Contact: Mac Prichard
The Travis County Juvenile Court Receives $1.2 Million in Funding to Adopt Reclaiming Futures Model to Strengthen Juvenile Drug Court
Travis County is one of three communities receiving awards to help turn teen lives around
Austin, TX (December 23, 2010) — New funding has been awarded to Travis County’s juvenile drug court to implement a proven approach to helping teens in trouble with drugs, alcohol and crime. Travis County Juvenile Court is one of three juvenile drug courts across the country that will each receive more than $1.2 million over the next four years to implement the Reclaiming Future’s model.
“Our juvenile drug court is making a difference here in Travis County,” said the Honorable Texanna Davis, Associate Judge. “Adopting the Reclaiming Futures model in our community will allow us to help teens and their families more effectively.”
The federal investment is awarded by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
“Thanks to these new grants, Reclaiming Futures, which offers more treatment, better treatment, and more than treatment, will now serve 29 communities in 17 states, ” said Laura Nissen, national program director for Reclaiming Futures. “We are honored that the federal government is supporting our cost-effective approach to improve drug and alcohol treatment for teens in juvenile court.”
This latest round of funding involves three parties: SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) is awarding a grant for the treatment; OJJDP is awarding funding for the operation of the court; and RWJF is providing technical assistance via the Reclaiming Futures national office.
The Juvenile Drug Court Reclaiming Futures Program serves substance-abusing juvenile offenders by developing and establishing juvenile drug courts with the Reclaiming Futures model, including best practices for adolescent treatment to reduce substance abuse among participating youth.
To advance the development of juvenile drug courts, in 2007 OJJDP entered into a public-private partnership with SAMHSA/CSAT and RWJF to enhance the capacity of treatment services by integrating best practices, and to reshape the service infrastructure to accommodate the complexity and volume of cases.
This is the third series of federal grants to support the adoption of Reclaiming Futures by juvenile drug courts. Three jurisdictions received awards in 2009: Denver, CO; Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, OK; and Ventura, CA. Three jurisdictions received awards in 2007: Hocking County, OH; Green County, MO; and Nassau County, NY.
The collaboration continued in 2010 and the following federal awards are being made:
- HARDIN PARTNERSHIP TO AID COMMUNITY TEENS (HARDIN PACT), Hardin County, Ohio. Award amounts for a four-year period: $425,000 from OJJDP and $796,348 from SAMHSA/CSAT, depending on performance and availability of funds.
- SUPERIOR COURT OF SNOHOMISH COUNTY, DENNEY JUVENILE JUSTICE CENTER, Everett, Wash. Award amounts for a four-year period: $425,000 from OJJDP and $800,000 from SAMHSA/CSAT, depending on performance and availability of funds.
- TRAVIS COUNTY JUVENILE PROBATION DEPARTMENT, Travis County, Tex. Award amounts for a four-year period: $425,000 from OJJDP and $798,782 from SAMHSA/CSAT, depending on performance and availability of funds.
In addition to the federal grants, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is providing support for technical assistance to the three sites for four years through the Reclaiming Futures national program office.
“The Reclaiming Futures model provides an effective and coordinated approach to prevention and intervention,” said Jeff Slowikowski, acting administrator of OJJDP. “By partnering with CSAT and RWJF we can offer expanded opportunities for youth to break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime.”
“By addressing drug and alcohol problems among teens in juvenile court our nation can reduce crime, lessen the burden on the justice system, and restore countless lives,” said Pamela Hyde, administrator for SAMHSA. “These grants strengthen these juvenile courts by improving treatment, drug and alcohol screening, case management and program coordination.”
Most teens that end up in juvenile court have a substance abuse problem. Researchers at Columbia University, for example, found that four out of five teens in the juvenile justice system are under the influence of alcohol or drugs while committing their crimes. And in spite of research that shows treatment helps reduce recidivism, most juvenile courts aren’t set up to detect and treat substance abuse or to provide mental health and other important services.
RWJF launched Reclaiming Futures in 2002 to address these urgent needs by reinventing how juvenile courts work. The initiative brings together judges, probation officers, treatment providers, families and community members to improve drug and alcohol treatment for young people in trouble with the law. During a five-year pilot phase, 10 communities created and tested a new six-step model that screens teens for drug and alcohol problems, assesses the severity of substance use, provides prompt access to a treatment plan coordinated by a service team, and connects teens with employers, mentors and volunteer service projects. Independent evaluation by the Urban Institute and the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall Center for Children found that Reclaiming Futures pilot communities reported significant improvements in juvenile justice and drug and alcohol treatment, and positive change in the way juvenile justice and substance abuse agencies communicate and cooperate.
“Teens in juvenile court with drug and alcohol problems need more than treatment,” said Jane Lowe, senior program officer at RWJF. “They also need help finishing school, finding a job and connecting with mentors. Reclaiming Futures recognizes these critical relationships between our health, homes, schools, jobs and communities, and helps fulfill the mission of our Foundation to improve the health of all Americans.”
About the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)
OJJDP, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, provides national leadership, coordination, and resources to prevent and respond to juvenile delinquency and 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 juveniles and their families. ojjdp.ncjrs.gov.
About Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation’s substance abuse prevention, addictions, treatment, and mental health services delivery system. Through its Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) SAMHSA provides support for treatment of addictions. www.samhsa.gov.
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)
RWJF 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. www.rwjf.org.
About Reclaiming Futures
Reclaiming Futures is an initiative created by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that offers a new approach to helping teenagers caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol 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 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. www.reclaimingfutures.org.