Contact: Mac Prichard
Public-Private Partnership Helps Teens Escape Drugs, Alcohol and Crime
State, Foundations Team Up to Expand “Reclaiming Futures” Program
Raleigh, N.C. (September 14, 2011) — Governor Bev Perdue today announced a partnership between state agencies and two North Carolina foundations that will expand the successful Reclaiming Futures program from a model to a statewide initiative that helps youths in the juvenile justice system beat problems with drugs and alcohol. This tested and proven program will help put teenagers on a path toward finishing high school ready, for a career, college or technical training.
“This program takes my priority of making government more efficient, taps into the expertise and resources of the private sector and uses them for the most important purpose imaginable – protecting the future of our young people,” Governor Perdue said. “This is an investment in turning young lives around.”
Reclaiming Futures will be expanded through a partnership among the North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Governors Crime Commission, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and The Duke Endowment. The foundations are contributing $1.1 million of the $1.28 million in funding over two years. Reclaiming Futures is a tested approach piloted by six North Carolina communities including the following counties: Chatham, Cumberland, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Orange, Rowan, Surry, and Yadkin.
Since beginning the initiative, over 6,800 youths have received appropriate screening for substance abuse and mental health problems when they entered the system. Judges know immediately as to the treatment needs of youth. Research confirms that Reclaiming Futures sites significantly increase the percentage of youth successfully entering treatment (approximately 30% to 78%); and, youths that are successful in treatment are far more likely to turn their lives around.
“We know, by virtue of three years of experience and partnerships created by Kate B. Reynolds’ initial investments, that Reclaiming Futures is making a measurable difference in the lives of youth, families and the courts interacting with them,” said Secretary Linda Hayes of the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. “In the six North Carolina communities where we’ve been a strong partner in Reclaiming Futures, it has given judges, probation officers, and treatment providers the evidence-based tools they need to make our communities safer and produced better treatment outcomes. We are grateful to the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, the Governor’s Crime Commission and The Duke Endowment for investing in this continued partnership and for helping our Department serve as the statewide support office for Reclaiming Futures.”
Gwendolyn Burrell, executive director of the NC Governor’s Crime Commission notes, “The Governor’s Crime Commission is pleased to be involved in this valuable partnership. We are all interested in assisting youth in improving their lives so that they have opportunities for bright futures.”
The nationally evaluated six-part Reclaiming Futures model (originally created through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) screens and assesses each youth that enters the juvenile justice system for drug and alcohol problems, develops a treatment plan coordinated by a service team, and connects teens with employers, mentors, and volunteer service projects. It is strongly guided by judges in each of the six judicial districts involved.
“Young people need to be held accountable when they break the law,” says Susan Richardson, national director of Reclaiming Futures. “But research shows that teens who use drugs and alcohol are more likely to get into trouble. Without effective treatment these young people are likely to keep coming back to court again and again. Our model helps juvenile courts provide treatment and other services to help break that cycle.”
Under the partnership announced today, the North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention will establish a statewide Reclaiming Futures office to sustain the six original pilot sites and expand the model to four new communities over the next two years.
Support for the $1.28 million effort comes from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust ($710,000 spanning two years), The Duke Endowment ($380,000 spanning two years), and the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission ($199,777 one year with possibility of renewal). The funds will pay for a statewide project director and training coordinator, project evaluation, training, and site assistance.
“The work of Reclaiming Futures goes to the heart of our foundation’s mission of helping people and strengthening communities in the Carolinas and to increase the adoption of strong, evidence-supported practices throughout various public systems in North Carolina,” says Rhett Mabry, vice president of The Duke Endowment. “Reclaiming Futures helps juvenile courts keep young people accountable, but also connects them with the services they may need, such as treatment, help in staying in school, finding a job, or connecting with a mentor.”
In 2008, six North Carolina communities launched Reclaiming Futures projects. An earlier national evaluation of 10 pilot sites by the Urban Institute and the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall Center for Children found that communities that piloted the Reclaiming Futures model reported significant improvements in juvenile justice and drug and alcohol treatment.
“We’re very excited to be able to continue investing in this partnership and to help establish a state-level office to support the ongoing work,” says Allen Smart, Director of the Health Care Division of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. “We are always looking for ways to improve health, mental health and substance abuse outcomes among our population. This requires us to not only do more, but to do things differently and better than ever before. Reclaiming Futures meets this test by helping juvenile courts reinvent the way they do business to provide more treatment, better treatment, and move beyond treatment.”
About Reclaiming Futures: Reclaiming Futures was established by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to offer a new approach to helping teenagers caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime. It now operates in 29 communities in 17 states. Its funding partners include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. The national office of Reclaiming Futures is housed in the Regional Research Institute of the School of Social Work at Portland State University. (To learn more, visit www.reclaimingfutures.org
About Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust: The Trust’s Health Care Division (the Division granting dollars for Reclaiming Futures) includes a focus on improving the health of financially disadvantaged North Carolinians through prevention of illness and the promotion of wellness. Strategically, the Trust sees a strong benefit in the continued investment in Reclaiming Futures in that its health promotion and disease prevention strategies align with the financial and health needs of youth in the juvenile system, who are in a large measure from financially disadvantaged households.
About The Duke Endowment: The Duke Endowment, located in Charlotte, N.C., seeks to fulfill the legacy of James B. Duke by improving lives and communities in the Carolinas through higher education, health care, rural churches and children’s services. Since its inception, the Endowment has awarded $2.8 billion in grants.
About the Governor’s Crime Commission: The Governor’s Crime Commission (GCC) serves as the chief advisory body to the Governor and the Secretary of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety on crime and justice issues and is chaired by Scott Thomas, District Attorney in Prosecutorial District 3B (Carteret, Craven, and Pamlico counties). The GCC sets program priorities, reviews applications and makes recommendations to the Governor for the state’s criminal justice and juvenile justice federal block grants.
Secretary Linda W. Hayes, NC Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (919-743-8858)
Mr. Allen J. Smart, Director, Health Care Division, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust (336-397-5511)
Mr. Rhett Mabry, Vice President, Director Child Care Division, The Duke Endowment (704- 376-0291)
Ms. Gwendolyn Burrell, Executive Director, NC Governor’s Crime Commission (919-733-4564)