News Release – July 11, 2012

$1.29 Million National Evaluation Examines Juvenile Drug Courts Implementing Reclaiming Futures

Portland, Oregon (July 11, 2012) — New federal dollars will pay for a $1.29 million, multi-year evaluation in six juvenile drug courts implementing Reclaiming Futures, a national program that improves drug and alcohol treatment for teens in trouble with the law. This evaluation, the first of its kind, will examine the impact, processes and cost-effectiveness of Juvenile Drug Courts implementing the Reclaiming Futures model.

Funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention through an
interagency agreement with the Library of Congress, this evaluation will be conducted by
the University of Arizona’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW).

“We know from a 2006 evaluation by the Urban Institute that Reclaiming Futures improves the lives of young people by changing the juvenile justice system for the better,” says Susan Richardson, national executive director of Reclaiming Futures. “This new research will look at specific outcomes, such as recidivism, relapse rates, and costs.”

The Reclaiming Futures model links community system reforms, substance abuse treatment, and community engagement by using evidence-based practices. It is used by 29 juvenile courts in 17 states and receives financial support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, The Duke Endowment, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“There is an urgent need for the work Reclaiming Futures does,” says Senior Research Psychologist Michael Dennis, Ph.D., of Chestnut Health Systems, one of the groups collaborating with SIROW. “Reclaiming Futures serves kids with high rates of trauma exposure, mental health problems and substance abuse,” says Dr. Dennis. “There
are 1.8 million adolescents who need treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse. Only one in twenty will get treated.”

“It is important to understand what efforts are working in communities,” says Sally Stevens, Ph.D., executive director of SIROW. “This comprehensive evaluation will inform the policy and practice of Juvenile Drug Courts and other youth-serving agencies to improve outcomes for youth.” Dr. Stevens emphasized that learning how the programs
are addressing the high rates of substance use, crime, and trauma among both girls and boys in the program is essential for the field to improve long-term outcomes.

About Reclaiming Futures: Reclaiming Futures is an initiative created by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that offers a new approach to helping teenagers caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol, trauma and crime in 29 communities across the nation. The program has received investments to spread its model from RWJF, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and The Duke Endowment. The national office of Reclaiming Futures is housed in the Regional Research Institute of the School of Social Work at
Portland State University. Learn more at

About the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) provides national leadership, coordination, and resources to prevent and respond to delinquency and child victimization. OJJDP supports states and communities in their efforts to develop and
implement effective and coordinated prevention and intervention programs and to
improve the juvenile justice system so that it protects public safety, holds offenders
accountable, and provides treatment and rehabilitative services tailored to the needs of
youth and their families. Learn more at