Blog: Washington

Reclaiming Futures SBIRT Implementation: Progress & Plans

Before sharing our accomplishments and expansion efforts, let’s take a moment to acknowledge numerous people and organizations that we have had the privilege of working with over the past few years to implement Reclaiming Futures’ version of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (RF-SBIRT).

Pushing Your Juvenile Justice Program to Excellence

Project Director Margaret Soukup, Reclaiming Futures Seattle-King County, discusses how the Reclaiming Futures model has improved their work with young people in King County. Since implementing Reclaiming Futures 10 years ago, they have become more:

  • Collaborative,
  • Supportive, and
  • Inclusive 

To learn more about helping teens overcome drugs, alcohol and crime, please visit

Washington State Assesses Disproportionate Minority Contact

A recent assessment of disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in Washington state reveals key areas to address as well as standout practices in the pursuit of a more fair and equal juvenile justice system.
For more than a decade, states have been required to regularly assess DMC, unequal rates of minority contact with the justice system relative to the population. The goal is to identify problem areas so that youth in the juvenile justice system are provided with treatment not based on race and ethnicity.
The 2013 report highlights a number of promising practices, first and foremost two programs: the Annie E. Casey Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative and the MacArthur Foundation Models for Change Initiative. These identification and reduction efforts are credited with changes to policies and practices that likely reduce disproportionality. To realize such success, the report stresses the importance of a multi-pronged strategy that considers practice and policy change, community engagement, data analysis and interpretation, program implementation and trainings.
Other promising practices for DMC identification and reduction noted include efforts to increase awareness of and action about DMC; programs to provide alternatives to arrest by providing youth with culturally-relevant and community-based services; and evidence-based behavioral health programs for youth in juvenile justice.
The assessment also emphasizes the following findings regarding DMC in-state, which may prove applicable in other communities:

Top 5 Juvenile Justice Blog Posts | 2012

And this is it, folks, the end of our countdown! We've already shared the top 25, top 20, top 15, and top 10. And now, here are the top 5 blog posts of 2012!
5. Scared Straight Programs Are All Talk
After "Scared Straight" became popular in the 1970s, a number of research reports evaluated children who went through the program compared to control groups and found that many of the youth who attended “scared straight” programs were actually worse off than the youth who had no intervention.
4. Punishment vs. Rehabilitation and the Effects of Trauma on High-Risk Youth
Studies show that 75 percent of youth in the juvenile justice system have experienced traumatic events; 50 percent have endured post-traumatic stress symptoms.

How to Use Language in Court that Youth Understand: Get the New Models for Change Guide

As Shiloh Carter outlined in "Kid Courts Should Use Kid Friendly Language," it is no secret that when youth end up in court, they are often confused and uncertain about the purpose of the proceedings, and what's expected of them when they leave. Why? In spite of the fact that judges and other court professionals try hard to make sure youth know what’s expected of them, much of the language used in court goes right over their heads.
TeamChild®—a nonprofit law office based in Washington State—recognized this problem and developed interventions to help youth understand more of what goes on when they appear in court. With the support of Models for Change, a national juvenile justice reform initiative funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, we worked with the Washington State Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (JIDAN), to create a tool—the judicial colloquies—to train judges and other court practitioners on the use of developmentally appropriate language in court proceedings.
We decided to focus our work on the court orders issued when youth are released prior to adjudication, and when they are put on probation. At these stages of the proceedings, a youth might face detention time if they violate their court orders.

Everett Herald Features Photos from Young Artists

The sixth step of the Reclaiming Futures model is "transition," which highlights the importance of creating opportunities for young people in the community based on teens' unique strengths and interests.
Mentors in Snohomish County, Washington, are connecting with young people through Promising Artists in Recovery, a program created through Reclaiming Futures Snohomish County and the Denney Juvenile Justice Center in Everett, Washington. 
The Everett Herald is celebrating this very compelling photography in print and online. (Photo at right by student Jordyn Brougher.)

King County, Washington, Celebrates 10 Years of Reclaiming Futures

Through Reclaiming Futures, King County, Washington is changing the experience for young people in the justice system with substance abuse and mental health problems.
On November 7, they celebrated 10 years, having helped thousands of teens get what they need – more treatment, better treatment and beyond treatment – to turn their lives around.
For 10 years, Reclaiming Futures Seattle-King County has partnered with courts, treatment facilities, juvenile justice centers and communities to help teens break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime.
They have been successful by integrating the Reclaiming Futures model into their policies and by providing:

  • Comprehensive screening using the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN)
  • Adolescent-specific, evidence-based treatment models
  • Support to juvenile justice youth who also have mental health issues
  • A mentoring program
  • High Fidelity Wraparound model to nurture and support youth on probation and beyond 

In October, Jerry Large of The Seattle Times honored King County for "a better way of dealing with juvenile-justice and family-court issues."
Congratulations to Reclaiming Futures Seattle-King County for you dedication and hard work!

Focusing on Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care

King County Reclaiming Futures is aligning their recovery work with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's revised definition and vision of recovery:

 “A process of change through which individuals work to improve their own health and wellbeing, live a self-directed life, and strive to achieve their full potential.”

Please take a moment to review the new "performance indicator" report, released by the King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) Mental Illness, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division (MHCADSD).
A few highlights from the summary:

  • Successful grant applications
  • High quality programs
  • A wide range of services
  • Strong policymaker outreach

Despite difficult fiscal times, King County also made significant progress transforming to a Recovery Oriented System of Care (ROSC). They continue to focus on evidence-based practices throughout their system and increase provider capacity to use evidence-based service models. 

King County, Washington, Celebrates Recovery Month

king county proclamations
Many of the 29 Reclaiming Futures sites helping communities break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime celebrate Recovery Month, hosted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) each September. They, along with our King County site, which includes Seattle, Washington, are spreading the positive message that prevention works, adolescent substance abuse treatment is effective and people do recover. 
King County convenes a multi-disciplinary planning committee (chemical dependency, mental health and community mobilization) to reach people across cultures and disciplines to reduce the stigma for people in recovery.
They actively develop the Recovery Oriented System of Care model, starting with mental health and gradually including substance use disorders. This year, King County is working with their County Council to include substance abuse disorders in the recovery ordinance so that it becomes a behavioral health recovery oriented system of care. (The recovery ordinance ensures that the publicly funded mental health system in King County is grounded in mental health recovery principles.)

Artists Offer Positive Youth Development, Mentoring in Snohomish County

I believe all young people can succeed.
The professionals, community members and other caring adults in Snohomish County, Washington agree.
Annie Mulligan and other generous artists in Snohomish County are mentoring young photographers through a program called Promising Artists in Recovery (PAIR), modeled after Reclaiming Futures. The PAIR program connects teens in the county's juvenile justice system with local artists. This powerful work introduces young people, like Ayrton Clements, to mentors along the road to success. Ayrton’s photography appears at right.
The second installment of this three-part series in was featured July 16, 2012 in The Herald of Everett, Wash.

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 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: