Related Post: Having trouble organizing successful outreach? You may be missing a key element from the community: families with children involved in the juvenile justice system. Check out this post for tips on how to engage these families and others.

Juvenile Drug Courts and Reclaiming Futures Highlighted in Attorney General's Speech

The Department of Justice's ongoing work to integrate juvenile drug courts and the Reclaiming Futures model was highlighted by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder when he addressed the opening session of a conference held by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) on June 3, 2010. If you click on the video above, you'll see he speaks briefly about the administration's overall efforts to draw on innovative approaches to adolescent substance abuse around 14:40.
In the same segment, he indicates that three more juvenile drug court awards will be made this fall jointly with the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) -- and he also mentions that a summit on adolescent recovery is planned for this fall. Looking forward to that! 

Juvenile Justice System - Reclaiming Futures Sites Appeal to Community

juvenile-justice-system_Judge-Reingold-Forsyth-County-TVReclaiming Futures sites have been appealing to their communities for caring adults to help teens with drug and alcohol problems who are in trouble with the law. A community event in Forsyth County, NC recently made the TV news (the Honorable William B. Reingold is pictured at left), the paper, and also netted a positive editorial from the Winston-Salem Journal.  [LATER: Reclaiming Futures Forsyth County also appeared in a second paper, the Winston-Salem Chronicle. To see it, follow the link, then click on "Archive" and choose the paper for June 17, 2010. Then navigate to page 3. The article is titled, "A Different Approach."]
And our Bristol County, MA site also made the paper a few weeks ago with a community meeting of its own on helping drug-involved youth
Great work, everyone!
P.S. Want to bring attention to juvenile justice reform in your community? Check out this communications toolkit for justice initiatives from the Center for Court Innovation and the Bureau of Justice Affairs.

Reclaiming Futures' National Project Director to Step Down in May 2011

Reclaiming-Futures_highways-crossing-in-sunriseAfter more than 10 years with Reclaiming Futures, I have decided to step down as national program director, in order to concentrate on teaching and research in my role as a faculty member at the School of Social Work at Portland State University. I will continue to serve as national director until my successor begins work.
The search for a new national director will begin soon, and our plan is to have a new leader in place at our next leadership institute in May 2011. We are forming a search committee of four to six people who are close to the project to advise us about the selection process. A job announcement is forthcoming soon.

Juvenile Justice Reform: What Happens When You Lose a Team Member?

juvenile-justice-reform_moody-picture-of-treesOn Monday, April 19th 2010, Nassau County’s Family Court Deputy County Attorney’s Office was advised that the county was restructuring the department. Our Juvenile Treatment Court prosecutors, Gregg Roth and Arianne Reyer, were advised their services were no longer needed as of Friday, April 30th. Arianne was later given a temporary reprieve, but Gregg is gone.
This move was devastating to the treatment court and to the Reclaiming Futures initiative here, which had built a cohesive working group over the last three years. Just as when I was younger and my brother left home for the military, it had never occurred to me that anyone would ever leave our team. I am left feeling abandoned and alone with Gregg’s departure, just like I did when my brother went off to the Army. Our Nassau County Juvenile Treatment Court/Reclaiming Futures Change Team is family, and one of us is no longer here.

Joint Meeting on Adolescent Treatment Effectiveness - Find it on Facebook!

adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_JMATE-on-Facebook-profileThe Joint Meeting on Adolescent Treatment Effectiveness (JMATE) - the only national conference specifically devoted to adolescent substance abuse treatment -- is coming up in December. JMATE has issued a call for papers, registration opens June 1st, and now you can follow JMATE on Facebook.
Reclaiming Futures is one of the co-sponsors, but even if it weren't, I'd be encouraging you to go. I've been to several JMATEs and they were all excellent, informative events. (Also, it's great to be at a treatment conference and never have to ask after a presentation, "Say, does your research apply to teens as well as adults?")

Juvenile Justice Reform Video: Reclaiming Futures Works

Click on the video above to hear the story of one teen struggling with substance abuse in juvenile court at the Reclaiming Futures site in Montgomery County (Dayton), OH, and how Reclaiming Futures made a difference in her life.
Watch it now and share it with your colleagues! It's moving, informative, and extremely well-done.
We're grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) for making the video. Congratulations to Judge Anthony Capizzi and Reclaiming Futures project director Charlotte McGuire and their entire team for all of their great work. 

Reclaiming Futures and Juvenile Drug Courts at CADCA Conference

juvenile-drug-courts_CADCA-logoAre you attending the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) 20th Annual National Leadership Forum in National Harbor, MD next week?
Come and join us to learn more about how Reclaiming Futures is being implemented through juvenile drug court grants from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
The workshop, titled, "Juvenile Drug Courts:  Building the Model," will give an overview of juvenile drug courts -- their history, challenges, 16 strategies for developing and maintaining them, and current performance measures for success. It will also focus on OJJDP's work to build the juvenile drug court program model through its partnerships with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Reclaiming Futures.
Gwen Williams, MSW, who is a Program manager at OJJDP, will be the primary presenter. She will be joined by Yvonne Sherrer, Community Fellow at the Reclaiming Futures site in Dayton, OH, and Christa Meyers, Project Director at the Reclaiming Futures site in Hocking County, OH
"Juvenile Drug Courts:  Building the Model" will be held on Thursday, February 11th, from 4:15 pm - 5:15 pm, in the room called "National Harbor 4/5."

Reclaiming Futures - the RWJF Grant Results Report

Reclaiming-Futures-juvenile-justice-reform_thick-bookLast month, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) released a "grant results report" on the first seven years of Reclaiming Futures.
You can read the summary; useful sidebars, such as the testimony of a teen from Portland, OR before congressional staffers on the importance of Reclaiming Futures in helping her get off meth; or "Lessons Learned" from the project directors of the 10 founding sites.
Go here to access the entire grants results report for an in-depth perspective on how this initiative helps communities improve adolescent substance abuse treatment for youth in the justice system.

11 Things to Do with Teens in the Justice System

juvenile-justice-reform-positive-youth-development-11-activities-teens-jumpingLast week, I featured our top 10 stories on juvenile justice and adolescent substance abuse treatment and 8 great resources to improve adolescent substance abuse treatment.
This week, I'm highlighting posts from our first year to help you focus on creative ways to help teens in the justice system and in recovery learn skills that will help them live crime-free and drug-free lives.
Here's 11 things you can do with teens in your justice system:

8 Great Resources for Improving Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment

adolescent-substance-abuse-8-resources-top-of-the-pops-album-coverWant help improving adolescent substance abuse treatment in your community? We've published a lot of excellent resources since we launched this blog a year ago. 
(Yes, we're still celebrating this blog's birthday. Missed our earlier celebration? Check out the list of our top 10 most popular stories on juvenile justice and adolescent substance abuse.)
Here's eight more great posts from our archives, aimed at helping you with teen treatment:

Our Top 10 Stories on Juvenile Justice and Adolescent Treatment - Part 2

Reclaiming-Futures-anniversary-part-2-birthday-cakeYesterday, to celebrate the first anniversary of this blog, we began reposting our top 10 posts from the past year, including one on engaging the families of youth in the juvenile justice system, how to handle confidentiality and consent issues when connecting kids with adolescent substance abuse treatment, and more.
Today, our celebration continues with our top five posts (in reverse order of popularity): 

Our Top 10 Stories on Juvenile Justice and Adolescent Substance Abuse - Part 1

reclaiming-futures-turns-1-birthday-cakeThe Reclaiming Futures blog turns one year old today!
To celebrate a great first year of sharing news, conversation, and resources related to juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse, and (of course) Reclaiming Futures, I've pulled together a list of our top 10 most popular stories.
Today, I'll post five of them, in reverse order of popularity:
#10. Six Tips for Engaging Families in Juvenile Justice System Reform and Advocacy - Involving families is always a struggle for juvenile justice systems. So in this post, Grace Bauer, Field Organizer for the Campaign for Youth Justice, tells you how you can get it done. 

Roundup: Reclaiming Futures in Action; California Mulls Legalizing (and Taxing) Marijuana; and More

juvenile-justice-reform-adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment-news-TVJuvenile Justice Reform Stories

Free Webinar: Anti-Oppressive Practice Basics

What is "Anti-Oppressive Practice"?

It's an emerging framework to advance attention to diversity and social justice in the way community systems and services operate.
In this free webinar, Dr. Laura Nissen and Dr. Ann Curry-Stevens will explain the evolution of cultural competence frameworks and their impact on the fields of substance abuse treatment, justice and others.
The presenters will identify how concepts of oppression, privilege and disparities impact the way in which services are constructed and successes are measured. And finally, the presenters will identify selected tools to increase anti-oppressive practice specific to the Reclaiming Futures initiative.

Nearly $3.7 Million in Federal Funds Awarded to Help New Reclaiming Futures Sites Turn Teen Lives Around

New federal funding has been awarded to expand the Reclaiming Futures model into three more juvenile drug courts across the country over the next four years.
The nearly $3.7 million federal investment was announced by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). RWJF is providing approximately $1 million in additional technical assistance to implement the Reclaiming Futures model.