News Release – November 24, 2008

Contact: Mac Prichard
mac@prichardcommunications.com; (503) 517-2772

Benjamin Chambers
benjamin@reclaimingfutures.org; (503) 725-8955

First Blog Launched Dedicated to Juvenile Justice Teens Struggling with Substance Abuse

Portland, OR (November 24, 2008) — Reclaiming Futures announced today it has launched the first national blog dedicated to the topic of teens in the juvenile justice system struggling with drug and alcohol use. Reclaiming Futures Every Day is professionally staffed and aims to keep people informed of the latest happenings in the area of juvenile justice and substance abuse treatment.

“This is an easy, informal way for judges, probation officials, treatment providers, and other community members to stay abreast of the latest developments in juvenile justice reform as related to adolescent alcohol and drug treatment.” says Laura Nissen, Ph.D., Reclaiming Futures national program director. “We want to increase the national dialogue surrounding this important topic. Inviting people to read and comment on our blog is a powerful way to keep the conversation moving.”

Reclaiming Futures Every Day, which can be found at http://www.reclaimingfutures.org/, is designed to help readers:

  • Discuss the national challenge of helping teens break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime.
  • Stay in touch with what’s going on in the 23 communities using the proven Reclaiming Futures approach.
  • Learn about challenges these sites face and how they are tackling them.
  • Exchange ideas and information about the Reclaiming Futures model.
  • Comment on new developments in teen alcohol and drug treatment and juvenile justice reform.
  • Receive expert opinions and commentary from regular contributors who are leaders in the field.

The editor of Reclaiming Futures Every Day is Benjamin Chambers, who formerly worked at the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice in Portland, Oregon. Chambers held several positions at Multnomah County, including serving as director of the local Reclaiming Futures project. He will make three to five posts a week and also recruit national leaders to contribute regularly to the blog as well.

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.

For more information please visit www.reclaimingfutures.org.

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. www.reclaimingfutures.org.

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. www.rwjf.org

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