Blog: Reclaiming Futures

Reclaiming Futures Kicks Off in Orange & Chatham Counties, North Carolina

Susan PowellJudge ScarlettOur project site in Orange and Chatham Counties, North Carolina, recently held its kick-off meeting, generating lots of excitement. Susan Powell, Community Fellow for the site -- pictured on the far left -- wrote in to tell us about it:
On Thursday, January 22, 2009, the Orange Chatham Counties Reclaiming Futures initiative hosted its kick-off meeting. Reclaiming Futures coach Elleen Deck & consultant Judy Schector did a wonderful job explaining the Reclaiming Futures model, goals, and approach to those in attendance.  The Reclaiming Futures Fellows were pleased to see such a wonderful turn-out and participation by the group as a whole. Several prominent members of our community attended the meeting.

Engage Families in Juvenile Justice System Reform and Advocacy - More Ideas

lightbulbA couple days ago, we posted six tips on engaging family members in your efforts to reform the juvenile justice system and how it works with teens with drug and alcohol problems. Grace Bauer, who authored the tips, wrote to say that some excellent additional resources are coming:

Six Tips for Engaging Families in Juvenile Justice System Reform and Advocacy

cartoon - 4 people fitting puzzle pieces Families can be one of the most powerful levers for changing how youth in the juvenile justice system access alcohol and drug treatment -- and improving its quality. But involving family members in reform work is difficult.
Fortunately, it's a skill that can be learned. To help you along, we're reprinting below a newsletter column written by Grace Bauer, Community Organizer for the Campaign for Youth Justice. --Ed.

Strategies for Engaging Families in
Advocacy and System Reform Efforts
by Grace Bauer

Reclaiming Futures, Meet New Orleans!

L.J. Hernandez is a Program Specialist in the Reclaiming Futures National Program Office, and she has a message just for the Reclaiming Futures sites:
lobby of Omni Royal Orleans Hotel Home to Mardi Gras and a melting pot of cultures, New Orleans is the site for the 2009 Reclaiming Futures Leadership Institute, April 28-May 1, 2009. The theme of this year’s Leadership Institute (which is exclusively for Reclaiming Futures sites) is “From Demonstration to Movement: Charting Our Course.” We’re very excited about this meeting because it will be the largest one that Reclaiming Futures has ever held.

Reclaiming Futures on Comcast Newsmakers

  • Want a quick orientation to Reclaiming Futures?
  • Work for a Reclaiming Futures initiative, and wonder how to do an "elevator speech" about it? 

Check out Dr. Laura Nissen, National Director of Reclaiming Futures, in this brief, 4-minute interview on Comcast Newsmakers. It aired in a break on Comcast's CNN Headline News in late December.

Take Our Survey: When Are Teens Screened for Substance Abuse in Your Legal System?

Judge BordersJudge Bettina Borders has some questions for you.
Judge Borders is first justice of the Bristol County Juvenile Court at the Reclaiming Futures site in Bristol County, MA. Her site is in the process of developing a uniform drug screening tool.* As part of the process, the judge would like to hear from other jurisdictions about the following:

Reclaiming Futures Anchorage Plays Role in Development of Anchorage United for Youth

Cover of Anchorage report
Reclaiming Futures focuses on teens with alcohol and drug problems who are in trouble with the law. A key component of our approach is to integrate the existing systems that work with youth, which can mean working on an even broader array of youth issues.
One Reclaiming Futures site that's done that very well? Anchorage, Alaska. Over the past two years, the Anchorage site worked to bring together all of the local coalitions working on youth issues into one effort, called Anchorage United for Youth, organizing around three common goals:

Round-up: State Budget Gaps, Research on Alcohol and Kids, Vulnerable Populations in Juvenile Justice

Even though it was a holiday week, I ran across a number of interesting stories and resources.

A Season of New Beginnings for Reclaiming Futures

Model of US Capitol at botanic gardens in D.C.In mid-December, we hosted our annual Project Director Fellowship in  Washington, D.C. (Click on photo at left to see a larger view of a model of the U.S. Capitol that I spotted at the botanic gardens.) Project Directors from our ten original sites, our first three expansion sites, and all ten of the sites that started this past fall attended. While everyone had gotten acquainted by phone to a certain extent, nothing matches the energy, creativity and momentum of getting together in person to reflect about lessons learned, and create strategy for moving the initiative forward both locally and nationally.

Our agenda included opportunities to: get overviews of each new community joining Reclaiming Futures; compare notes about progress made thus far in sites that begain in 2007; and assess long-term changes that have occurred in the our ten original sites.

Mentors for Youth in the Justice System - Seattle's 4C Coalition

4C Coalition logoHazel Cameron -- a Reclaiming Futures Community Fellow -- knows a thing or two about recruiting mentors for youth involved in the justice system.
Her 4C Coalition has partnered with the Reclaiming Futures initiative in Seattle for years now, successfully pairing youth with caring adults.
The Coalition just made a splash in the Seattle Times, too. (You can also find a PDF of the story here.) Congratulations to Hazel and all her colleagues!
UPDATE: The 4C Coalition recently joined the National CARES Mentoring Movement, which states that it has "mounted the largest mentor recruitment effort in the history of this nation aimed at securing the lives of our young black boys and girls." CARES has mentor-recruitment circles in 53 communities across the country, including several other Reclaiming Futures sites: Anchorage, Chicago, Dayton, and Greensboro (Guilford County). Is your community part of the movement?

Washington State's Strategic Plan for Improving Adolescent Treatment

Front cover of Washington State Adolescent Treatment Strategic PlanDoes your state have a plan for improving treatment for teens with substance abuse problems?

Jim Vollendroff and I had the privilege to attend numerous meetings and contribute to the creation of a Washington State strategic plan on adolescent substance abuse treatment. (Jim is the Chemical Dependency Coordinator for King County, WA, and a Reclaiming Futures Treatment Fellow.) The Reclaiming Futures Model was our concrete framework to assure that the entire group focused on system areas that need to be addressed and/or changed. 
Here's an introduction to the plan from David Jefferson, the former CSAT Grant Coordinator housed at the Washington State's Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA):

Resource Guide for the Justice System on Evidence-Based Approaches to Address Substance Abuse

Cover of resource guidePhysicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy (PLNDP) has partnered with the National Judicial College to create Alcohol and Other Drug Problems: a Public Health and Public Safety Priority, A Resource Guide for the Justice System on Evidence-Based Approaches. (Order free copies for yourself and your team; download the PDF; or access it on the web.)

Site Visits: A Nassau County, New York Perspective - Part 1

Dennis Reilly, Project Director of the Reclaiming Futures initiative in Nassau County, New York, writes:
Judge Marks and Warren Graham from Nassau County, New YorkOn November 14, 2008, the Nassau County Reclaiming Futures site hosted a full-day site visit for Reclaiming Futures National Program Office leaders Laura Burney Nissen, Jim Carlton, and Reclaiming Futures Anchorage coach Tom Begich. We were very pleased with the results of this meeting, and thought we should share our planning process and site visit preparations with other sites.
(Shown here are the Honorable John G. Marks, who presides over the Nassau County Juvenile Treatment Court, and Warren Graham, who directs the  juvenile treatment court and co-directs the local Reclaiming Futures initiatve. Click on the image to enlarge it and see what they're holding.)

What Have the Reclaiming Futures Fellowships Learned?

Cover of Report from Probation FellowshipoAs the first, five-year pilot phase of Reclaiming Futures came to a close, each of the participating Fellowships published a report that contains highly valuable information for any community attempting to improve the way its system deals with youth caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime. (Reclaiming Futures uses professional "Fellowships" of judges, probation officers, treatment professionals, community members, and local project directors to drive change in local communities. The Fellows from all participating communities gather several times a year to share what they're learning.)
These  Fellowship reports are available on the Reclaiming Futures website, but at the Project Directors' conference last week, I was asked to repost them in one place. And why not? After all, they're not just useful for Reclaiming Futures communities, they're useful for any community that wishes to change the way it does business for teens in the justice system who need addiction treatment. So, here they all are --