Introducing Candice Moore as New North Carolina Project Director

Formerly a project director for the Crossroads site in North Carolina (representing Surry, Iredell, and Yadkin Counties), Candice Moore will lead North Carolina’s State Reclaiming Futures Office, which currently includes 14 Reclaiming Futures sites in 29 counties.

Moore’s professional experience with Reclaiming Futures stretches back to when she was oneCandice Moore of the original grant writers that helped lay the groundwork for the model in the Crossroads site.

In 2008, with investment from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust (KBR), North Carolina established a six site Reclaiming Futures pilot. Due to the progress made by these sites, North Carolina established a public-private partnership with support from the NC Division of Juvenile Justice, KBR and the Governor’s Crime Commission to launch the first state office of Reclaiming Futures. In 2013, The Duke Endowment funded four additional sites and KBR funded two more.

As a project director for Reclaiming Futures’ Crossroads site, Moore worked with both urban and rural sites, three different judicial districts, multiple judges and more than 10 providers.

“That really taught me how to maneuver and facilitate multiple sites. My work as a project director showed me how to pull people together and be an effective boundary-spanner,” explains Moore. Prior to her work with Reclaiming Futures, Moore worked on the juvenile justice side as a court counselor, which has also strengthened her collaboration with counselors now.

The state office will continue to be stationed in Raleigh, where Moore will spend part of her time, but she will lead the bulk of the work from her office in Winston-Salem, where KBR and the evaluation team are also situated.

Moore will be accompanied by a new second position that will focus on data management and quality improvement for juvenile justice and Reclaiming Futures in North Carolina.

“My goals for my new position are to ensure that the features of the Reclaiming Futures model are institutionalized across the state of North Carolina—meaning that we set comprehensive training plans, strengthen partnerships among our agencies, ensure fidelity, measure outcomes, and implement evidence-based practices,” explains Moore. “Once we establish that, the long-range plan is to expand the model to all 100 North Carolina counties.”

Below is a snapshot of the impact of North Carolina sites since January 2013:

  • 7,888 (82.6% of eligible youth) were screened using the GAIN-SS
  • 906 youth completed a full assessment (80% indicated the need for treatment)
  • 72.5% of youth in need of treatment successfully initiated treatment. 70% of those initiating treatment did so within the 14 days targeted by the model.
  • 86.4% of youth that initiated treatment fully engaged in services.
  • 35% of these youth discharged from treatment successfully completed treatment and 15% were referred for additional treatment

The improvement in local processes is resulting in positive outcomes for youth. Of youth discharged:

  • 61.3% were involved in pro-social activities
  • 85.3% had one or more positive adult relationship
  • 80.0% reduced or abstained from substance use
  • 71.0% improved mental health functioning

We’re thrilled to welcome Candice into her new role leading the State Office for Reclaiming Futures in North Carolina, and look forward to continuing the positive momentum she and her predecessor Jessica Jones put into motion.

Project Reset: Counseling vs. Court for Teens’ Minor Crimes

courtroomA new pilot program in New York, tentatively called Project Reset, will offer first-time low-level teenage offenders a deal: Enter a counseling program run by the Center for Court Innovation and the charges will be dropped before arraignment.

Project Reset hopes to build on the success of a 2013 diversion program for teens in the Brooklyn arraignment court, which diverted more than 160 teens charged with minor crimes into counseling in its first year.

The goal of the new program is to intervene even earlier than the 2013 program and offer first-time offenders an opportunity to go to counseling before they appear in court. Additionally, Project Reset can help divert teens from the criminal justice system, as New York is one of the few states that charge 16 and 17 year olds as adults.

Eligible youth will be required to go to two afternoon sessions of counseling at community justice centers—leaving them with no criminal record upon completion of the sessions.

Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr. is an advocate of diverting teens to counseling, stating that “a young person who had done nothing more serious than fail to pay a subway fare should not receive a trip downtown and a docket number, but a real intervention in his life, to put him on a positive path forward.”

There is a growing effort in New York to reduce the number of low-level offenders “clogging the courts,” as reported by the New York Times:

“[Brooklyn district attorney] Kenneth P. Thompson announced last year that his office would no longer prosecute misdemeanor marijuana cases. Police Commissioner William J. Bratton has sharply curtailed the practice of stopping pedestrians and frisking them for weapons and drugs in high-crime neighborhoods, which critics maintain discriminates against minorities.”

The program will start next month in two police precincts—the 25th on the Upper West Side and the 73rd in Brownsville, Brooklyn—and will be evaluated after three to six months.

Public Health Approach Being Adapted for Kids in Trouble with Substances, the Law; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • New York Under Pressure For Locking Up Teens In Adult Prisons (KQED)
    New York is one of only two states that still locks up 16- and 17-year-olds in adult prisons. A commission report released this week found that those young people — most of them black and Hispanic — face a high risk of assault and victimization behind bars and an increased risk of suicide. Gov. Andrew Cuomo now says he'll push the legislature to raise the age of adult incarceration to 18, a move that could mean the transfer of more than 800 teenagers out of state correctional facilities.

Jobs, Grants, Events and Webinars

  • Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It's free to browse and post!

Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Mental Health

  • Parties hopeful meeting cleared air on youth drug court in Jacksonville (
    A plan to improve years of low participation in Jacksonville’s juvenile drug court could be finalized in as little as 30 days. The federal government sent four experts to Jacksonville on Wednesday and Thursday to meet with key players in the court and help with program implementation.

Webinar Opportunity: Updating JJDPA to Reflect New Reforms

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), enacted in 1974 and reauthorizedcjj-logo-2015in 2002, has made strides in setting standards for state and local juvenile justice systems, and providing state funding, training and evaluation. This important legislation and its reauthorizations have continued to protect youth, increase access to prevention and treatment services, and reduce transfers to the adult criminal justice system.

njjn-logoThough JJDPA has remained strong, the juvenile justice field has evolved in a way that requires the legislation to evolve and adapt.

On February 15, 2015, The Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) will host a webinar addressing this. “The JJDPA: Updating Federal Law to Reflect New Reforms” will bring together national leaders in juvenile justice and policymakers, including CJJ, the executive director for Juvenile Law Center, and the Office of US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

CJJ states, “Please join us for an overview of how this legislation has helped drive reform at the state and local levels. We will also discuss how we can help ensure that federal policy reflects the new knowledge, advancements, and promising practices from the field, and how a reauthorized JJDPA might change the future landscape of juvenile justice practice.”

This webinar will be valuable for juvenile justice professionals, policymakers, advocates and allies in the fields of juvenile justice to understand how the federal landscape of juvenile justice may evolve.

Register here for the webinar.

Webinar Details

  • What: The JJDPA: Updating Federal Law to Reflect New Reforms
  • When: February 5, 2015 at 3:00pm ET
  • Hosted by: CJJ and the National Juvenile Justice Network.
  • Presenters:
    • Lara Quint, Legislative Counsel, Office of US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
    • Bob Schwartz, Executive Director, Juvenile Law Center
    • Naomi Smoot, Senior Policy Associate, Coalition for Juvenile Justice
  • Register: Register here

New Cost-Benefit Analysis Toolkit to Help Evaluate Justice Policies & Programs

cbaA new toolkit, published by the Cost-Benefit Analysis Unit (CBAU) at the Vera Institute of Justice, will help guide government agencies as they assess their justice investments: Cost-Benefit Analysis and Justice Policy Toolkit.

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is an evaluation technique that compares the costs of programs with the benefits they deliver—allowing agencies to determine the best use of budget regarding justice policies and programs.

Advocates of juvenile justice reform can use CBA briefs to spark change, as the briefs can serve as concrete examples to share with policy and decision makers when encouraging investments.

This new toolkit outlines the six fundamental steps of conducting a CBA:

  1. Identify the investment’s potential impacts.
  2. Quantify the investment’s impacts.
  3. Determine marginal costs.
  4. Calculate costs, benefits, and net present value.
  5. Test the assumptions.
  6. Report the results.

The toolkit provides real word lessons and examples from six municipal, county, and state agencies in each step and is designed to guide justice analysts, especially those who are new to CBA.

Note: This project was supported by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Rikers to Ban Isolation for Inmates 21 and Younger; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Program Strives To Keeps Kids Out Of Jail, Link Them To Services Instead (Hartford Courant)
    "The longer a child stays out of the juvenile justice system, the better the outcome is for that child," said Bernadette Conway, who is the state's chief administrative judge for juvenile matters." Avoidable school-based arrests needlessly deprive children of an optimum education and all too often grossly compromise a child's ability to succeed in life."
  • Rikers to Ban Isolation for Inmates 21 and Younger (New York Times)
    New York City officials agreed on Tuesday to a plan that would eliminate the use of solitary confinement for all inmates 21 and younger, a move that would place the long-troubled Rikers Island complex at the forefront of national jail reform efforts.

Jobs, Grants, Events and Webinars

  • Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It's free to browse and post!

Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Mental Health

  • This Is What Happens When We Lock Children in Solitary Confinement (Mother Jones)
    While in isolation, Kenny—who was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder prior to the sixth grade—wrote to his mother, Melissa Bucher, begging her to make the two-hour drive to visit him. "I don't feel like I'm going to make it anymore," he wrote. "I'm in seclusion so I can't call and I'm prolly going to be in here for a while. My mind is just getting to me in here."
  • Teens Influenced by Misconceptions of Their Peers (Medical News Today)
    Research published in Developmental Psychology suggests that teenagers tend to overestimate the amount of drugs and alcohol that their peers use, as well as underestimating the amount of studying and exercise they do.
  • Eight Local Health Providers, UWM Respond to Gun Violence at Schools (
    Through a federal grant created to help communities respond to gun violence at schools, eight regional behavioral health providers and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are working to strengthen trauma and substance abuse counseling services for youth.

National Drug Facts Week: Why It’s Important to Get Teens Talking

Candid conversation and community events will be the focal points of National Drug Facts Week Jan. 26 through Feb. 1, 2015. A national health observance led by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Drug Facts Week seeks to work with teens to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse.Register to host an educational event for National Drug Facts Week in your community. Get started now with FREE materials!

NIDA encourages schools, community groups, sports clubs, hospitals and other interested organizations to host an event in your community, supported by a robust collection of resources and interactive tools provided by NIDA on its website. The website is even designed with teen-friendly language and graphics to make it easy for teens to also take action and host events among their peers.

NIDA is also hosting a Drug Facts Chat Day on January 30. The online chat will facilitate conversation between high school students and NIDA scientists, so students from around the country can comfortably ask questions they most want answered, knowing that these expert scientists will give them the facts.

At Reclaiming Futures, we believe in the power of facilitating productive conversation with teens about substance use. It helps to illuminate their needs and identifies ways that parents, family members, educators and health professionals can be supportive in paving a healthy and substance-free future.

Our new pilot project, an adaptation of Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), is an early intervention framework built around a motivational conversation with youth at risk of juvenile justice involvement. We will train front line staff in juvenile justice diversion settings to use screening tools and brief follow up sessions to tailor a treatment response that matches with the youth's level of need and motivation.

Like National Drug Facts Week, this new SBIRT approach seeks to support teens with substance use questions and habits through motivational conversations with health experts. We’re happy to support NIDA’s efforts, and encourage you to share this opportunity.

Visit the National Drug Facts Week website to learn how to host your own community event.

Upcoming Webinar: “Remove the Shackles and Help Kids Succeed”

shacklesAn upcoming Spotlight on Youth webinar: “Remove the Shackles and Help Kids Succeed” will explore the practice of shackling, why it is harmful to our young people in the juvenile justice system, and how the practice can be removed altogether.

The webinar will take place on Jan. 16 and include guests with expert insight on this topic:

  • Judge Jay D. Blitzman, First Justice-Massachusetts Juvenile Court, Middlesex Division
  • John D. Elliott, Private Attorney, Columbia, SC
  • David A. Shapiro, Campaign Manager, Campaign Against Indiscriminate Juvenile Shackling, National Juvenile Defender Center

Those that are aware of the practice have long questioned shackling in the juvenile justice system, and several counties have ongoing efforts to remove it: In Miami-Dade County, more than 20,000 youth appeared in court without shackles between 2006 and 2011—no one escaped or was harmed after shackling was removed.

Unfortunately, many are unaware that teens are often brought from detention and correctional facilities to juvenile court in leg irons, belly chains and handcuffs—before they are charged with any wrongdoing.

On this Jan. 16 episode of Spotlight on Youth, guests will describe the national movement to end the indiscriminate practice, and share their personal efforts and experiences in changing the norm for kids in juvenile court.

To listen in, visit Spotlight on Youth five minutes before the scheduled start time. Listeners are invited and encouraged to ask questions live on the air: call (347)994-1149 and push number 1 on your keypad.

When: Jan. 16, 2015

  • 3-4 p.m. Eastern
  • 2-3 p.m. Central
  • 1-2 p.m Mountain
  • 12-1 p.m. Pacific

Spotlight on Youth is a radio show that focuses on social and legal trends impacting the rights and well-being of young people. Spotlight on Youth is hosted by the Children's Law Center, Inc., a not-for-profit legal services organization dedicated to children's rights issues.

4 Things to Understand About Youth, Mental Health & Juvenile Justice; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Study: Ohio Diversion Program Decreases Delinquency (JJIE)
    Most offenders ages 10 to 18 with mental health and behavioral problems who were diverted from detention centers to a treatment program in Ohio over an eight-year period showed decreases in future delinquency, a study shows.
  • Reducing Youth Incarceration in Rhode Island (Providence Journal)
    A new Justice Policy Institute report, Sticker Shock: Calculating the Full Price Tag of Youth Incarceration, shows that Rhode Island is one of 33 states that pay more than $100,000 to incarcerate a single young person for a year. In fiscal year 2013, the total was $186,000, about 13 times what it costs to educate a student for one year in Rhode Island.
  • Acting Juvenile Justice Director Picked for Post (Charlotte Observer)
    Haley spokeswoman Chaney Adams said Thursday that Sylvia Murray will head the agency that oversees about 140 prisoners and another 8,500 juveniles in other disciplinary programs. It has some 1,400 employees.

Jobs, Grants, Events and Webinars

  • Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It's free to browse and post!

Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Mental Health

  • 4 Things to Understand About Youth, Mental Health & Juvenile Justice (Forbes)
    Currently, lack of capacity and resources contributes to high recidivism rates and skyrocketing taxpayer burden. As we enter a new year, with a new Congress, it is important as a country that we think about the mental, physical and financial health of our country’s most vulnerable individuals: children. Here are four things to understand about our juvenile justice system, and our children that live within the system.
  • Take Steps to Prevent Substance Abuse (Democrat & Chronicle)
    The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that for every dollar invested in prevention, a savings of up to $10 in treatment can be seen. When substance abuse can be prevented altogether, however, the savings in human potential are exponential.

Topics: News

Five Reclaiming Futures Sites Chosen to Implement SBIRT

sites map

As a result of new funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, five new Reclaiming Futures sites will pilot an innovative adaptation of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for adolescents.

We vetted 20 competitive applications and selected three existing Reclaiming Futures sites to add SBIRT: King County, Washington; Nassau County, New York; and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

We also chose two brand news sites to incorporate the Reclaiming Futures model with SBIRT included—Washington County, Oregon, and Chittenden County, Vermont—which brings our total number of sites since inception to 41.

Each of the five pilot sites will serve at least 100 youth over the course of three years. The target will be youth who show mild to moderate levels of substance use—a population that doesn’t often qualify for or seek treatment, but who are at high risk for developing worse substance abuse problems down the road. Clinical Director for this initiative, Evan Elkin, will design an engaging, teen-friendly one to five session intervention tailored for a juvenile justice setting that can be administered flexibly depending on the severity of the youth’s substance use.

Read more from Clinical Director Evan Elkin about the SBIRT pilot.

Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events

opportunityBelow you’ll find a selection of the latest grants, jobs, webinars and events posted to our Opportunity Board. Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!




Reclaiming Futures Top Posts of 2014

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 1.29.44 PMTo celebrate 2014 as it comes to an end, here are Reclaiming Futures top five most popular blog posts of the year!

  1. Watch: PBS Documentary “15 to Life”
    A new PBS Documentary “15 to Life” takes a close look at one man’s story to combat his life sentence after being convicted at age 15. Though Kenneth Young was convicted more than a decade ago for armed robbery, the S. Supreme Court ruled four years ago that a life in prison sentence without parole for a juvenile offender in a non-homicide case was unconstitutional.
  1. For Young People Addicted to Painkillers, the Path Less Taken—Why?
    Mistakenly, many adolescents believe that Rx opioids are safe because they are prescribed by a doctor. But when abused, they can be as potent and as deadly as heroin. In fact, many teens and young adults who abuse Rx opioids move on to heroin abuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls prescription drug abuse an "epidemic," and we see it as a public health issue that disproportionately impacts our kids.
  1. The Emotional State of Poverty: A Powerful Photo Essay
    As a native of Troy who struggled with teen pregnancy, drugs and an unstable living environment, Kenneally returned to her hometown after getting sober and studying photojournalism to capture what she experienced as an emotional state of poverty.
  1. End the Culture of Violence and Trauma: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Wants Your Ideas
    The Juvenile Law Center, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has released a report Trauma and Resiliencethat illustrates how systems and services can help children and families overcome the trauma they encounter.
  1. Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide
    Earlier this month, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), published a guide detailing a drug abuse approach that goes way beyond "Just Say No!" The guide, "Presents research-based principles of adolescent substance use disorder treatment; covers treatment for a variety of drugs including, illicit and prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco; presents settings and evidence-based approaches unique to treating adolescents."

Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events

opportunityBelow you’ll find a selection of the latest grants, jobs, webinars and events posted to our Opportunity Board. Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!



Topics: News

New Common Justice Issue Brief Examines Need for Victim Services

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 4.30.05 PMAmong all of the discussions regarding inequities in our legal system, there is one impacted group that is continually left out—survivors of violence and trauma. Common Justice—a Vera Institute of Justice victim service and alternative-to-incarceration program—recently released an issue brief to spark efforts to change this: Young Men of Color and the Other Side of Harm: Addressing Disparities in Our Response to Violence.

Common Justice released this brief to raise awareness of this “often overlooked” group of victims, who are often young men of color, and to inspire further local and nationwide efforts to provide the support and services this group needs.

The brief provides background and history of this group and the issues surrounding them, why this matters for juvenile justice, the barriers to support for victims, and suggestions for future improvements. Highlights of the brief include the following:

  • Data from 1996 through 2007 revealed that young black men were the most likely to be robbed every year, most likely to be victimized by violence overall in six of the 11 years, and second most likely to be victimized in four of the 11 years.
  • Victims of violence experience negative, lasting impacts in regard to health, education, employment, finances, and future safety.
  • Stark misperceptions about what a “victim of crime” is among this group contributes to the lack of support. A 2008 Vera study: “When asked broadly if they had been “victims of crime,” they all responded no. However, when asked whether they had “had something taken from them by force or been robbed,” nine of the 10 [study participants] said yes.”
  • Current victim services lack access to services for primary needs (as determined by victims), which include “help securing employment, getting back to school or into GED programs, and developing tools to end the gang involvement or resolve the neighborhood-based conflicts that put them in harm’s way.”
  • Negative experiences with law enforcement significantly reduce likelihood that a victim will report the crime; the most recent study revealed that unreported violent crimes increased by 130 percent from 2011-2012.

Efforts to improve services and support provided to victims of crime and trauma are growing—especially for young men of color. In the last few years, a number of programs and platforms have surfaced that are dedicated to this issue, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Forward Promise initiative, the National Network of Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs, the Institute for Black Male Achievement, and the White House’s recently launched My Brother’s Keeper.

Common Justice is also developing a learning collaborative for people and organizations who are or could be working with young men of color who have been harmed by violence.

For more information, read the nine-page brief and visit the Common Justice website.

No More Solitary Confinement for Adolescent Inmates in NYC; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Expert: Juvenile Justice Report Will Spur Reform at Rikers Island (The Forum News Group)
    “This reform will promote better behavior, psychological health and emotional well-being among our youngest inmates while lessening violence,” Department of Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte said. “It represents best practices and the least restrictive environment, allowing us to respond more appropriately to the special needs of this troubled population, and help them re-integrate into the community when they leave our care and custody.”
  • MacArthur Lauds Juvenile Justice Reformers (JJIE)
    In a written letter to the award recipients, MacArthur Foundation interim President Julia Stasch said: “No movement proceeds on the strength of research alone. Reform is animated by the passion and tenacity of the people who make a cause their cause.”

Jobs, Grants, Events and Webinars

  • Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It's free to browse and post!

Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Mental Health

  • Conrad N. Hilton Foundation awards $1.35 million grant to Legal Action Center (Globe NewsWire)
    Through a $1.35 million grant over three years from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, LAC and its partners will evaluate how the full range of adolescent prevention and early intervention services are being offered and to what extent insurers are implementing these services. They also will educate service providers about federal confidentiality requirements crucial to encouraging youth to seek services.
  • LifeWise panel sheds light on youth alcohol abuse (Salt Lake City Weekly)
    Nebraska may offer the good life, but depending on which survey one is reading, its youth now rank from second to the fifth highest in the nation for binge drinking, higher than its surrounding Midwest states.


El Paso Teens Build Thanksgiving Float that Earns Community Recognition

More than 250,000 people watched and cheered from the sidelines at the annual Thanksgivingangrybirds Sun Bowl Parade in El Paso, Texas, where more than 100 “gaming mania” themed parade floats, marching bands, giant helium balloons, equestrian units and more glided down the street. Among them, the Challenge Explorers Float, whose Angry Birds themed float took home the Governor’s Award for Best Presentation of the Parade’s Theme.

The teens who constructed the Challenge Explorers Float from the ground up are part of El Paso County’s Challenge Academy, a residential Reclaiming Futures program that is part of its continuum of care and an extension of El Paso’s pro-social activities for youth. These young men and women have been through the juvenile justice system, and oftentimes do community service as part of the Academy’s activities. Building a parade float—from concept development to construction to walking in the parade—offered participants the opportunity to get involved in their local community, and collaborate with staff and family.

“Oftentimes these kids have been outcasts most of their lives, and don’t know what it’s like to be a part of something bigger and be successful at it. To start a project from nothing, come together as a unit and produce a product that wins awards is instrumental in building self-confidence,” says Director of the Challenge Academy, Sam Heredia.


El Paso’s Juvenile Probation Department was extremely involved and committed to fundraising, coordinating activities throughout the year like selling popcorn, candy gram sales and ice cream float gatherings to raise money for materials and construction. Families of the teens also got involved as part of the Academy’s family reintegration program, donating supplies and working alongside them to build the award-winning float. The collaborated effort meant that not a dime of taxpayer or county money was spent.

Roger Martinez, Chief Juvenile Probation Officer, explains: “This initiative is an example of our response to the A&E show Beyond Scared Straight. We’re learning more and more through programs like the El Paso County Challenge Academy that positive reinforcement actually has a longer lasting impact. In this case, these teens were acknowledged in a positive way by their community, which has the potential to change their mindsets and lead them to become active community members once more.”

Since its inception in 2008, El Paso County Juvenile Justice Center has embraced Reclaiming Futures’ systems change approach through community collaborations and partnerships, which have served juvenile justice youth and families through continued services beyond treatment. These collaborations have expanded to include collaboration with the local FBI Office, Homeland Security and the Sheriff’s Department, in which members of these agencies volunteer their time to act as mentors to youth in the El Paso County Drug Court Program. Members also volunteer their own time to accompany juvenile justice youth to a local gym to teach alternatives to substance use and promote healthier drug free lifestyles.

Tapping into the creative side of juvenile justice involved youth, El Paso County partners with local artists and businesses for contributions, incorporating art into to the educational curriculum utilized by Delta Academy (El Paso Independent School District) or as a catalyst for these youth to express themselves without the need to engage in substance use.

El Paso County is a great example of strong community collaborations and systems change. We are proud to share their accomplishments and look forward to seeing what they strive for next.

Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events

opportunityBelow you’ll find a selection of the latest grants, jobs, webinars and events posted to our Opportunity Board. Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!