News Release – November 10, 2008

Contact: Mac Prichard; (503) 517-2772

Four communities selected to implement a tested model that helps teens struggling with drugs, alcohol and crime

Portland, OR (November 10, 2008) — Four new communities will receive $720,000 in technical services and other support to adopt the Reclaiming Futures model, a tested approach that helps teens in the juvenile justice system beat problems with drugs and alcohol.

“We’re very excited to introduce Reclaiming Futures into these new locations across the United States, thanks to a new investment by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,” says Laura Nissen, Ph.D., Reclaiming Futures national program director. “We’re confident we’ll prove to be as successful in these new locations as we have been in the 10 other communities that have piloted our model.”

Through $720,000 in support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, each of the four sites will receive over two years $180,000 in technical assistance. All projects have begun and will run through October 2010.

The four new sites are as follows

Bristol County, MA — Reclaiming Futures Bristol County is using the Reclaiming Futures model to help its disproportionately high number of young people whose lives have begun a downward spiral of drug and alcohol abuse and crime. The city of New Bedford, county sheriff’s office, and county district attorney are working with the community, treatment providers and social service agencies to help its juvenile district court provide better intervention and treatment to young people in need. Selected for RWJF support 2008-2010.

El Paso County, Texas — Reclaiming Futures El Paso County is implementing the Reclaiming Futures model to better screen and assess young people for drug involvement as they enter the juvenile justice system. Working with the El Paso County Juvenile Probation Department, the project aims to help youth who are especially vulnerable to drug trafficking and the drug trade’s associated problems due to the area’s close proximity to the Mexico border. Selected for RWJF support 2008-2010.

St. Clair County, IL — Reclaiming Futures St. Clair County is partnering with St. Clair County Youth Coalition and Chestnut Health Systems to implement the Reclaiming Futures model. The project’s change team is developing universal screening and enhanced training to match its young people with appropriate and comprehensive interventions. Based in Maryville and Belleville, IL, outside St. Louis, MO, it is selected for RWJF support 2008-2010.

Whitley County, KY — Reclaiming Futures in the Cumberlands is using the Reclaiming Futures model to initiate change and improve substance abuse treatment for youth in its justice system. Working through Cumberland River Mental Health/Mental Retardation Inc. and based in Corbin, KY it was selected for RWJF support 2008-2010.

The Reclaiming Futures model recommends screening each teen that enters the juvenile justice system for drug and alcohol problems, assessing the severity of his/her drug and alcohol use, providing prompt access to a treatment plan coordinated by a service team; and connecting the teen with employers, mentors, and volunteer service projects.

A recent independent evaluation by the Urban Institute and the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall Center for Children shows this model is working. The evaluation found that communities that piloted the Reclaiming Futures model reported significant improvements in juvenile justice and drug and alcohol treatment. It also indicated positive change in the way juvenile justice and substance abuse agencies communicate and cooperate to serve youth and families.

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About Reclaiming Futures
Reclaiming Futures is an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that offers a new approach to helping teenagers caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime. Its founding 10 communities include: Anchorage, Alaska.; Santa Cruz, Calif.; Chicago, Ill.; four counties in Southeastern Kentucky; Marquette, Mich.; the state of New Hampshire; the Sovereign Tribal Nation of Sicangu Lakota in Rosebud, South Dakota; Dayton, Ohio; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle, Wash. In 2008, three additional sites adopted the model thanks to funding by investments by RWJF, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). In 2008, funding from RWJF and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust is assisting six sites in implementing this approach in North Carolina. And additional funding from RWJF is helping four more national communities adopt the model as well. The national office of Reclaiming Futures is housed in the Regional Research Institute of the Graduate School of Social Work at Portland State University.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime.