Blog: Reclaiming Futures

JMATE 2012: Ask a Judge: Demystifying Juvenile Court and How Judges and Treatment Providers Can Partner Together Successfully

Earlier this afternoon, I sat in on a JMATE panel with three juvenile court judges who discussed how Reclaiming Futures works in their courts and why other courts should consider implementing the model. 
Judge Anthony Capizzi of Dayton, Ohio, began the presentation with the problem: too many teens today are struggling with drugs, alcohol and crime. Eighty percent of the youth Judge Capizzi sees have alcohol or other drug problems and many are self medicating. And this is not unique to Ohio.
As a juvenile court judge, Judge Capizzi finds that treatment helps reduce recidivism, saves money and builds safer communities. BUT most juvenile courts are not set up to detect and treat substance abuse or provide mental health services. And this is where the six step Reclaiming Futures model comes in. Under the Reclaiming Futures model, court teams are set up with a judge, probation officer, treatment provider and community members. The teams work together to make sure that kids are screened for alcohol and other drugs at intake and sent to treatment when needed.

Reclaiming Futures rolls out updated logo

In May, Reclaiming Futures celebrates 10 years of breaking the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime. We look forward to marking this milestone by freshening up the national identity and highlighting the success of 29 sites changing the way communities treat kids with substance abuse problems in the justice system across the United States.
The Reclaiming Futures icon has been redesigned to reflect a more modern, simplified and professional symbol while maintaining the movement and overall shape of the original logo. The new logo was born from the star in the original logo, representing the hopes and wishes for young people and their communities.
This new look draws on the experience of the past decade.
The Reclaiming Futures model unites juvenile courts, probation, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and the community to reclaim youth. Together, they work to improve drug and alcohol treatment and connect teens to positive activities and caring adults.
Because we believe in youth potential and the power of the community to make change, we are working to spread the model to all juvenile courts.
We need your help. Please help us spread the word. By bringing Reclaiming Futures to your community, you can:

  • Change the way your community treats kids in the justice system with substance abuse problems.
  • Help young people stay out of trouble with the law.
  • Improve public safety and save money.
  • Give young people the support they need—more treatment, better treatment and beyond treatment—to turn their lives around.

Please email to learn more about investing in Reclaiming Futures.

Follow our JMATE Coverage on Twitter

A number of our fellows and staff are tweeting live from the Joint Meeting on Adolescent Treatment Effectiveness (JMATE). If you're on Twitter, follow along and join in the conversation using #JMATE. And for those not on Twitter, follow along on the blog!

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Reclaiming Futures' Presentations at JMATE 2012

I'm excited to share not only the schedule for this year's Joint Meeting on Adolescent Treatment Effectiveness (JMATE), but also the schedule for Reclaiming Futures' presentations: 
Tuesday, April 10

  • 11:15 am - Evolving Community Interventions for Juvenile Justice Involved Youth
  • 11:15 am - Organizational Issues in an Era of Change
  • 11:15 am - Ask a Judge: Demystifying Juvenile Court and How Judges and Treatment Providers Can Partner Together Successfully
  • 2:15 pm - The Juvenile Drug Court and Reclaiming Futures Models: An Evidence-Based Systems Approach to Drug Court Service Delivery

Wednesday April 12

  • 2:45 pm - Engaging Community in Recovery Support Networks: Lessons from Reclaiming Futures' Community Fellows
  • 2:45 pm - Road Map for Evidence-Based Practice Implementation

Thursday, April 13

  • 11:45 am - Reclaiming Futures Projects Confront Adolescent Opiod Use

Reclaiming Futures at JMATE 2012

Many of the Reclaiming Futures staff and fellows (myself included) are attending this year's annual JMATE conference. We are excited to meet many of you and to share best practices in the juvenile justice and adolescent substance abuse treatment fields. In fact, we sincerely hope that should you see one of us in the elevator or at a panel, you will come up and say hello and introduce yourself. And to make that easier, here's a roster of Reclaiming Futures folks attending the conference:
Susan Richardson, National Executive Director

Jim Carlton, Deputy Director

Cora Crary, Learning Collaborative Manager

Dr. Laura Nissen, Special Advisor


Juvenile Justice Reform and Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment News Roundup

Funding Opportunity

Become a Reclaiming Futures site
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) seeks applicants for $1.325 million/four year grant opportunities. The funding intends to build the capacity of states, state and local courts, units of local government, and Indian tribal governments to develop and establish juvenile drug courts, incorporating the Reclaiming Futures model. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. E.T. on May 16, 2012.
Juvenile Justice Reform
Eastern Panhandle Program Designed to Keep Youth Offenders on Drug-Free Path
West Virginia Herald Mail
West Virginia’s first Juvenile Drug Court opened in Cabell County, W.Va., in 1999, and it’s taken 13 years for the benefits of the program to reach out to youngsters heading for trouble in the Eastern Panhandle.

Study Finds Alarming Number of 7th Graders are Victims of Dating Violence
Houston Chronicle
Study on dating violence that found one in three have been the victims of psychological dating violence and nearly one in six have been the victim of physical dating violence.
Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment
Illinois Taxpayers Save Money Sending Criminals Through Drug Court
FOX Chicago
Will County taxpayers spent $30,000 to graduate ten people on Thursday, but they actually saved $200,000 -- and probably some lives -- in a program that's proving to be the smartest money in crime prevention.

Funding Opportunity: Become a Reclaiming Futures Site!

We are excited to announce that the DOJ, OJP and OJJDP are seeking applications for $1.325 million in funding (over 4 years) to spread and implement the Reclaiming Futures model! More specifically, grants will be given to build the capacity of states, courts, local governments and Indian tribal governments to develop and establish Reclaiming Futures' juvenile drug courts.
From the request for proposals:

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is pleased to announce that it is seeking applications for funding under the FY 2012 Juvenile Drug Courts/Reclaiming Futures program. This program furthers the Department’s mission by building the capacity of states, state and local courts, units of local government, and Indian tribal governments to develop and establish juvenile drug courts for substance abusing juvenile offenders.

For more information and to apply, please click here. The deadline to apply is May 16, 2012, at 11:59 ET. Best of luck!

Changing Young Lives in Massachusetts

The Reclaiming Futures model is used in 29 communities (in 17 states) across the country. As National Executive Director Susan Richardson often says, "if you've seen one court, you've seen one court," meaning that while every Reclaiming Futures court implements the same six step model, there are often differences in the program based on what works in each community. In Snohomish County, Washington, troubled teens work with local artists to learn glass blowing and creative writing. In Oklahoma's Cherokee Nation, youth learn about their heritage and partake in cultural events. And in Bristol County, Massachusetts, the focus is on building teens' self-esteem and self-worth. One model with many different approaches -- and all with great results. 
The South Coast Today recently wrote about the success of Reclaiming Futures in Bristol County. From the article:

Liveblogging Shay Bilchik at PSU: Improving Systemic Coordination and Outcomes for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System

Shay Bilchik (founder and Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute) is at Portland State University this afternoon to discuss the juvenile justice system. I'll be liveblogging his talk here, so tune in!
"If We Knew Then, What We Know Now: Implications for Juvenile Justice Policy in America"
4:45pm Dr. David Springer (upcoming Dean of PSU's School of Social Work): I've had the pleasure of serving with Shay on a juvenile justice panel in Austin about a year ago, and we're all in for a real treat.
4:50pm Bilchik: We're launching work with Multnomah and Marion counties' juvenile justice systems...
Oregon has demonstrated a vision that shows the possibility of serving children and families in a great way. The multi-system juvenile justice system here is the best in the country. 
4:55pm Bilchik: We're primed to build a better and smarter juvenile justice system. It's no longer just the juvenile justice field, youth development field, education fields.. we're now working across systems. As Dr. Laura Nissen says, "these are boundary founders" who are working across multiple fields. To put it simply, we want to provide love, opportunity and hope to the children who come in contact with the juvenile justice system.
5:05pm Bilchik: We need to make sure that none of our children fall through the cracks and too often we don't do that. Too often these kids are without power (living in impoverished communities) and kids of color.
So what would we have done differently if we knew then what we know now?

Join us for a Juvenile Justice Discussion with Shay Bilchik in Portland

For those in the Portland, Oregon area: We're joining PSU's School of Social Work in hosting Shay Bilchik for a lecture and discussion on the juvenile justice system. He'll address ways to improve systemic coordination and outcomes for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. A local panel of experts will react to Shay's remarks and Dr. David Springer (incoming Dean of the School of Social Work) will moderate.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
4:30 - 6:00 pm (doors open at 4)
Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 327/328
Portland State University
Shay is the founder and Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute.  Prior to joining the Institute in 2007, he was the President and CEO of the Child Welfare League of America. Previously, he headed up the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in the U.S. Department of Justice, where he advocated for and supported a balanced and multi-systems approach to attacking juvenile crime and addressing child victimization. Before coming to the nation's capital, Shay was an Assistant State Attorney in Miami, Florida from 1977-1993, where he served as a trial lawyer, juvenile division chief and Chief Assistant State Attorney. Shay earned his B.S. and J.D. degrees from the University of Florida.
RSVP here and let me know if you're going. I hope to see you there!

Takeaways from Oklahoma: Cultural Sensitivity and Evidence-Based Practices Matter

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Reclaiming Futures Cherokee Nation site in Oklahoma. I am especially impressed by how committed the team members are to not only serving the youth of the Cherokee Nation, but also to helping them connect with their cultural heritage.
I had a couple of key takeaways:

  • Cultural sensitivity is key: As Treatment Fellow Lori Medina mentions in her video, the Cherokee Nation site has unique cultural challenges in working with local teens. Being able to fully understand and relate to Native American culture has allowed the site to truly connect with troubled kids and make sure they are on the path to rehabilitation and success. There is a particular focus on learning how to make Native American crafts and participating in cultural events, which not only teaches the kids a marketable trade, but also helps them to connect to their heritage and community.
  • Evidence-based practices are crucial: Project Director Jennifer Kirby is a big supporter of using evidence-based practices to improve treatment for troubled teens. As Jennifer explains in her video, the Reclaiming Futures model provides them with the tools to better assess troubled youth at intake. This allows them to make better-informed recommendations for treatment and services, which leads to stronger outcomes.


Cheryl Reed: Serving Portland State University for 20 outstanding years

One the most valuable lessons I've learned in my first year as national executive director of Reclaiming Futures, is who really runs this office. As anyone who calls or visits our office knows, Chery Reed is a quiet and powerful force, who makes certain that our work is always done to the highest standard.
Cheryl came to the position of administrative manager for Reclaiming Futures from the impressive job of marketing and public information at Portland State University. Cheryl has always worked in education and the arts. She taught in public school and served as education director for a regional arts council in Oregon. Her graduate degree is from the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts.
Please join me in celebrating Cheryl's impressive 20 years of service to Portland State University.

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.

Lessons of Whitney Houston's addiction and more -- news roundup.

Juvenile Justice Reform

Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment

Greetings from North Carolina's Reclaiming Futures Office

Reclaiming Futures is a philosophy of how we assess the needs of our youths in the juvenile justice system and connect them to the services they need, from substance abuse treatment to community-based activities that make a long-term difference.

North Carolina's statewide Reclaiming Futures office will work with sites and state level partners to implement the RF model in local sites and identify ways to integrate with state level systems of care.

We will be working to ensure that local sites have access to the data systems they need to document the model and its impact on the youths being served.

With my background as the research and evaluation director for a non-profit, I know how critical it is that local and state partners have access to data about the impact of this initiative on youths and their families. This will both demonstrate the return on investment in the model, and ensure data is timely, allowing for continuous quality improvement of services for youth.

Should juvenile hearings be opened to news media? and more: news roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • California activists calling for changes to state’s juvenile justice system
    Juvenile Justice Information Exchange:
    Last month, California’s Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice(CJCJ) released a policy brief recommending phased juvenile justice realignment beginning later this year.
  • Judge Daley retires after helping transform juvenile court
    New Brunswick Judge Roger Daley exited his courtroom for the last time in his 15-year tenure on the bench last week. He took off his black robe and took a seat behind an ample desk smothered with items including a “Thank You” from a grandmother of a teen, who appreciated his work to rehabilitate her grandson.
  • Bill would raise high-school dropout age to 18
    The Arizona Republic:
    State Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, has introduced a bill that would increase the age at which high-school students could legally drop out from 16 to 18.
  • Should Orange County’s juvenile hearings be opened to news media?
    OC Register:
    Last week, the presiding judge of Los Angeles County's Juvenile Court ordered dependency proceedings there to be opened to the media, saying secrecy had allowed problems to fester, but is that the best way to protect children?
  • Budget cuts would lead to closure of several juvenile justice facilities
    The Salt Lake Tribune:
    Budget cuts could lead to the closure of several juvenile justice centers across the state, making it harder for youth offenders to be treated in their own communities or earn back the money they need to pay restitution to their victims.
  • Editorial: Well-deserved honors
    The Commercial Appeal:
    The efforts by the leadership team at Shelby County Juvenile Court to change the face of juvenile justice in Memphis and Shelby County continues to garner national recognition.
  • MacArthur Foundation, OJJDP announce private-public partnership
    Philanthropy News Digest:
    The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) have announced a private-public partnership that includes a $2 million commitment to support innovative reforms in treatment and services for youth involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.

Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment

  • Drug use among florida youth drops
    Miami Herald:
    The 2011 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey showed less than 10 percent of students tried drugs other than marijuana within 30 days of the survey. Twelve percent of students reported using marijuana, a decline from 2010.

Updating the Reclaiming Futures Model from “Completion” to “Transition”

Since its founding, Reclaiming Futures has been dedicated to helping to build a balanced and restorative juvenile justice system that holds youth accountable, but breaks the cycle of crime and drugs by providing evidence-based substance abuse treatment to the kids who need it.
Along the way, we’ve connected with 29 communities across the country and received great feedback on the power of the Reclaiming Futures model and its ability to ensure that youth have access to treatment. Our model has 6 parts:

  1. Initial screening: As soon as possible after being referred to the juvenile justice system, youth should be screened for substance abuse problems using a reputable screening tool.
  2. Initial assessment: If substance abuse is indicated, refer for service coordination.
  3. Service coordination: Intervention plans should be designed and coordinated by community teams that are family-driven, span agency boundaries and draw upon community-based resources.
  4. Initiation: Service initiation is a critical moment in intervention.
  5. Engagement: Youth and families must be effectively engaged in services.
  6. Transition: Community coordination teams should specify how much of each service plan must be completed, after which agency-based services will be gradually withdrawn, as appropriate.

Dayton, Ohio Appoints New Reclaiming Futures Project Director

Judge Nick Kuntz, Judge Anthony Capizzi and the Montgomery County Juvenile Court welcome Michelle White to the Reclaiming Futures Team in Dayton, Ohio. Michelle began her career with the Court nine years ago as a Probation Officer. Throughout her tenure with the Court, Michelle has served as a Gender Specific Probation Officer and as the Intensive Probation Supervisor. Michelle is very passionate about working with families, volunteers and the community. She has been involved with the Reclaiming Futures movement in Dayton throughout her time with the Court and is looking forward to building on earlier successes.
Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Wright State University and a Master's Degree in Justice Administration from Tiffin University. She is happily married to her husband of nine years and has a two year old son.

Reclaiming Futures in Snohomish County, Washington: Using art to rehabilitate teens

This past fall, Washington state's Snohomish County juvenile court system ran a pilot project called Promising Artists in Recovery (PAIR), modeled after Reclaiming Futures. The program connected teens in the county's juvenile justice system with local artists who shared their craft and mentored the youth.
The Herald has a terrific feature story on PAIR, Reclaiming Futures and the teens and mentors who participated. Check out this video on the pilot: