OJJDP Releases New Funding Opportunity for Two-Phase Juvenile Reentry Demonstration Program

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is seeking applicants for a newly released funding opportunity: the FY2014 Second Chance Act Two-Phase Juvenile Reentry Demonstration Program: Planning and Implementation.

This two-phase grant program will provide up to $750,000 to help state and local governments, as well as federally recognized Indian tribes, plan and implement programs or strategies that achieve the following:

  • Support the successful reentry of youth released from confinement.
  • Reflect an enhanced emphasis on the adoption, integration, and effective implementation of practices that research has demonstrated improves juvenile reentry outcomes.

Successful applicants will be required to complete two phases of work: a project-planning phase—which must receive OJJDP approval—and a project-implementation phase. The initial award period will be 24 months, with up to six months to complete the planning process.

During the fiscal year, OJJDP may make as many as 15 awards under this program. As opposed to previous fiscal years, applicants will apply for a single award that includes both the planning phase and the implementation phase with specific deliverables required during each.

Mental Health Week: Some Numbers to Remember; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

Welcome Judge Anthony Capizzi as new Reclaiming Futures Judicial Faculty

I am very pleased to announce that the Honorable Anthony Capizzi, of Montgomery County Juvenile Court, Dayton, OH, will serve as Judicial Faculty for Reclaiming Futures! You might remember Judge Capizzi from our blog in late March. We published a story about the Judge getting snowed in during the Washington D.C. storms and how he used Skype to hold court in Ohio without interruption–a first for the court.

In addition to serving as the long-time judicial fellow at his site, Judge Capizzi is a nationally recognized leader in juvenile justice, a national juvenile drug court trainer/expert, a Reclaiming Futures judicial trainer, leader of the Reclaiming Futures spread initiative in Ohio, and presenter of Reclaiming Futures across the country. In Ohio, Judge Capizzi serves on the Board of Trustees of the Judicial College and has served as the initial Chair of the Ohio Judicial College Juvenile Law Curriculum Committee. Under his leadership over the last three years, they have completely revised/updated the juvenile judges training curriculum in Ohio. Judge Capizzi also serves as a Trustee of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association (NCJFCJ) and is active on several board committees.

Judge Capizzi is very excited about working with our judges to strengthen Reclaiming Futures in their communities. Please join us in welcoming Judge Capizzi to his new role!

Topics: No bio box

Former Justice-Involved Teen Becomes Juvenile Youth Advocate

A moving video on the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange tells the story of a former justice-involved teen. Now a youth justice advocate at the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, Xavier McElrath-Bey had been arrested 19 times by the time he was 13 years old. He grew up in an impoverished area in the South Side of Chicago that was known for its violence, crime, and drugs. His stepfather was abusive, his mother suffered from depression and schizophrenia, and his family was unable to afford basic necessities including gas, electricity and even food, and they were often evicted and forced to move.
Over 250,000 youth are being charged as adults every year. Like Xavier, these are children that have the odds stacked against them to begin with. Most of these youth experience trauma, endure physical abuse, and come from backgrounds with poor education and little opportunity for employment. In addition, these children are disproportionately Latinos and African Americans.
Now an advocate to reform the juvenile justice system, Xavier hopes that through sharing his story, he’ll also change people’s perceptions of formerly incarcerated youth and help them understand that these kids have great potential for positive change.

Get Involved in National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week 2014

In 2004, the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (NFFCMH) declared the first full week of May as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. This year that week falls on May 4-10, and all are encouraged to participate in a weeklong celebration of advocacy and awareness efforts.

The NFFCMH is striving to make this year’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week the best yet in honor of its 25th Anniversary as the voice for children’s mental health!

The theme for this year is Building a Circle of Wellness to recognize the NFFCMH’s focus on debunking myths, spreading awareness, and promoting not only positive mental health but also overall health for our nation’s children.

This week is designed for those at the national, state and local level to come together and strive toward the vision for healthy children and families. Get involved in any or all of the following ways to show your support for this cause:

Local Teens Work to Restore History; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Local Teens Work to Restore History (
    Kids from El Paso gathered to restore the Trinity Community Center as a part of Global Youth Service Day.
  • Efforts Underway to Boost Low Juvenile Expungement Numbers (
    Thousands of young adults in Cook County are missing out on getting a clean start in life by failing to take advantage of the state’s liberal expungement laws for individuals who’ve committed crimes as a juvenile.
  • Report Says Prosecution of Minors as Adults Has Poor Outcomes (The Chicago Bureau)
    An independent advocacy non-profit has concluded that a piece of legislation dating to 1982 and dubbed the “automatic transfer law,” which compels children ages of 15 or 16 charged with certain felony offenses to be charged as an adult, has significantly problematic consequences that go beyond discouraging rehabilitation and positive development of those sentenced.
  • Models for Juvenile Justice Schools (
    When 17-year-old Moriah Barrett first entered Camp Scott, a juvenile detention facility in Los Angeles County, Calif., she was already far behind in school credits in completing the 11th grade. Because of her charges, she would be spending the next five months of her life at the all-girls’ facility — finishing high school wasn’t on her mind.
  • The Revolving Door: Wyoming Reliance on Jails for Mental Health Services Comes With Consequences (
    In Wyoming as well as around the country, jails and prisons operate as de facto mental health facilities, treating a disproportionately high number of offenders with mental illnesses, substance abuse issues and often both.

Helping Young People Get Treatment in Juvenile Justice and Beyond

Focal Point magazine, produced by the Pathways Research and Training Center (RTC) at Portland State University, recently published a collaborative article [PDF] between current and former Reclaiming Futures staff and partners examining how the Reclaiming Futures model saves money, reduces recidivism and improves abstinence from drug and alcohol abuse.
The article’s introduction is included below:

Why focus on the juvenile justice system? Despite the fact that most juvenile justice-involved young people are not being treated for substance abuse and mental health needs, the juvenile justice system is still the single largest referral source for adolescent treatment and this system is where young people in trouble often first come to our attention. Young people involved in the juvenile justice system often are challenged with substance use issues.
Nationally, about half of young people in the juvenile justice system have drug related problems. In fact, four of five young people in the juvenile justice system are under the influence of alcohol or drugs while breaking the law; test positive for drugs; are arrested for committing an alcohol or drug offense; admit having substance abuse and addiction problems; or share some combination of these characteristics.
Additionally, many young people in the juvenile justice system have a co-occurring disorder (both substance abuse and mental health). Yet in spite of research that shows treatment helps reduce recidivism and saves money, juvenile courts usually are not set up to detect and treat substance abuse or to provide mental health and other important services.
Instead, most of the young people in the juvenile justice system who need treatment for drugs, alcohol, and mental health problems are not getting it. Fewer than one in twelve young people who need such supports actually receive treatment of any kind. For those who receive treatment, less than half are retained for 90 days as recommended by research. Many communities are not using evidence-based treatments that have been tested in the field for many years.
Young people need different care than adults: care that addresses adolescent development and brain science, and that utilizes support from families and community. Too many juvenile courts mirror a more punitive approach appropriate to adult criminal court rather than the rehabilitative civil court envisioned when the juvenile court was first established in the late nineteeth century.

The good news is that there's already a solution to the issues outlined above: Reclaiming Futures! We know from our evaluations that the Reclaiming Futures model helps teens overcome the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime by addressing their co-occurring needs. Again from the article, "The Reclaiming Futures JTDC model has potential to increase drug and alcohol abstinence, reduce young people’s illegal activity, and reduce the cost of crime to society." 
Learn more about the Reclaiming Futures model here >>
For the rest of the article, jump to page 18 in the linked PDF for our Reclaiming Futures article, or scroll through the whole magazine for more great articles about co-occurring substance abuse and mental health issues facing teens and young adults.

Study Finds Early Intervention Crucial In Preventing Future Delinquent Behavior

A new study from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence[PDF] (NatSCEV) underscores the importance for early intervention of childhood exposure to violence to prevent these children from future delinquency (also referred to in other studies as “bullying”). This study offers a new look at the relationship between victimization and delinquency for children 10 to 17 years-old and through four different categories:

  • Primarily delinquent behavior and not victims
  • Primarily victims and no delinquent behavior
  • Both delinquent behavior and victims
  • Neither victims nor delinquent behavior

Delinquency includes violent behavior, drug and alcohol use, and actions that involve property destruction, such as stealing or breaking property. Research has found that boys and girls experience and react to violence differently, and this study is no exception. Boys in the delinquent behavior and victim group experienced much more victimization in the past year than boys in the primarily victim group. In addition, these boys also had more delinquent behavior than the primarily delinquent behavior group.
Girls had different patterns in their behavior. Most girls were neither victims nor acted out with delinquency (as opposed to boys, who mostly engaged in delinquent behavior), and the second biggest group of girls were primarily victims. This information reflects that girls tend to engage in less delinquency than boys. However, like boys, the girls that were victims and engaged in delinquent behavior had greater levels of victimization and delinquency than girls that were either primarily victims or acted out with delinquency. These boys and girls that behaved with delinquency and were victims often experience more mental health symptoms and life adversities and receive less social support than other groups.

SAMHSA Sponsors Local Town Hall Meetings in Recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and proactive organizations like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are doing their part to recognize its importance by supporting and assembling local underage drinking prevention initiatives.

Underage drinking kills approximately 4,700 youth a year, among many other tragic consequences, and prevention is crucial to reduce the negative impacts it has on families and communities.

This is the fifth year SAMHSA has sponsored national Town Hall Meetings that have proven effective to achieve the following:

  • Educating community members about the consequences of underage drinking.
  • Empowering communities to make environmental changes to prevent underage drinking.
  • Mobilizing communities around underage drinking prevention initiatives at the local, state, and national levels.

More than 2,000 communities across the nation will be hosting these meetings to coincide with Alcohol Awareness Month, and anyone interested is welcome—and encouraged—to attend and join their community in observance of this problem that affects us all.
Hear an important message from Frances M. Harding, Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, on why you should attend Town Hall Meetings this month!

Juvenile Justice System Not Meeting Educational Needs; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

Reclaiming Childhood: A Call to Action

As we reported earlier in April, James Bell, founding Executive Director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute presented at the Portland State University School of Social Work’s annual Charles Shireman Memorial Lecture on April 17, 2014.
His presentation, “Reclaiming Childhood,” was a call to action for communities to begin looking at child well-being as the preferred child safety strategy. Mr. Bell urged the audience to remember that the ills of humanity are best healed by more humanity. Additional key points made by Mr. Bell include:
Moving Beyond Trauma Informed
There is a need for systems to move beyond trauma informed and become trauma responsive. Many service providers are trauma informed, but becoming trauma responsive would help improve safety, trust and collaboration.
Shifting Service Paradigms
When the risk to public safety is low, a youth’s need for services should not lead to their secure confinement. Focus instead on child wellbeing as a child safety strategy means assessing life outcomes as the measure of success. One strategy to move toward this paradigm shift would be for the juvenile justice system to refuse to accept referrals from schools and/or mental health providers and hold those systems accountable for finding appropriate responses for youth with a low risk to public safety, but a high need for services.
A big thank you to Mr. Bell for all of his great work in juvenile justice reform.

Mental Health Month Begins Next Week: Mind Your Health

For 65 years now Mental Health America has celebrated May as Mental Health Month and this year’s theme is “Mind Your Health.” Mental Health America and their nationwide affiliates have reached millions of people to bring awareness to the importance of mental health to overall health and wellness, inform people about how the body and mind interact, and offer tips and tools to protect and promote health.
Here are a few of the ways you can get involved with Mental Health Month this May:

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

Below 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!


Suspensions in Preschool? Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights Finds Racial Disparities

The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights recently released a study on school discipline that reported significant racial disparities in out-of-school suspensions starting as early as the preschool level.
This disparity brings about a myriad of concerns including an opportunity gap among students and the impact out-of-school suspension can have on the children’s future at such an early stage of life. Suspensions can lead to delays in academic advancement and increase the likelihood of students dropping out and entering the juvenile justice system.
While 94 percent of school districts do not use out-of-school suspension for preschoolers, there were concerning inequalities among those that did: African American children represent 18 percent of preschool enrollment but 42 percent of students suspended once, and 48 percent of the students suspended more than once.
Conversely, white students represented 43 percent of enrollment but only 26 percent of students suspended more than once.
Attorney General Eric Holder says on the issue, "Every data point represents a life impacted and a future potentially diverted or derailed. This Administration is moving aggressively to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline in order to ensure that all of our young people have equal educational opportunities."
President Obama has proposed a new initiative called Race to the Top-Equity and Opportunity (RTT-Opportunity) to address the inequalities among students. This initiative would create incentives for states and school districts to drive change in how they identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps.

Study Looks at Kids Who Do Time For Offenses That Aren’t Crimes; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

2014 Leadership Institute Highlights

Last week, Reclaiming Futures fellows from across the country gathered in New Orleans to share experiences, learn together, and get inspired all over again. For those who were unable to attend, see below for highlights, including an inspiring interview with Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries.
Father Greg Boyle on why he Supports Reclaiming Futures

Our two efforts and movements are completely aligned. We're the largest gang intervention rehab reentry program in the country, so gang members and folks who have been in the system, felons between the ages of 14 and 50 come through our doors. It's a community that's therapeutic, engages in attachment repair, is interested in healing and moving people toward exactly a reclaiming of their own futures.
Our program is not for those who need help; it's for those who want it. That's the only way rehab works. It never works with somebody who's dragged and forced.
But once they walk through the doors it's ticker tape parade and streamers so that they feel welcomed, accepted, not judged. We help them re-imagine their futures because gang violence is a lethal absence of hope. It's an inability to conjure up an image of what tomorrow looks like, which is exactly in line with what Reclaiming Futures is all about.

Join the Conversation in the Reclaiming Futures LinkedIn Group

Did you know that Reclaiming Futures has a LinkedIn group? Becoming a member lets you stay on top of the latest news related to juvenile justice reform and adolescent substance abuse treatment, participate in thought-provoking discussions, and connect with peers and thought leaders in the industry. All you have to do is visit our Juvenile Justice Reform and Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment LinkedIn group and request to join.
Our group will be especially beneficial if you are a:

  • Policy maker or legislator
  • Professional in the field of juvenile justice or adolescent substance abuse treatment
  • Family or youth advocate