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How Your Community Can Support National Gun Violence Awareness Month

UntitledIn 2013, New York made history as the first state to devote an entire month to raising awareness around the issue of gun violence. This month marks the third annual Gun Violence Awareness Month and there are many ways to support this important effort.

Gun violence has increasingly become a prominent nationwide problem that is impacting our young people, families and communities:

“With more than 25% of children witnessing an act of violence in their homes, schools, or community over the past year, and more than 5% witnessing a shooting, it becomes not just an issue of gun regulation, but also of addressing the impact on those who have been traumatized by such violence.”

Assessing Trauma in Kids Just Got A Little Better; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

Assessing Trauma in Kids Just Got A Little Better (Psych Central)
A research team at Case Western Reserve University  proposed and tested a new method to assess trauma in youth. It would be especially relevant for assessment within the juvenile justice system.

Chittenden County Aims to Streamline Screening and Assessment for At-Risk Young People in Vermont

In January we announced that five Reclaiming Futures sites were chosen to implement an innovative adaptation of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for adolescents. Each of the five pilot sites will serve at least 100 youth over the course of three years, targeting 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.

Two of those sites are brand new sites implementing the Reclaiming Futures model for the first time, including Chittenden County, Vermont, bringing the total national cohort of Reclaiming Futures sites to 41.

The Chittenden County team convenes to discuss plans for the new site.

As this national collaborative of juvenile justice and mental health experts is growing, we followed up with Jon Kidde, Project Director at Chittenden County, to learn about his team’s vision for helping Vermont’s young people at the front door of the juvenile justice system. Despite all 41 sites being replicated as a Reclaiming Futures model, each state and county face unique challenges to assisting teens. We aim to connect sites to share innovative ideas and creative solutions, and Jon Kidde is the latest to share how the Chittenden County site will adapt and implement the SBIRT process in Vermont.

New Study Highlights Lack of Treatment for Youth with Mental Health Problems

The New England Journal of Medicine has released a study with results emphasizing the lack of treatment for seriously ill youth in the U.S. Titled “Trends in Mental Health Care Among Children and Adolescents,” the study used data on 53,622 youth between the ages of 6 and 17 years to analyze mental health services over time.

The main finding of the study revealed that while the number of young people with mental health problems decreased—and the rate of treatment increased—the most seriously ill still fail to get the help they need.

Possible Implications for Public Schools: Addressing Complex Trauma

The Washington Post,  LA Times and Aces Too High posted stories regarding the lawsuit filed against the Compton School district for allegedly not responding to students’ learning and mental health needs specifically related to complex trauma. The statutory framework for this lawsuit is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and American Disabilities Act. The Washington Post article provides the actual lawsuit and all three articles offer synopses of the trauma experienced by youth named in the lawsuit.  The lawsuit describes and alleges that these young people experienced numerous traumas both on and off school propfile0001681273132erty such as homelessness, physical and sexual abuse, violence, witnessing shootings, unsafe school conditions, and familial behavioral health issues.  Three Compton School district teachers are named for the prosecution alleging that their requests to provide youth with the appropriate behavioral health services were ignored by the district.  For those of us that work in the juvenile justice or behavioral health fields these stories seem all too common. Decades of research and practice have shown that trauma has profound negative effects on an individual’s overall health (e.g., neurological, biological, psychological, social).  One of the more well-known studies, which is being used to support this lawsuit, is the Adverse Childhood Experiences ( ACEs) study. The major findings from the ACEs study show trauma can impair an individual’s social, emotional, and cognitive abilities and functioning.

But, what is complex trauma?

Montgomery County Juvenile Drug Court Graduation

On Thursday May 21, 2015, the Honorable Judge Anthony Capizzi hosted his annual Drug Court Graduation.  This year’s graduation was unique in that it was the first time  the graduation was not held at the Montgomery County Juvenile Justice Center.  The celebration of recovery was held in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.  The Honorable Judge Walter Rice shared his bench with The Honorable Juunnameddge Anthony Capizzi to preside over the graduation in United States District Court Federal Building in Dayton, Ohio.

During the first part of the ceremony Judge Rice shared the bench with Judge Capizzi, as they both welcomed the eleven graduating youth, families, court staff, Deputy Director and Director of Ohio Department of Youth Services and various elected officials from Montgomery County.  Once the welcome was complete, Judge Anthony Capizzi shifted his attention to the amazing accomplishments of the eleven graduates, and became the first visiting judge to preside over a Juvenile Drug Court Graduation in the United States District Court.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

MentalHealthimage (1)For over 65 years, Mental Health Awareness Month has provided the opportunity for Mental Health America (MHA) and related organizations to conduct awareness activities across the country.

In order to bring awareness to the importance of addressing mental health early on, the 2015 theme is "B4Stage4." MHA chose this theme in an effort to change the way mental health is thought of, and to encourage prevention and intervention techniques as early as Stage 1.

Strengthening Youth Services: The National Mentoring Resource

UntitledThe National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) and The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) have developed a resource to help strengthen youth mentoring services nationwide: the National Mentoring Resource Center.

The Resource Center was launched this January, after a special presentation at the National Mentoring Summit, with the goal to “improve the quality and effectiveness of mentoring across the country by supporting youth mentoring practitioners to more deeply incorporate evidence-based practices.”

House Proposal Would Eliminate Key JJDPA Funding; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

House Proposal Would Eliminate Key JJDPA Funding (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange)
This past week the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Sciences & Related Agencies, released their FY'16 Appropriations proposal, causing alarm in the juvenile justice community. Juvenile justice funding that goes to states, under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, would be eliminated under the new proposal. For more information you can  check out this JJIE story by Gary Gately,  and also follow National Juvenile Justice Network for updates.

How to Support National Prevention Week 2015: “The Voice of One, the Power of All”

NPW15This week is National Prevention Week 2015 and the theme is “The Voice of One, the Power of All,” emphasizing the importance of communities and individuals coming together to help each other lead healthy, productive lives.

Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Prevention Week is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of substance abuse and mental health issues that brings individuals, organizations, coalitions, states, and communities together through local events to educate the public about the importance of preventing substance abuse and mental disorders before they occur.

Lynch on Youth Violence: ZIP Code Must Not Decide Children's Future; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

Lynch on Youth Violence: ZIP Code Must Not Decide Children’s Future (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange)
At the fourth National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention earlier this week, U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch demonstrated the prevalence of  youth violence, and the toll it takes on children and their communities. Citing recent events, Lynch reasons that "preventing violence in our communities is not an abstract concept, but a clear and pressing need."

Topics: News

Milwaukee Early Intervention Program Strives to Help Reduce Mass Incarceration

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 11.05.58 AMThe New Yorker recently published an article, “The Milwaukee Experiment,” on the criminal justice reform efforts taking place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as a result of the continued increase in the prison population. These efforts focus on changing the way the system handles low-level offenders, many of which are young people, and the continued growth of racial disparities in prison.

One of the main players behind the movement is John Chisholm, the District Attorney in Milwaukee County, who has worked to find ways his office can contribute to changing the tide of mass incarceration and racial imbalance in American prisons.

Some Baltimore youth have fears of police reinforced in their schools; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

Some Baltimore youth have fears of police reinforced in their schools  (Washington Post)
Baltimore's unrest creates discussion around the role of police officers on the streets, and in city schools. Concern for violence in schools, as well as for Baltimore's school-to-prison pipeline, give cause for the community to examine the relationship between police officers and students.

Saying Goodbye: Reclaiming Futures Recognizes the Impact of Susan Richardson

farewellpost We recently announced the departure of Susan Richardson, Reclaiming Futures’ current national executive director. Effective May 11, Susan will transition out of the organization and return to North Carolina after four years leading and overseeing the national program office in Portland, Oregon.

In commemoration of Susan’s work over the last few years, the Reclaiming Futures team has gathered their favorite memories working under her leadership:

Susan has been an incredible force within and across Reclaiming Futures since we first met years ago.  Her passion, dedication and determination to learn, promote, advance and celebrate the mission, the values and the spirit of the initiative has been unmatched. She has tirelessly tended and expanded the networks and partners of RF.  She has thoughtfully shepherded an important (and challenging) transitional phase of our effort.  Her contributions will always be valued and we will miss her regular presence in our ranks - but truly consider her a valued part of the Reclaiming Futures family.  Thank you Susan!!!
-Laura Nissen, Ph.D., LMSW, CADC III, Dean and Professor, School of Social Work, Portland State University

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