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should specify how much of each service plan must be completed, after which agency-based services will be gradually withdrawn, as appropriate.

Historically the sixth step has been “completion,” but in consultation with our learning collaborative, including our program directors and practitioners, we’ve come to realize that “completion” is an incomplete and sometimes inaccurate term for the complex work of transitioning out of “systems” and into successful community life. Though Reclaiming Futures has always sought to embrace this complexity, the model itself did not adequately reflect enough of an in-depth sense of this.
For that reason, I am pleased to announce that step six of the Reclaiming Futures model has been renamed “transition” to better portray the representative and interactive phase of transitioning youth to life outside of the justice system. The term intentionally implies an ongoing developmental process that extends beyond any type of formal service provision, and implies a combination of:

  • Readiness to go to back to school, work and/or the community;
  • Re-entry as full integration back into the community post justice system;
  • Restorative justice to make amends; and
  • Recovery from substance abuse and addiction, as appropriate.

Thank you for your continued support of our efforts and please do not hesitate to get in touch should you have questions regarding Reclaiming Futures or the model.
We are always happy to partner with new communities.

Susan Richardson is national executive director for Reclaiming Futures. Formerly, she was a senior program officer in the health care division of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she led a three-year effort involving the state's juvenile justice and treatment leaders to adopt the Reclaiming Futures model by juvenile courts in six North Carolina counties. Prior to that, Susan was executive director of the Annie Penn Community Trust and, concurrently, Director of Community Development for Annie Penn Hospital; and she worked in management, marketing, and public relations for health care and non-profit organizations. She served on the North Carolina Governor’s Task Force for Healthy Carolinians, and is a former member of Grantmakers in Health, Southeastern Council of Foundations, the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She received her B.S. in Public Health, Health Policy and Administration, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

Updated: February 08 2018