Study Demonstrates that Summer Jobs Reduce Violent Crime Among Teens

onesummerA recent study from the University of Chicago Crime Lab revealed that summer jobs programs for high school students from disadvantaged neighborhoods have a significant impact on reducing crime among teens.

The study focused on Chicago’s One Summer Plus program, which offers eight weeks of part-time summer employment to young people and an adult job mentor to help manage barriers to employment.

The study included 1,634 teens from 13 high-violence high schools who were almost all C students and eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Twenty percent of the group had already been arrested, and 20 percent had already been victims of crime.

Compared the control group, this group experienced a 43 percent reduction in violent-crime arrests over 16 months, emphasizing the importance of pro-social activities for young people—something Reclaiming Futures believes is key to success.

A Washington Post article covering the study discussed why the results are so important: “That number is striking for a couple of reasons: It implies that a relatively short (and inexpensive) intervention like an eight-week summer jobs program can have a lasting effect on teenage behavior. And it lends empirical support to a popular refrain by advocates: ‘Nothing stops a bullet like a job.’”

Researcher Sara Heller, who conducted a randomized control trial with the program, said of the outcomes:

“The results echo a common conclusion in education and health research: that public programs might do more with less by shifting from remediation to prevention. The findings make clear that such programs need not be hugely costly to improve outcomes for disadvantaged youth; well-targeted, low-cost employment policies can make a substantial difference, even for a problem as destructive and complex as youth violence.”

The decline occurred mainly after the eight-week program ended, demonstrating that the summer of employment did more than keep the teens busy—it changed their behavior after the job, as well.

For our past reporting on the impact of pro-social activities, visit:

Addressing Youth Crime by Teaching Social Skills through Sports

Stop Bullying by Promoting Pro-Social Skills on the Playground

Image from One Summer Chicago website

Report: North Carolina Spends $160,000 a Year to Lock Up a Juvenile; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Report: State Spends $160,000 a Year to Lock Up a Juvenile (Winston-Salem Journal)
    North Carolina is spending almost $160,000 a year to incarcerate a young person, according to a new report released Tuesday. But the state has made significant strides in reducing the number of juveniles it locks up, said Marc Schindler, executive director of the Justice Policy Institute, which released the report “Sticker Shock: Calculating the Full Price Tag for Youth Incarceration.”
  • How the NYPD is Using Social Media to Put Harlem Teens Behind Bars (The Verge)
    The story of the Henry brothers highlights a new reality for teenagers growing up at the intersection of social media, street gangs, and mounting law enforcement surveillance. For those coming of age in gang-saturated areas, the mountains of digital media posted online are a tangled web of connections that can be used to lock up violent perpetrators—but can also ensnare the innocent along with them.
  • Nine-Year-Old’s Arrest Prompts Call for Change by Federal Judge (The Wall Street Journal)
    “It is time for a change in our jurisprudence that would deal with petty crimes by minors in a more enlightened fashion,” wrote Judge Carlos F. Lucero of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion Friday. “The criminal punishment of young schoolchildren leaves permanent scars and unresolved anger, and its far-reaching impact on the abilities of these children to lead future prosperous and productive lives should be a matter of grave concern for us all.”

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

  • Teens Share How Alcohol, Drugs Present Obstacles to Adulthood (Los Altos Town Crier)
    This is the first in a two-part series exploring adolescent substance abuse in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Part 1 examines the causes and circumstances of substance abuse from the teenage perspective. Part 2 will delve into resources available to youth in the community.
  • Making Good Decisions (Burlington Free Press)
    Listening to the presentation by Vermont Adult and Teen Challenge was a sobering experience for many students after seeing video clips about the traumatic and sometimes fatal consequences of using drugs and alcohol, and hearing from former addicts and alcoholics.


Two Reclaiming Futures Sites Come Together to Celebrate Natural Helpers


A few members of the Lucas County Reclaiming Futures team attended the 11th Natural Helper Recognition Program in Montgomery County, Ohio, last month. The Recognition Program was held at the Presidential Banquet Center and highlighted volunteers in Montgomery County who are working with the court to help teens overcome drugs, alcohol and crime. It was very beneficial for our Lucas County team to see and hear the testimonials of how the Montgomery County team has engaged the faith-based community, as well as other volunteers in the community, by recruiting and training them to become Natural Helpers. The recognition acknowledged that it takes a village, meaning everyone—the court and community—to work towards the common goal of supporting youth to make positive changes.

The keynote speaker, LaShea Smith, spoke powerfully about how Natural Helpers fit into the Reclaiming Futures mantra of “More Treatment, Better Treatment, and Beyond Treatment.” She spoke to how Natural Helpers in the community learn to recognize that there is an “opportunity in every obstacle”.

I joined the Juvenile Justice Fellow, Mike Brennan, the Juvenile Treatment Court Case Manager, Andrea Hill, the Parent Partner, Victoria Kamm, and the Lucas County Youth Advocate Program Director, Sherri Munn, in a trip from Lucas County to Montgomery County to both support the Reclaiming Futures programming and to learn how Lucas County can better engage their local faith based community, as well as others to provide mentoring services to court involved youth.

The Honorable Nick Kuntz and the Honorable Anthony Capizzi, Montgomery County Juvenile Court, and the Montgomery County Reclaiming Futures team did an outstanding job with putting together the Recognition Program, welcoming our Lucas County team, and promoting fellowship with other attendees. There were more than 200 people in attendance. We look forward to visiting other Reclaiming Futures sites in the future.


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!



New Funding Opportunity to Help Eliminate Solitary Confinement

veraVera Institute of Justice has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for corrections departments in search of safe alternatives to segregation, also referred to as solitary confinement.

Solitary confinement is a controversial and often debated topic in the realm of juvenile justice as teens that are segregated often experience mental health and behavioral problems—as well as a higher rate of recidivism upon release.

In the spotlight this year regarding its practices of solitary confinement was Rikers Island. Conditions at Rikers have been described as “horrific” and were condemned by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York this August, who stated that the use of solitary confinement for youths was “excessive and inappropriate.”

There is growing nation-wide support to eliminate solitary confinement entirely as evidence suggests it is an expensive and counterproductive policy for facilities and public safety.

Vera Institute of Justice, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, is now offering five state or local corrections systems a chance to explore and implement an alternative to solitary confinement as part of its new Safe Alternatives to Segregation (SAS) Initiative.

The goals of the initiative include the following:

  • Assist states and counties in reducing their use of segregation;
  • Develop, demonstrate, and evaluate alternatives to disciplinary, administrative, and protective custody segregation;
  • Raise awareness across all correctional institutions nationwide—prisons and jails—of alternatives to segregation;
  • Conduct evaluations and impact studies and make their findings known across the corrections field; and
  • Produce practitioner-focused guides to implementing alternative practices.

The SAS initiative expands on Vera’s Segregation Reduction Project, which has worked with corrections departments since 2010 in states including Washington, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania to reduce reliance on segregation.

Applications will be accepted through Jan. 30, 2015. To learn more about the SAS initiative, including the full RFP and guidelines to submitting an application, visit Vera’s website.

Honoring the Achievements of Dr. H. Westley Clark

Dr Wesley ClarkWe’re pleased to honor the achievements of Dr. H. Westley Clark in light of his recent retirement including his incredible impact on substance abuse treatment and commitment to the success of our young people.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration recognizes the strides Dr. H. Westley Clark made during his 16 years as the Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), and more than 30 years in the federal government:

Wes’ professional life is one marked by non-stop accomplishments and accolades (such as the AMA’s John P. McGovern Award, Presidential Rank Award, Vernelle Fox Award from the California Society of Addiction Medicine, Solomon Carter Fuller Award from the American Psychiatric Association, and multiple Awards for Distinguished Service from the HHS Secretary). His long and distinguished career has had significant impacts on the research, practice, policies and programs in the treatment of substance use disorders. Wes is a graduate of the chemistry program at Detroit’s Wayne State University, the University of Michigan schools of medicine and public health, and Harvard law school. He also completed a two-year Substance Abuse Fellowship at the Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco, where he served as Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). He also served as senior program consultant to the Robert Wood Johnson Substance Abuse Policy Program and supported a number of National Institute of Drug Abuse-funded research grants.

Reclaiming Futures is happy to have worked parallel to Dr. H. Westley Clark and support his work in substance abuse treatment. We have admired his leadership in the recovery movement and commitment to increasing access to treatment services. In 2007 and 2009, Dr. Clark secured Reclaiming Futures funding from the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), along with OJJDP, to help us support sites implementing our model. He will be recognized for his lasting accomplishments, and we will continue to look toward his work for solutions and inspiration.

Image from SAMHSA website

Supreme Court Allows Resentencing of Illinois Inmates; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • South Dakota Juvenile Justice System Needs Change (WNAX Radio)
    A group of legislators has created a set of recommendations related to the state’s juvenile justice system. The South Dakota Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JJRI) Work Group submitted a list of policies for the upcoming legislative session that they believe will help solve the problems associated with the juvenile correction system.
  • Military Vet Takes Lead Role at Juvenile Court Services (The Des Moines Register)
    Today, Jensen has a responsibility to thousands of children and teens who enter the juvenile justice system in the Fifth Judicial District, the 16-county region that includes Des Moines. In October, he became the chief juvenile court officer, taking charge of an agency responsible for helping young people who've been in trouble with the police, often for crimes such as theft, assault or drug and alcohol offenses.
  • Supreme Court Allows Resentencing of Illinois Inmates (JJIE)
    Sentenced to life in prison at the age of 15, Julie Anderson’s 34-year-old son Eric, along with roughly 80 fellow Illinois inmates, has received his first hope for freedom since he sat in a courtroom 19 years ago.

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

  • Youth Behavioral-Health Issues are the Focus of a New University of Minnesota Social-Work Training Program (Minnesota Post)
    Nationwide, there is a growing shortage of social workers trained to assist youth facing mental illness and addiction. This year, with an eye to filling that gap, Joseph Merighi, associate professor of social work at the University of Minnesota, proposed the Minnesota Social Work Initiative in Behavioral Health, a program designed to train masters in social work (MSW) students to take jobs at community-based behavioral-health clinics, primary care clinics and substance-abuse centers.

Topics: News

Battling Childhood Mental Illness in Colorado

hospitalcoloradoThirteen percent of children, as young as age six, have diagnosable mental illness. About half of adults with mental illness had problems starting at a young age, and three-quarters of adults with mental illness experienced symptoms by age 22. The recent story of Joshua Plunkett in the The Denver Post, who has struggled with mental illness since the age of three, called attention to the growing need for early treatment for children dealing with mental illness.

Joshua’s story was likely shared in light of the estimated 89,000 children and teens in Colorado dealing with serious emotional disturbances, some of them severe enough that they cannot live with their families.

The emergency room at Children’s Hospital Colorado reported 3,100 kids experiencing a mental health crisis, which has contributed to the 10 to 30 percent average increase each year. The hospital is on track to see more than 3,800 children in mental health crisis at the emergency department this year—many of which are described as suicidal or aggressive and threatening to hurt someone else.

“We are really in a behavioral health crisis in our state,” said Dr. Douglas Novins, chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Children’s. “The number of children who are coming here in behavioral health crisis has really increased enormously.”

Recent studies have demonstrated that early treatment is key to improving mental illness; however, kids younger than six are the least likely to receive mental health care if they need it.

Because a huge portion of brain development happens in the first three years of life, treatment at that time can have a lifelong impact, Dr. Shannon Bekman, program manager for the infant mental health program at the Mental Health Center of Denver, said.

The Mental Health Center of Denver provides therapists in several Denver schools and public health clinics to allow kids to get psychiatric care at the same place they see pediatricians. More than 1,500 Denver students received 12,000 mental health therapy sessions last year.

Denver Public Schools has also implemented plans to help combat this growing issue: Every school in the district has either a psychologist, social worker or both, and mental health staff has increased 30 percent in five years.

“If we don’t look at it through the mental health lens, it may be seen as a discipline problem,” Eldridge Greer, director of social emotional learning for Denver schools, said. “If we don’t address mental health, we are not going to get the results we want in academics.”

Read the full story on The Denver Post for more details.

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!


Juvenile Court Records: Is a Lack of Protection Harming Teens’ Future Success?

juvenilerecordsThe Juvenile Law Center, a public interest law firm in Philadelphia, issued a “report card” this week demonstrating that the records of juvenile offenders are more easily available to the public than they should be, creating obstacles to future success for many teens.

Juvenile records contain details about a child’s family, social history, mental health history, substance abuse history, education, and involvement with the law. According to the Juvenile Law Center’s new national scorecard, the majority of states lack the protections necessary to keep this information confidential. Instead, many states allow these records to be accessed by the media, employers, government agencies and victims, which can create future barriers to housing, education and employment for teen offenders.

Failed Policies, Forfeited Futures: A Nationwide Scorecard on Juvenile Records is the first comprehensive evaluation of state policies that govern the confidentiality and expungement of juvenile court records. No state earned the maximum five-star rating, and the national average was three out of the possible five stars.

These records often remain open to allow courts, correction officials and juvenile agencies to plan a course of treatment and rehabilitation; however, few states have systems that prohibit the public from accessing these records later on.

“There is a misperception that juvenile records are confidential and automatically destroyed when a youth is no longer under court supervision,” said Riya Saha Shah, an attorney at the Juvenile Law Center and architect of the study. “Permanent open records are like a ball and chain that prevent young people from becoming productive adults.”

Of the many teens arrested in the U.S. each year, 95 percent are for nonviolent offenses, meaning these young people were never a threat to public safety and often do not have further trouble with the law. Yet, these nonviolent records can negatively impact the rest of their adult life when viewed by potential employers, landlords or college admissions offices.

To prevent these negative impacts, the Juvenile Law Center has 10 recommendations to help keep juvenile records from affecting teens’ adult life:

  • Records should not be widely available online.
  • Records should be sealed to the public before they are expunged.
  • Records should be automatically sealed and expunged.
  • Expungement should include physical destruction and electronic deletion.
  • Expungement eligibility should begin once a case is closed.
  • All offenses should be eligible for expungement.
  • One entity should be designated to inform youth about the expungement.
  • Forms for expungement should be youth-friendly.
  • Filing for expungement should be free.
  • There should be sanctions for failure to comply.

The Juvenile Law Center also encouraged policymakers, states, attorneys, and court personnel to review juvenile record laws and protections and look for ways to improve them.

Three States Lead the Way for Juvenile Justice Reforms; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Teen Is Used to Being Behind Bars, Imagines Future There (JJIE)
    Ruben Rodriguez, a teen from the Bronx, is on Rikers Island, waiting to stand trial for homicide. By the time he returned to the Box (punitive segregation) in late September, City of New York Correction Department Commissioner Joseph Ponte publicly promised to end punitive segregation for Rikers’ roughly 300 juvenile inmates by 2015.
  • Three States Lead the Way for Juvenile Justice Reforms (
    State leaders from Georgia, Hawaii, and Kentucky discuss the shifting landscape in juvenile justice and how they enacted data-driven and fiscally sound policies that protect public safety, improve outcomes for youths, and contain correctional costs.
  • Transferring Juveniles to Adult Justice System Detrimental (Indian Express)
    The provision of transferring juveniles between 16 and 18 years of age, accused of serious crimes, to the adult justice system was widely discussed and was found to be detrimental rather than effective at a national-level consultation between officials and experts — in the field of juvenile justice and child reforms — on the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) campus Saturday.
  • CT Supreme Court Examining Long, Mandatory Sentences For Juveniles (Hartford Courant)
    Before Ackeem Riley was sentenced to at least 85 years in jail for his involvement in a 2006 gang-related, drive-by shooting in the North End of Hartford, the prosecutor said the teen "should never, ever be on the streets again." That was before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a trio of cases that a child's age and maturity should be considered before courts impose harsh sentences, and that state laws that strip judges of discretion when sentencing juvenile offenders constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

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

  • Sugar Can Worsen Teens' Depression And Anxiety And Change How They React To Stress (Medical Daily)
    “It is alarming that the teen stress experience is so similar to that of adults. It is even more concerning that they seem to underestimate the potential impact that stress has on their physical and mental health,” APA CEO and Executive Vice President Norman B. Anderson said in a press release. “In order to break this cycle of stress and unhealthy behaviors as a nation, we need to provide teens with better support and health education at school and home, at the community level and in their interactions with health care professionals.”

Topics: News

Register for Part II in this Webinar Series: Family Involvement in Juvenile Justice

Last week, I highlighted the value of family and mentor involvement in a teen’s life, particularlymentalhealth teens who have been involved in the juvenile justice system. This week and next, the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and the Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Collaborative for Change are building on that topic with a webinar series dedicated to family involvement in juvenile justice.

The first part, “Working with Families,” occurred this week and introduced strategies for teens and families to address behavioral health needs together, and how to integrate family engagement in a strategic and productive way.

The second of the series, “Navigating the Juvenile Justice System,” will be presented December 4 from 2-3 p.m. ET. This follow-up webinar will focus on facilitating understanding for families—engaging families by sharing insight about the system and ensuring they know how to access available services.

Family involvement is critical for youth with behavioral health disorders who are involved with the juvenile justice system. Families need information, training, and support to help them become knowledgeable about the juvenile justice system and effective advocates for their children. At the same time, juvenile justice systems need to ensure that their policies and procedures support family involvement and that staff are trained to better understand the family perspective, the benefits of family involvement, and specific strategies for family engagement.

Webinar: Navigating the Juvenile Justice System
When: December 4 from 2-3 p.m. ET
Presenters: Sarah Cusworth-Walker, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy at the University of Washington; Mathilda de Dios, Program Manager at the Northwestern Children and Family Justice Center in Chicago, Illinois
Register here

Reclaiming Futures in the Sea of Juvenile Justice Reform Initiatives

In the national scope of evidence-supported juvenile justice “reforms”, a question is often posed as to which approach or model makes the most sense to potential adopters. Or said another way, can we avoid “model fatigue” by adopting one reform methodology that gets us the best results with the most cost effective strategies?

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!


Understanding the Impact of Trauma on Juvenile Justice: New Tool to Support Efforts

Due to the connection between ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and juvenile justice system involvement, it has become increasingly important that the system become more trauma-informed in its processes.

The term ACEs refers to childhood abuse, neglect, and general household dysfunction that negatively affects a child’s development. To improve the treatment of young people impacted by ACEs in the juvenile justice system, there is an ongoing effort to increase knowledge of trauma-informed care and how it can improve systems in health, justice and education.

Communities like ACEs Connection, which work to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and to change systems to stop traumatizing already traumatized people, are already paving the way to combat this problem in the future.

The latest resource to support these efforts is a new tool created by JBS International and Georgetown University National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health. These two organizations came together to build a free online tool called “Trauma Informed Care: Perspectives and Resources” that provides insights and resources for those who want to be more trauma-informed.

The tool includes the following to allow users to take advantage of existing research, knowledge, practices, and approaches that have already shown to be effective in addressing trauma:

  • Video interviews of national, state, tribal, and local leaders in many child-serving systems; developers of evidence-based treatments and practices; physicians; researchers; administrators of provider organizations; clinicians; youth and young adults; families; and advocates who share lessons learned and identify remaining gaps.
  • Issue briefs that provide an introduction and overview for each of the tool’s eight modules.
  • Comprehensive resource lists to support users in understanding how to build trauma-informed systems and organizations.

Explore the eight modules of the tool on the site, which is now live!

For past reporting on ACEs in the juvenile justice system, see the following:

Applying ACEs to Juvenile Justice; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • States Are Failing to Protect Juvenile Records, Study Shows (JJIE)
    The consequences are serious, according to the center, which conducted the nearly 18-month study with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Youthful offenders are being denied college admission, military service and jobs because of the too-free sharing of information about crimes they committed as children or teenagers.
  • Council of Juvenile, Family Court Judges Receives DOJ Grant (
    The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges recently received $1.45 million from the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for two national juvenile justice data projects: the National Juvenile Court Data Archive and the National Juvenile Justice Data Analysis Project.

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

  • Applying ACEs to Juvenile Justice (Chronicles of Social Change)
    “The relationship between childhood trauma and juvenile justice involvement is pretty startling,” said Karleen Jakowski, supervisor of adolescent behavioral services at a non-profit health clinic in Yolo County.
  • Teens Living Close to High Number of Tobacco Shops More Likely to Smoke (
    Based on their findings, researchers argue that anti-smoking strategies among teenagers should include reducing the overall density of tobacco retailers. They say that limiting teenagers’ access to tobacco products is vital, as long-term smoking usually begins in adolescence.

Topics: News

Family Engagement in the Juvenile Justice System: Still a Long Way to Go

The role of family and mentors in any teen’s life contributes to their success and healthy Reclaiming Futures Programfuture. The role of family and mentors for teens in the juvenile justice system or a juvenile correctional facility is even more critical.

Family engagement in the juvenile justice system is not a new concept, but it is a key component to ensuring at-risk teens stay clear of substance abuse and crime. A recent Juvenile Justice Information Exchange article addresses this need in youth detention centers:

“Experts, supported by a small but growing body of research, say fostering family engagement improves incarcerated youths’ behavior, helps families feel more connected, reduces disciplinary incidents and boosts the staff morale.”

“Moreover, strengthening these connections better prepares youths for a return to the community upon release — most return to their family homes — and reduces repeat offenses.”

While the author Gary Gately does identify some successful programs where family involvement and treatment are front and center, he shares that most systems nationally are more focused on punishment, and oftentimes there exists a contentious relationship between family members and juvenile facility staff members.

Reclaiming Futures’ sites work with a wide variety of community members and resources to contribute to youth success as they remain in their community. Led by the community fellow(s), sites link youth to mentors, education, employment, job training, hobbies, sports, volunteer opportunities, faith communities, and other prosocial activities of interest to youth.

As we’ve seen among Reclaiming Futures sites who have achieved success with this strategy, family involvement and mentors should be closely integrated into a teen’s life for optimal results. For example, Reclaiming Futures in Santa Cruz is taking preventative action with a partnership with Hands on Fatherhood, encouraging fathers and father-figures to create meaningful relationships with their kids. Also, Reclaiming Futures in Snohomish County saw success with its Promising Arts in Recovery program, which added a mentorship and creative arts component to treatment, resulting in substance-free teens who become productive members of their communities.

Gately shares some wonderful examples of successful family integration efforts around the country. Those, paired with Reclaiming Futures’ efforts to connect teens with support systems during and after exiting the juvenile justice system, are pioneering the way to a deeper systemic impact that can hopefully lead to communities and facilities committed to full family and community engagement.

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!




Examining the Keys to Success for Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice System

keysIn 2002, Connecticut’s contracted rehabilitation programs for juvenile offenders were discontinued, as they were not producing the results necessary to justify their costs.

The lack of the programs’ success was brought to light when a study by the Connecticut Policy and Economic Council, which assessed the return on taxpayer dollars from juvenile justice programs, revealed that recidivism rates among juveniles in the contracted programs were significantly higher than that of a matched sample with no programming. The funding for these programs was cut and reinvested elsewhere.

However, Connecticut has made a complete turnaround in recent years with a 40 percent decrease in arrests, calling for an examination of how they’ve made such staggering improvements.

A recent article in the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange emphasized the following as significant developments that have gotten the state this far:

  • Connecticut changed the policy that processed 16- and 17-year-olds through adult court. Now they fall within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court system. While this “Raise the Age” reform was expected to double juvenile court intake, intakes are actually lower.
  • Connecticut invested in juvenile probation officers and boasts some of the lowest officer/client ratios in the country. Officers are also afforded tremendous training in motivational interviewing, family engagement, adolescent development and more.
  • A Connecticut-specific risk/needs assessment instrument was created, normed and validated, and is regularly updated and refined, as is the process the assessment tool is used with.
  • An automated case plan helps focus officers and clients alike on specific goals and ensures appropriate treatment.
  • Data systems were developed to carefully monitor outcomes.
  • Connecticut, in subscribing to the Result-Based Accountability tenets, asks and answers quantitatively on a quarterly basis: How much is being done, how well is it being done and is anyone better off?

Note: Read the full article on JJIE for further details on Connecticut’s past and future plans to continue improving its juvenile justice system.

Healing From Trauma: Girls in Juvenile Justice; News Roundup

News-oldTV-smlJuvenile Justice Reform

  • Healing From Trauma: Girls in Juvenile Justice (Spark Action)
    Imagine being a child abused or neglected by someone you know, feeling unsafe in your own home, being betrayed by people who you should be able to trust. Where would you go? How would you cope with such traumatic experiences? For girls involved in the juvenile justice system, their options are very limited, and none of them would be seen as good choices from a middle class perspective.

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

  • Charlotte Hungerford Hospital Opens Center for Youth and Families (Litchfield County Times)
    The center’s clinical manager, Joan M. Neveski, said bringing the two facilities under one roof has been a multi-year effort. Neveski has been working with the hospital since 2007, returning after working at the there for eight years during a previous period.
  • Children as Young as 12 Treated for Drug Abuse at Abu Dhabi Centre (The National UAE)
    Children as young as 12 years old are being treated for drug abuse at the National Rehabilitation Centre. In addition to the adults it deals with, the centre, which was launched in 2002, treats mostly male Emirati minors between the ages of 12 and 18.
  • We Should All Be Ashamed (Huffington Post)
    Because of inadequate treatment and housing, the mentally ill are extremely vulnerable to arrest for avoidable nuisance crimes -- it is as simple as stealing some food from a store, sleeping on a bench in a public park, or shouting back at voices in the middle of the night.

Topics: News