Blog: Resources

Building Great Behavioral Health Care Organizations in a New Environment: Conference

adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_niatx-saas-conference-graphicBehavioral health care organizations -- including adolescent substance abuse treatment agencies -- face huge changes as health reform takes hold. How do you build a strong, vital organization that provides the best quality care?
We've built a conference around that very question: the 2011 NIATx Summit and SAAS National Conference, with the theme of "Revolutionary Strategies for Leaders." It'll be held July 20-13, 2011, in Boston, MA. (Don't know NIATx or SAAS? Scroll down for more info.)
Who should attend? CEOs, senior managers, and change leaders from behavioral health organizations who are focused on leadership, process improvement, and technology.

Evidence-Based Practices for Children Exposed to Violence: A Selection from Federal Databases - and More

juvenile-justice-system_peace-signSeems like youth violence -- and ways to address it -- is all over the news right now.

  1. Research: Children Exposed to or Victims of Violence More Likely to Become Violent.
  2. Evidence-Based Practices for Children Exposed to Violence: A Selection from Federal Databases.
    This publication from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services "summarizes findings from federal reviews of research studies and program evaluations to help communities improve outcomes for children exposed to violence. It cites evidence-based practices that practitioners and policymakers can use to implement prevention services and activities for these children." (H/t to

Juvenile Reentry - New Resources + Webinar

juvenile-reentry_breakdancing-teenHow do you help youth be successful who are returning from long-term placements, including lockup? Here's a number of resources -- in multiple media -- that you might find useful for improving how your community handles juvenile reentry.
1. Making the Most of Second Chances - Conference Materials
You may have been unable to attend "Making the Most of Second Chances," a national conference on reentry sponsored by the Council of State Governments' Justice Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (I found out about it via the always-helpful National Reentry Resource Center) held in Washington, D.C., in February, but here's the good news: much of it was caught on video.
By reviewing a list of the conference presentations, I found a couple that were focused on juveniles (you'll find video and PowerPoints):

Juvenile Justice System - Resources for Graduated Sanctions and Incentives

juvenile-drug-courts_graduated-response-gridResearch has shown that punishment alone is not the most effective way to to help a young person change his or her behavior -- the primary goal of juvenile drug courts, and, indeed, juvenile probation generally. Instead, a combination of punishment, or sanctions, with incentives, is most effective.
But if you want to act on this information, you're likely to have a number of questions. Here's just a few of the questions that commonly arise:

  1. Is there a ready-made list of sanctions and incentives we could use?
  2. Should we start out giving a strong sanction to get the offender’s attention, or should we build up to that?
  3. Are we coddling offenders by giving them incentives?
  4. Does it matter how long you wait after the behavior is detected to give a sanction or incentive?

And that's just the beginning.  To help you make sense of the options -- and to give you several lists of ideas for your own graduated sanctions and incentives grid -- I'm posting a number of resources here.
From NCJFCJ (and shared with permission):

If your team is working on implementing incentives and sanctions together, you'll probably want these as well, also from the NCJFCJ:

Media Trainings for Juvenile Justice Advocates

juvenile-justice-reform_megaphoneEver wonder how to get the media to pay attention to the issue of kids in jail?  
We have the answer for you.  In April, our media guru, EricSolomon, will be our expert teacher to give us the bottom line on working with the media.
Please join us for these one-hour trainings and feel free to invite a friend.  The call in number is 866-524-0621, code 7831935097.
Basic Media Training I – April 8, 2011, 6:00 pm EST / 5:00 CST / 3:00 PST
Do you get nervous when contacting or talking to reporters? If you need assistance with talking to the media, finding the appropriate reporters to contact, building relationships, tips or what to do and not do during interviews, then this training is for you. You will leave feeling more comfortable and have a better understanding of how to get your message out.
Basic Media Training II – April 13, 2011, 6:00 pm EST / 5:00 CST / 3:00 PST
This training will walk you through the beginning steps necessary to promote your event or issue. You will learn how to develop a press release, media advisory, and talking points to use with the media. You will be surprised how easy it is to create these items. Most importantly, you will understand what reporters want to know and not give them something that they will ignore.

Is the Juvenile Justice System "Improving Lives or Devastating Them?" and More: a Roundup

  • juvenile-justice-system_old-TVIs the Juvenile Justice System "Improving Lives or Devastating Them?" U.S. Attorney General Asks
    Attorney General Eric Holder wants to see the juvenile justice system shift from prosecution and punishment to prevention and intervention, as he made clear in a March 7th speech to the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference. Among other things, he pointed to the evidence showing that "scared straight programs" are ineffective, and the high rate of sexual victimization of detained youth. 
  • States Try Fewer Youth in Adult Court  
    Only a few states -- New York and North Carolina among them -- continue to treat 16-year-olds as adults when it comes to the justice system. Money's an issue, because it's more expensive to try them in the juvenile justice system. However, a new analysis from the Vera Institute of Justice finds that the fiscal benefits outweigh the costs.
  • States Back Away From Punitive Drug Laws
    The high cost of imprisoning low-level drug offenders is adding momentum to efforts to reform punitive drug laws that incarcerate people without addressing their underlying treatment problem.

Treatment Providers - Get Help with 3rd-Party Billing from NIATx

adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_adding-machine-illustrationAs you make your resolutions for 2011, be sure to add "Join the ACTION Campaign webinars" to your list.
The NIATx ACTION Campaign offers two free webinars per month. In the next six months, most of our webinars will focus on helping substance abuse treatment agencies of all sizes learn how to create or improve their billing systems. We’ll be working to bust some of the myths that keep agencies from working with third-party payers.
In the ACTION webinars, experts and peers will share their experiences that show that you don't need:

  • a contract with an insurance provider to submit a bill for services
  • a large billing department; or 
  • to purchase an expensive electronic billing system.

National Mentoring Month and More - a Roundup

positive-youth-development_old-TV-that-says-newsJanuary is National Mentoring Month

20 Resources for Juvenile Justice and Adolescent Treatment: a 2010 Roundup

juvenile-justice-reform_man-with-crates-on-dollyIn 2010, we posted tons of useful links for professionals, policymakers, and advocates connected with the juvenile justice system and adolescent substance abuse treatment.
Rather than warehouse them all on the blog, we're wheeling some of them out on display again. Maybe you overlooked some of them last year, or never got a chance to download that nifty tool kit -- now's your chance. Here's 20 of them, listed below in random order:

  1. The Partnership at's Treatment E-Book for parents. (Follow link, go to first bullet.)
  2. How to Get Teens to Engage in Treatment - a proven toolkit from NIATx that increases retention by on orienting teens to treatment. (Follow link, scroll to third bullet down.)
  3. What works in juvenile justice? Check out this international literature review, compiled for an Australian Member of Parliament. (Follow link and scroll to third bullet.)

Substance Use and Delinquency Among Serious Adolescent Offenders and More: A Roundup

Juvenile Justice System Information-Sharing Tool Kit

juvenile-justice-resource_info-sharing-tool-kit-coverAnyone concerned about sharing information about juveniles in the justice system -- and if you're a probation officer, evaluator, policy maker, or program developer, you should be -- will want to get hold of this new tool kit from the Models for Change initiative.
Authored by the Child Welfare League of America and the Juvenile Law Center and underwritten by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the tool kit articulates the "principles that govern information and data sharing including legal, constitutional and ethical concerns; and the use of aggregate data to best inform practice."
But what kind of information-sharing are we talking about? All kinds: you'll find the kit is covers information-sharing for three different purposes:

Teen Addiction: Helping Parents Understand, Connect and Navigate Services

adolescent-substance-abuse_Time-to-Get-Help-logoNine million of America's teens and young adults are struggling with drugs and alcohol¹, yet unlike most other adolescent health issues or diseases, parents have not found a concise path to resources and support for teen drug and alcohol addiction. A new science-based resource called Time To Get Help from The Partnership at was just released in beta form to begin helping meet these needs.
Resources within Time To Get Help include:

Roundup: Gay Teens Face Harsher Punishments

  • juvenile-justice-system_corrections-spending-graphicGrowth in Corrections Spending 1987-2007 Dwarfed Spending on Higher Ed (see image at right) - Curious about where your state stands? Follow the link and check the graph.  It would be interesting to see the same data comparing spending on the juvenile justice system with middle- and high-school spending.  (Hat tip to Jim Carlton.) 
  • Gay Teens Are Punished More Heavily in School and in Juvenile Court - From The New York Times: A national study of 15,000 middle school and high school teens published in Pediatrics found that gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens are more likely to be expelled from school than their straight peers, and more likely to be stopped, arrested, and adjudicated.  And "it's not because they're misbehaving more," says the study's lead author, Kathryn Himmelstein. (Hat tip to Dan Merrigan.)

Youth Guides to Building Budgets and Logic Models

Work with teens in the juvenile justice system who sit on a youth advisory council? Do you need some help coaching them on how to understand budgeting or how to build and use ... (drum roll, please) ... logic models? 
The Finance Project is way ahead of you. They've produced two excellent guides:

  1. The Youth Guide to Budgeting
  2. The Youth Guide to Developing Logic Models

(Hat tip to

Roundup: Teens Saving Teens - and More

juvenile-justice-reform-adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_News-signJames Bell on Juvenile Justice Reform

I am still, at 51, propelled by outrage. I am just p***d off that the greatest country in the world -- that the only way they can figure out to socially control teenagers is to put them in cages... But we don't do that to White people. That is the bottom line.
It's worth watching all 10 minutes of this video, because Bell is passionate, entertaining, and motivating. My only caveat (which I'm sure Mr. Bell would agree with) has to do with his urgent call to people of color to put pressure on vested interests and the White community to reform the justice system. It can't just be on people of color to change the system -- allies from all communities are needed so that the effort is not pigeonholed by skeptics. (Hat tip to the W. Haywood Burns Institute on Facebook.) 


Juvenile Justice & Adolescent Substance Abuse Issues - Who’s Tweeting About Them?

juvenile-justice-adolescent-substance-abuse-Twitter-logoHello, I’m person behind the Reclaiming Futures Twitter account. As you know, Twitter is a free service where people post very short updates and links.
If you’re like many professionals in the fields of juvenile justice and adolescent substance abuse, you might think that Twitter has nothing to offer you. And while that might once have been true, nothing could be further from the truth now.
What are some of the ways you can use Twitter and to support your work?

  • Exchange ideas about juvenile justice and substance abuse treatment. 
  • Many people post links, so use it like a search engine. 
  • Show support for others by following them. 
  • Demonstrate the good work of your organization.

Roundup: Marijuana "Gateway" Effect Less Important than Other Factors - and More

adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_News-signAdolescent Substance Abuse and Related Treatment News

  • Is marijuana a "gateway" to other drug use? Not so much, according to new research, and "over-criminalizing" its use can contribute to young adults' use of other illicit drugs. According to the study, race and ethnicity are the best predictors of whether someone will use illicit drugs besides marijuana: non-Hispanic whites are more likely to use them than are (in order) Hispanics or African Americans. Furthermore, although marijuana use in one's teen years might lead to use of other drugs, youth apparently "age out" of that when they reach 21. Unemployment is a factor too, which suggests that, as one researcher concluded, "over-criminalizing youth marijuana use might create more serious problems if it interferes with later employment opportunities." (Hat tip to Robert Ackley.) Related reading: Jeff Butts on "The Enduring Gateway Myth."
  • Teen use of alcohol and drugs can be significantly reduced with brief, school-based interventions by mental health therapists or even by teachers given minimal training, according to a new study from the U.K. Researchers evaluated their use of alcohol and drugs at six months post-intervention, so it's not clear if the effects would need to be repeated on a regular basis.


I Got Arrested! A Guide to the Juvenile Justice System

juvenile-court_cartoon-panels-from-I-got-arrestedWant to help teens understand the juvenile justice system? Draw them a picture -- or rather, lots of them. 
Case in point: I Got Arrested! Now What? It's a comic book/fold-out poster that describes New York's juvenile justice system by following the case of one youth named Chris. (Hat tip to @servicejunkie.)
Developed by the Center for Urban Pedagogy in collaboration with the Center for Court Innovation, the Youth Justice Board, and graphic novelist Danica Novgorodoff, it's visually interesting and thorough. (It also has a happy ending.) 
You can download a PDF or purchase print copies for $6.00 through PayPal. I recommend reviewing it. You might be able to use it for your own juvenile court. You might have to create your own if you're not in New York, but it's a great model. 

Substance Abuse Treatment: SAMHSA Offers Continuing Education Online

adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_man-with-television-over-his-eyesAdapted from a post by the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network:

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) is pleased to announce the availability of five six new e-learning courses for substance abuse treatment professionals:

  • Prescription Medication (Part 1): Misuse, Abuse, and Dependence;
  • Prescription Medication (Part 2): Addressing Addiction;
  • Organizational Development: Governance and the Board of Directors;
  • Organizational Development: Marketing as Collaboration; 
  • Organizational Development: Using Financial Information as a Nonfinancial CEO; and
  • Acamprosate: A New Medication for Alcohol Use Disorders

These courses provide an opportunity for professional growth as well as one continuing education unit per module for maintaining certification or licensure. Learn more.

These courses are a great development. Looking forward to SAMHSA adding more courses -- especially some that are specific to adolescent substance abuse treatment!

Roundup: Juvenile Justice Reform at a Crossroads

juvenile-justice-reform_old-TVJuvenile Justice Reform in Jeopardy, or Headed for a Golden Age? 

  • The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) may be in trouble, if Congress reauthorizes it without increased funding for states to comply. That could mean that cash-strapped states may opt out, despite its long success and the high marks given to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) for the training and technical assistance it provides to support the JJDPA. What would happen in your state, if the federal allocation was reduced or stayed the same?