Blog: Resources

Families in Power: a Guide to Organizing on Juvenile Justice Reform

[The following column appeared in the February 2010 Campaign for Youth Justice e-newsletter, and is reprinted with permission. It has been edited slightly to incorporate hyperlinks into the text. - Ed.]
juvenile-justice-reform-family-organizing_CFYJ-GuideThe Campaign for Youth Justice recently released a guide for families who want to do something to change the foolish and ineffective practice of trying our children as adults. Our new guide is entitled, "Families in Power: Family Guide to Networking, Coalition Building, Organizing and Campaign Building."  The guide provides basic information about how families and allies can begin to organize themselves and others to change  transfer practices and other overly punitive policies that negatively affect our children and our communities. 

Here is one highlight from this new guide:

The first step in creating powerful families and organizing others is developing a way to talk about your issue with a wide variety of audiences.  Many organizers refer to this as your "rap."  Your rap about the transfer of children into the adult correctional and court systems should be your 30-second commercial that is designed to open up dialogue with others.  It should include: a fact or two about youth transfer in order to educate people who may not know about transfer laws, why this is issue is important to you, and what you need from the person you are talking to.  Be sure you have your facts down and that they are accurate.  There are several fact sheets on the Campaign's website that can help you easily identify important facts.  The best fact sheet to use summarizes the findings of CFYJ's Jailing Juveniles report and speaks to the danger children face in jails every day in this country.   

Roundup: Labeling Kids as Delinquent Increases Recidivism; Sports Improve Life Outcomes for Girls; How to Increase Collections from Insurance Companies, and More

Juvenile Justice Reform and Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment News

Adolescent Treatment Providers: Increasing Collections from Insurance Companies

adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment-improvement_learning-revolution-posterThe NIATx ACTION Campaign II: Financial Strength in a Changing World, offers free process improvement tools for behavioral health care providers -- like adolescent substance abuse treatment agencies -- along with an easy way to get connected with NIATx.  
The Campaign features twice-monthly webinars tailored for beginners who are new to NIATx process improvement, or "advanced" webinars for those who have participated in a NIATx project in the past.  The Campaign web site also highlights promising practices that we encourage people to try in their own agencies. Join the Campaign here -- it's free! 
This month, our promising practices focus on tapping into referral sources and increasing collections from insurance companies. The webinar below is one of the associated events. 
[UPDATE:  Just follow the link here to access the archived recording and PowerPoints for "Increasing Collections from Insurance Companies" (advertised below). --Ed.]

Juvenile Courts: Working with the Media - Lessons from the CJJ Southern Regional Conference

juvenile-justice-reform-media_media-guruWant to get some expert pointers on how to talk to the media about juvenile justice issues? 
Then check out the presentations from the Coalition for Juvenile Justice's(CJJ) Southern Regional conference. Held January 29-31 in Charleston, SC, the conference focused on working with the media to promote juvenile justice reform and to strengthen the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act's (JJDPA) four core requirements.
On the conference web page, you can find:

  • the conference agenda;
  • a presentation from Judge Steve Teske of Clayton County, GA, offering pointers on working with the media;
  • a presentation on how Jefferson County, AL successfully worked to reduce court referrals from Birmingham schools by a whopping 84% (this collaborative effort also had a media strategy);
  • a presentation from Linda O'Neal of the Frameworks Institute on how framing the message correctly is necessary to get members of the public to care about teens in the juvenile justice system; and
  • an overview by Tara Andrews, deputy director of CJJ, of key talking points with regard to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA).

Roundup: Research Says Juvenile Justice Systems Make Boys Recidivate; Addiction Treatment Resources; and More

juvenile-justice-reform-adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment-news_old-TVJuvenile Justice Reform News

Adjusting to Parity: NIATx Accelerating Reform Initiative December 2009–July 2010

What is the Accelerating Reform Initiative?

In a pilot project supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the NIATx Accelerating Reform Initiative (ARI), 23 organizations in 12 states are working to accelerate their reform efforts.
What's the Purpose of Initiative?

The purpose of ARI is to give behavioral health care organizations the tools and peer supports needed to respond to the sweeping changes that parity, health care integration and decreased grant funding may bring. These include:

Guide to Preventing and Responding to School Violence from the Bureau of Justice Assistance

school-violence-prevention_BJA-guide-coverThe Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), in coordination with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, has published a new edition of its “Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Violence.”
Designed to assist local communities, the guide describes the roles of the school, community, families, law enforcement, and justice system in working together to take effective action to address school violence.
[Text from a press release.]

Sneak Peeks at ONDCP's New Federal Drug Control Strategy

The Obama Administration's new drug control strategy will be officially unveiled in February. Until then, here's two peeks at what lies ahead on the demand reduction side of the policy:
drug-control-stratgey_ONDCP-newsletter1. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has begun publishing a newsletter, called the ONDCP Update. (In addition to our link here, you can also find it on the ONDCP Web site at  in "What’s New" and in "Publications".) You can find two articles on the strategy there -- one is a brief overview, and the other signals that there will be a new emphasis on recovery as well as prevention, intervention, and treatment. 
2. NIATx's ACTION Campaign II sponsored a fantastic webinar with Thomas McLellan, the deputy director of the ONDCP. His official topic was the impact of health care reform on addiction treatment, but he also touched on parity regulations and of course the new national drug control strategy.
I recommend that anyone even peripherally interested in addiction treatment follow the link and check it out -- but especially if you're responsible for running a treatment agency or managing a treatment system. (I had some trouble getting the PowerPoint slides to work properly, but there aren't too many, and Mr. McLellan is quite thorough in his audio presentation.) 

Roundup: "Culture of Violence" in NY's juvenile prisons; Cost-Benefit Analysis in the Juvenile Justice System; Parity Legislation May Change Business of Addiction Treatment; and More

juvenile-justice-reform-adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment-news_old-TVJuvenile Justice Reform News

  • The New York Times published a strong editorial arguing for immediate and decisive action on the part of the federal government to address shockingly high rates of sexual abuse in juvenile detention centers and prisons around the country. (Last week, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) published the first-ever report of its kind on the sexual victimization of teens behind bars.)
  • James Bell of the W. Haywood Burns Institute seized on the BJA's report to deliver another eloquent, blistering column on the state of the juvenile justice system this week: "Captured by the Clueless." If you're interested in Bell's work on disproportionate minority contact, you should also check out his interview with John Kelly of Youth Today.
  • Gotham Gazette published an excellent look at New York state's struggle to get rid of the "culture of violence" in its juvenile justice system. (Hat tip to @policy4results.) Staff-vs.-youth violence has been documented in reports by the U.S. Department of Justice, a task force set up by the governor of New York, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights Watch. The Gotham Gazette piece does a good job of explaining the frustrations of reformers as well as the counter-arguments of union representatives. But what resonated most strongly with me was this quote:

The 17-year-old who spent time in the state's facilities said the workers' attitudes varied. "Some staff was like, 'Let them be kids'; other staff was like, 'They did a crime.' Others were like, 'I just don't care 'cause I still get paid.' There was some staff that really helped me and there were others that didn't care," she recalled.

Improving Your Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment System: a Toolkit

adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment-improvement-toolkit_toolbox-photoHow to Improve Your Treatment System

Do you work for a county or state agency that's trying to improve its adolescent (or adult) substance abuse or mental health treatment systems?
Check out this excellent system-level toolkit from NIATx.

How to Improve Your Treatment Agency

Work for a treatment agency? There's also a toolkit for treatment providers on how to make your agency more efficient, effective, and bring in more money.
Related Posts:

(Photo by Wonderlane.)

CSAT Travel Awards for 2010 College on Problems of Drug Dependence Conference

The following is reprinted from the State of Oregon's Mental Health and Addiction Services email digest. I made a few minor edits and added an image by Marxchivist.

adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment-CSAT_rocket-shipEvery year, CSAT sends a small number of addiction counselors, supervisors, educators and community agency administrators to the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD), one of the bst week-long conferences on the latest drug treatment research in the world. The 2010 CPDD will be held June 12-17 in Scottsdale, Arizona. All expenses are covered for those selected. Please note the January 10 deadline for applications. 
CSAT Travel Awards

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) will sponsor up to 30 Travel Awards for substance abuse treatment practitioners to attend the 2010 CPDD meeting. All expenses will be covered: i.e., conference registration, airfare, travel to and from the airport, and hotel accommodation. To be eligible, candidates must hold full-time employment as a director or clinical supervisor in a substance abuse treatment program and not be an employee of the federal government. Further, your direct supervisor will need to agree to allow you to attend if you are selected. Only one award will be given to any specific program. Previous CSAT travel award recipients are not eligible to apply. Applicants will be sent e-mails by the end of March indicating award status. 

For Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Providers: 5 T.A. "Packages" from CSAT

adolescent-substance-abuse-technical-assistance_CSAT-points-the-wayFive Mini-Guides to Improve Your Substance Abuse Treatment Program

Want to improve the quality, effectiveness, or sustainability of your adolescent substance abuse treatment program? T.A. "packages" from the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) can help. (They apply to adult treatment programs, as well.) Two of the packages have been out for a while, but three new ones have just come out.
Not Just for Grantees

Now, when I first saw the announcement about these packages, I made a few assumptions that turned out to be incorrect:

  • You don't have to be a grantee to get the benefit of these packages.
  • "Package" -- which I took to mean a combination of services and materials -- actually means "pamphlet" or "mini-guide".  These are short PDF documents you can download and scan very quickly (though don't get me wrong: they're packed with info). 
  • You don't have to collect Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) data to use them, though it helps. 

The Five Handy "Packages"

In short, every substance abuse provider would do well to review these and choose one to work through. Here's the three new ones:

Positive Youth Development: Pongo Teen Writing Website

juvenile-justice-system-Pongo-teen-writing-logoTeens in the juvenile justice system need opportunities to express themselves as much as -- and probably more than -- other teens.
Their struggles with family, friends, drugs, alcohol as they mature and try to figure out who they want to be can make for moving fiction, poetry, and essays. Even if they've never written before.
Here's a chance to connect teens in your jurisdiction with online writing activities that make it easy to be creative, explore painful topics, and share their work with others: check out the Pongo Teen Writing website.

Children Exposed to Violence: OJJDP Web Resources

Concerned about youth who are victims of violence, or who've witnessed it? 
Practitioners, researchers, and policymakers can get news and resources from the Safe Start Center, run by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
Places to start:

You can also follow the Safe Start Center on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Roundup: OJJDP Needs Assessment Survey; LGBT Youth in Juvenile Court; CRAFFT Predicts Teens' High-Risk Sexual Behavior

juvenile-justice-adolescent-substance-abuse-news-old-TVYour Juvenile Justice System: Share Local Needs with OJJDP

  • What training and technical assistance does your system need?  The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) wants to know. Complete their online needs assessment for your juvenile justice system, and help them improve their understanding of local needs to build capacity and sustainability among juvenile justice organizations. 

Juvenile Justice System and Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment News

Free Technical Assistance for Treatment Providers from NIATx's ACTION II Campaign

adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment-improvement-NIATx-logoWhat is NIATX?

NIATx helps behavioral health providers improve access to and retention in treatment for all of their clients. It's a process improvement collaborative based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (The acronym stands for The Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment. However, since NIATx has moved into mental health other areas of behavioral health, we now go by the acronym only.)
NIATx began in 2003 as a grant project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. The 39 provider sites involved in the grant applied the NIATx model of process improvement, making dramatic improvements in access to and retention in treatment. Today, we work with more than 1500 providers in all states.

Roundup: Update on the JJDPA; Treatment Agencies Improve Services & Bottom Line; Two Innovative Crime-Reduction Practices; and More

juvenile-justice-reform-adolescent-substance-abuse-news-roundup-TVJuvenile Justice Reform News

CSG Justice Center Launches National Reentry Resource Center

juvenile-justice-system-reentry-resource-center-logoOn October 1, 2009,the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center launched the National Reentry Resource Center—an unprecedented initiative to advance the safe and successful return of individuals from correctional facilities to their communities.
What is the CSG Justice Center?

The CSG Justice Center is a national nonprofit organization that serves policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels from all branches of government. It provides practical, nonpartisan advice and consensus-driven strategies--informed by available evidence--to increase public safety and strengthen communities.
The National Reentry Resource Center will continue the CSG Justice Center's commitment to collaboration and will draw on the experience and expertise of its many valued partner organizations, as well as its own work in the field. Among CSG's past contributions is the 2005 landmark report of its Reentry Policy Council—the result of work by 100 of the most respected workforce, health, housing, public safety, family, community, and victim experts in the country.

Teens in Trouble Can Now Txt 4 Help

runaway-teens-txt-4-help-phonecardKids on the run or in crisis now have another way to keep themselves safe: their cell phones. 
Beginning October 15th, a nationwide system, "Txt 4 Help," has been set up by National Safe Place so that teens on the run or in crisis can use text messages to find a safe place to go, or get connected with a national hotline.
America's Promise Alliance has the details: "Youth in crisis can text the word SAFE and their current location to the number 69866, and they will receive an address for the closest Safe Place site and contact number for the local youth shelter."
(Hat tip to Portland Prevention.)

Juvenile Justice and Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Funding: Trainings Galore!

juvenile-justice-system-trainings-Georgia-classroom-1940sSeems to be the season for training folks in the juvenile justice system:

  • The National Partnership for Juvenile Services is hosting a national symposium on juvenile services entitled "Representing America’s Youth:
    Transforming the Field of Juvenile Services," in Indiananopolis, October 11-14. Agenda topics include:
    • Juvenile Detention & Corrections
    • Education of Youth in Confinement
    • Community-Based & Residential Care
    • Presentation Skills & Training Techniques
    • Critical Issues