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.)

Planning for Implementation
The Nassau County Reclaiming Futures planning team includes our Reclaiming Futures Fellows and many other interagency representatives who have together completed the Reclaiming Futures readiness assessment and the entire online curriculum. This dedicated group met for the better part of a year on a weekly basis for two hours at lunch to conduct strategic planning. 
The Reclaiming Futures Initiative in Nassau County is funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), and our first order of business was to plan and implement a juvenile treatment court, using the Reclaiming Futures organizational structure as a planning, implementation and sustainability guide.
Warren Graham and Geralnn LecceseOur team conducted educational sessions in the community, especially for those entities whose participation was critical to the initial success of the program, such as the law guardians for the children, and community educational providers.
Judge Marks -- our Reclaiming Futures Judicial Fellow -- along with Deputy County Attorney Gregg Roth and Warren Graham (shown at left with Geralynn Leccese, juvenile treatment court case manager [click to enlarge]), even conducted two public television appearances, where they introduced the Reclaiming Futures initiative to the community, and highlighted the pending opening of the juvenile treatment court.
In May of 2008, the Nassau Juvenile Treatment Court opened. (It now has over twenty participants). But we knew our planning task was only partially complete, as there were numerous other substance abusing juvenile offenders in Nassau County who would not reach the court, but who still needed the coordinated treatment and links to community supports that had been planned for participants in the treatment court. So the team had to continue to meet over the summer of 2008 to translate its work on the Reclaiming Futures online curriculum into a comprehensive implementation plan.
But it was a long, hot summer, and we began to lose steam. To be successful, we had to re-energize our planning process.
Tomorrow, I'll post about what we did next, and how we prepared for our site visit.  See you then!  

Updated: December 20 2008