Prioritizing public health and wellbeing for youth and communities
A public health perspective is one looking first and foremost to important systems such as community, family, and schools for evidence of what best promotes wellness, and prevents problems from worsening.
At Reclaiming Futures we see the fact that justice-involved youth often show signs of mental health and substance use difficulties as less a sign of inherent sickness and rather as a sign of a community needing more support, resources, and better coordination to prevent kids from falling through the cracks and landing in the juvenile justice system.
The stigma and collateral consequences of justice system involvement are themselves a public health risk factor. With this in mind, Reclaiming Futures works closely with stakeholders, offering them effective evidence-based tools and approaches designed to make the front door of the juvenile justice system a place where youth find off-ramps back to community resources. Treatment and other supports keep youth on a positive developmental track and out of the system whenever possible.
We also look further upstream to school systems, where important opportunities to engage youth on paths to wellness are often missed. Over-reactive and biased school discipline practices and a lack of resources and training often fail to identify and respond to early signs of youth needing support.
Updated: January 07 2018