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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

How Curfews Have Changed Through History; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • How Curfews Have Changed Through History (TIME)
    In light of recent events in Baltimore, Lily Rothman, Archive Editor of TIME.com, examines the historical reasons for and effects of curfews, and why emergency curfews should be thought of differently than permanent juvenile curfews

Hardin County Convenes Local Leaders at Annual Stakeholder Meeting

Last week, Hardin County Juvenile Court convened its annual stakeholders meeting, gathering leaders from local businesses, churches and agencies to share progress on Reclaiming Futures’ impact through new data, and insight into the future of the program.

Randy Muck, Senior Advisor of Advocates for Youth and Family Behavioral Health, speaks at the Hardin County Juvenile Court stakeholder meeting

Judge Steven Christopher shared results from Hardin County’s participation in a statewide pilot program to study medically assisted treatment for opiate abuse. He noted positive results. Of the 69 percent of people in his family treatment court, zero percent relapsed or experienced recidivism.

Pew Charitable Trusts Release In-Depth Look at Poor Outcomes and High Price of Incarcerating Juveniles

249326_262741703751645_3185263_nA recently released report from Pew Charitable Trusts has emphasized the need for change in the juvenile justice system as it reveals that many current practices are high cost with poor outcomes.

The report highlights the growing body of research indicating that “lengthy out-of-home placements in secure corrections or other residential facilities fail to produce better outcomes than alternative sanctions” for many juvenile offenders.

The Solution to a 27.47 Ton Problem

April in Dayton, Ohio generally means the winIMG_4366ter weather is starting to break. Snow showers and subzero temperatures are replaced with rain showers and flowers. For some neighborhoods in Dayton, Ohio the break in the weather brings light to a major issue. The issue of illegal dumping is highly visible once the piles of snow have melted away. In some instances, neighborhoods have been left with tons of trash and debris.  For several blocks certain alleyways can be found with couches, mattress, appliances and construction waste.

On April 1, 2015 Montgomery County Juvenile Court hosted its fourth annual community cleanup in the Fairview Neighborhood. This was a community effort, with multiple partners coming together to improve the appearance of one of our city’s neighborhoods.

Recovery Support Services for Youth and Families

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and the April issue of The Atlantic features a story titled - “The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous” by Gabriella Glaser. The article sheds light on the recovery support service of 12-step programs through interviews with research and practice experts and personal testimonials.

Commitment to Youth Comes Through Strongly in Readers Survey

Responders to Reclaiming Futures’ eNewsletter readers’ survey say they want to read about Juvenile Justice, Youth Development, Family Engagement, Youth and Family Voice, Disproportionate Minority Contact, and the School to Prison Pipeline.  Most responders to the Fall survey report working in juvenile justice or with teen behavioral health treatment organizations, and both the personal as well as professional passion for helping youth came through strongly.

NCJFCJ Releases Guide to Trauma Consultation in Juvenile and Family Courts

A growing body of research is constantly giving fuel to the issue of childhood trauma and toxic NCJFCJ Trauma Manual Coverstress—specifically, how they impact health outcomes in the future, and the critical need for juvenile and family courts to become trauma-informed in order to effectively treat these issues. The latest effort to make trauma-informed courts widespread is from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), which has released “Preparing for a Trauma Consultation in Your Juvenile and Family Court,” a guide for juvenile and family courts to become more trauma-informed.

The guide outlines why courts need to be trauma-informed and how they approach building a framework, including:

  • Elements of a comprehensive and successful trauma-informed framework
  • Questions to ask to determine if your juvenile or family court is ready for a trauma consultation
  • How to prepare for a consultation
  • What to expect during a consultation
  • How to put consultation recommendations into action

ACEs Too High, an online news site dedicated to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), regularly reports on the need for more trauma-informed courts that are reflected in this NCJFCJ guide. A recent article by writer Ed Finkel reports on local courts who are adopting models of trauma-informed care, and other tools available, such as the Think Trauma curriculum for staff members in juvenile correctional facilities.

Finkel also reported on the trauma-informed approach used by judges to administer sustainable solutions for at-risk youth. The article interviews several judges to gain their perspective on trauma-informed courts.

Most recently, Pediatrician and ACEs leader Nadine Burke Harris brought ACEs to the forefront once again on a national stage during her TEDMED talk emphasizing the health impact of childhood trauma, indicating that those who have experienced high levels of this kind of toxic stress are four times more likely to become depressed, and 12 times more likely to attempt suicide.

The NCJFCJ guide is more timely than ever, as more and more public health leaders are adding to existing evidence that emphasizes the need for trauma-informed care. A trauma-informed court can be a safe and effective point of intervention to vulnerable youth and families, and can help coordinate support or treatment to improve outcomes and get young people on a positive path.

Cambiar Program Seeks to Transform the System for Incarcerated Youth in New Mexico

logoCambiar, the Spanish word for change, was appropriately chosen as the name of a program in New Mexico that is attempting to transform the juvenile justice system and the young people in the system along with it.

Featured in a recent Daily Beast article “How to Curb Our Mass Incarceration Epidemic,” the Cambiar program at the J. Paul Taylor Center focuses on reform over punishment for inmates, who the center refers to as “clients.”

This transformation to reform, rather than punish, is modeled after Missouri’s juvenile justice system where most teen offenders are in prison schools or work programs, with access to family therapy. Reports indicate that 75 percent of Missouri’s youthful offenders get a year of education each year they are incarcerated—three times the national average. This has led to a startling improvement: 65 percent of offenders in that system are not rearrested within three years of release.

The Cambiar program is aiming for the same positive results—all of its clients have access to education and mentors, something that Reclaiming Futures champions, implements and sees results with:
“The staff here mentors students, teaches real high school classes, provides a clear system of rewards and punishments that excludes extreme approaches like solitary confinement—all tactics that resulted from a 2006 agreement with the ACLU that sheds light on systematic abuses endemic in juvenile systems.”
The Center also strives to provide an environment that nurtures positive peer culture, with the teens learning to do everything together as a unit. Having a support system, the Center believes, is key towards reforming young people:
“They [the Taylor Center] changed to smaller units where the kids were in groups of 12 rather than in large pods. They worked toward regionalization to try to get the kids closer to their families so they could have support from their families,” Sandra Stewart, director of Juvenile Justice Services in New Mexico, said.
Stewart also emphasized that the transformation of the Taylor Center is due to its focus on learning, mental health counseling, and mentoring over lockdowns and punishments.

The author of this article, Soledad O’Brien, interviewed several clients at the Taylor Center as part of her documentary film “Kids Behind Bars,” which airs Sunday, April 12 at 7 p.m. PST on Al Jazeera America:
“’Honestly, like, I've always liked to learn. It was always there but I never actually took the time to sit down. I never had the will. I never had someone to push me and when I came here, like I said, some staff here helped me out with that,” he said. Since I interviewed him, he got out and has completed a 90-day probationary period.”
Learn more about the Cambiar program on the State of New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) website.

Reclaiming Futures Names Evan Elkin as New National Executive Director

Susan Richardson has recently announced her plans to leave the position of national executive director of Reclaiming Futures to return to her home state of North Carolina, and we are grateful for her years of excellent leadership. Yesterday, Reclaiming Futures appointed Mr. Evan Elkin as national executive director, effective May 11, 2015.

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