A Season of New Beginnings for Reclaiming Futures

Model of US Capitol at botanic gardens in D.C.In mid-December, we hosted our annual Project Director Fellowship in  Washington, D.C. (Click on photo at left to see a larger view of a model of the U.S. Capitol that I spotted at the botanic gardens.) Project Directors from our ten original sites, our first three expansion sites, and all ten of the sites that started this past fall attended. While everyone had gotten acquainted by phone to a certain extent, nothing matches the energy, creativity and momentum of getting together in person to reflect about lessons learned, and create strategy for moving the initiative forward both locally and nationally.

Our agenda included opportunities to: get overviews of each new community joining Reclaiming Futures; compare notes about progress made thus far in sites that begain in 2007; and assess long-term changes that have occurred in the our ten original sites.

Mentors for Youth in the Justice System - Seattle's 4C Coalition

4C Coalition logoHazel Cameron -- a Reclaiming Futures Community Fellow -- knows a thing or two about recruiting mentors for youth involved in the justice system.
Her 4C Coalition has partnered with the Reclaiming Futures initiative in Seattle for years now, successfully pairing youth with caring adults.
The Coalition just made a splash in the Seattle Times, too. (You can also find a PDF of the story here.) Congratulations to Hazel and all her colleagues!
UPDATE: The 4C Coalition recently joined the National CARES Mentoring Movement, which states that it has "mounted the largest mentor recruitment effort in the history of this nation aimed at securing the lives of our young black boys and girls." CARES has mentor-recruitment circles in 53 communities across the country, including several other Reclaiming Futures sites: Anchorage, Chicago, Dayton, and Greensboro (Guilford County). Is your community part of the movement?

Washington State's Strategic Plan for Improving Adolescent Treatment

Front cover of Washington State Adolescent Treatment Strategic PlanDoes your state have a plan for improving treatment for teens with substance abuse problems?

Jim Vollendroff and I had the privilege to attend numerous meetings and contribute to the creation of a Washington State strategic plan on adolescent substance abuse treatment. (Jim is the Chemical Dependency Coordinator for King County, WA, and a Reclaiming Futures Treatment Fellow.) The Reclaiming Futures Model was our concrete framework to assure that the entire group focused on system areas that need to be addressed and/or changed. 
Here's an introduction to the plan from David Jefferson, the former CSAT Grant Coordinator housed at the Washington State's Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA):

Resource Guide for the Justice System on Evidence-Based Approaches to Address Substance Abuse

Cover of resource guidePhysicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy (PLNDP) has partnered with the National Judicial College to create Alcohol and Other Drug Problems: a Public Health and Public Safety Priority, A Resource Guide for the Justice System on Evidence-Based Approaches. (Order free copies for yourself and your team; download the PDF; or access it on the web.)

Site Visits: A Nassau County, New York Perspective - Part 1

Dennis Reilly, Project Director of the Reclaiming Futures initiative in Nassau County, New York, writes:
Judge Marks and Warren Graham from Nassau County, New YorkOn November 14, 2008, the Nassau County Reclaiming Futures site hosted a full-day site visit for Reclaiming Futures National Program Office leaders Laura Burney Nissen, Jim Carlton, and Reclaiming Futures Anchorage coach Tom Begich. We were very pleased with the results of this meeting, and thought we should share our planning process and site visit preparations with other sites.
(Shown here are the Honorable John G. Marks, who presides over the Nassau County Juvenile Treatment Court, and Warren Graham, who directs the  juvenile treatment court and co-directs the local Reclaiming Futures initiatve. Click on the image to enlarge it and see what they're holding.)

Roundup: Rhode Island Hotline, Burns Institute Status Check on DMC Work, and More

Join Together was chock full of interesting news this week. First, it reported that the state of Rhode Island has launched an addiction hotline, so that "children, adolescents, and adults" can get an alcohol and drug assessment within 24 hours. This will be piloted for only 3 months, but it's a huge step forward, and I can't wait to see what's learned. 

Also from Join Together:

Models for Youth Aftercare: Finding Out What Works

Headshot of Randy Muck
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of conducting focus groups with youth who were in various stages of recovery following treatment. The consistency of responses among the groups of youth I spoke with was overwhelming and pushed me to think about what we need to do for youth following treatment that might be different than for adults.
A major theme that came out of each group was that they felt abandoned after they completed treatment. They were told things like:

What Have the Reclaiming Futures Fellowships Learned?

Cover of Report from Probation FellowshipoAs the first, five-year pilot phase of Reclaiming Futures came to a close, each of the participating Fellowships published a report that contains highly valuable information for any community attempting to improve the way its system deals with youth caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime. (Reclaiming Futures uses professional "Fellowships" of judges, probation officers, treatment professionals, community members, and local project directors to drive change in local communities. The Fellows from all participating communities gather several times a year to share what they're learning.)
These  Fellowship reports are available on the Reclaiming Futures website, but at the Project Directors' conference last week, I was asked to repost them in one place. And why not? After all, they're not just useful for Reclaiming Futures communities, they're useful for any community that wishes to change the way it does business for teens in the justice system who need addiction treatment. So, here they all are -- 

When Teens Leave Residential Care: What's Next?

Picture of David AltschulerAnyone in the field of juvenile justice or teen treatment knows that youth who return to the community after a period in a secure residential setting are in for a rough ride. Many return to drugs and crime -- even when aftercare is available. 
According Dr. David Altschuler (see photo), it's not surprising that so many youth fail in aftercare, since the skills they must learn in order to succeed in residential care are not the same skills they need to succeed in the community. 

Another Compendium of Evidence-Based Alcohol and Drug Treatment Practices

view of library shelvesFor those of you who liked our post listing resources for identifying evidence-based adolescent treatment models, here's another valuable resource.
It's a compendium of evidence-based treatment practices, compiled by the Southern Coast Addiction Technology Transfer Center (SCATTC) last February. (This guide contains both adult and juvenile practices - adolescent-related material begins on p. 42.)

Parenting: Feedback on the CYT Family Support Network Manual?

Cover of Family Support Network treatment manual for teen cannabis usersWe've had another response to our recent call for recommendations on good curricula on parenting training. (Other suggestions appear here.) A commenter wondered what other jurisdictions' experience has been with the Family Support Network (FSN) protocol, pictured here.
FSN is one of the five Cannabis Youth Treatment (CYT) protocols tested and promulgated by SAMHSA and CSAT. (You can download all of them here for free.)
So here's the questions:

Brief News: Teens and Prescription Drugs; Bristol County Gets Noticed; "Two Reforms" Story Stirs Controversy

A few quick links that crossed our desk today:

  • Many of you probably saw this on Join Together, but it's worth repeating: according to a new national survey, 19% of teens surveyed say that it's easier for them to buy prescription drugs than beer, cigarettes, or marijuana. More info on the survey from the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) at the University of Maryland here.

How to Educate Your Representatives about Teen Treatment in Four Easy Steps-Part 2

Oregon Capitol Building[This is the second part of a two-part post. See first post here.]
3. Be prepared for the unexpected. You can't plan for every contingency, but plan for the worst, so you'll be as prepared as you can be.

  • What happens if someone you were counting on to testify comes down with pneumonia?
  • What if one of your partners adds an extra speaker you didn't plan for?
  • What if several legislators on the committee you were scheduled to testify before are unable to attend the hearing, due to family emergencies and other crucial commitments?