News Release – December 29, 2009

Contact: Mac Prichard
(503) 517-2772

First Blog Dedicated to Juvenile Justice Teens Struggling with Substance Abuse Celebrates One-Year Anniversary

Portland, OR (December 29, 2009) — The Reclaiming Futures blog Reclaiming Futures Every Day is celebrating its one-year anniversary as the first professionally staffed, national blog dedicated to the topic of teens in the juvenile justice system struggling with drug and alcohol use.

“It was our goal to increase the national dialogue about juvenile justice and substance abuse treatment,” says Laura Nissen, Ph.D., Reclaiming Futures national program director. “We’ve heard from judges, probation officials, treatment providers, and other community members that this is a useful resource and online community.”

The blog, which receives nearly 2,200 visitors monthly, provides weekly updates on the Reclaiming Futures approach now in 26 communities, best practices for helping teens in trouble and new developments in juvenile justice reform. The most popular posts include: a short reference list for finding evidence-based treatment models and a post from a top juvenile justice researcher on what works in the juvenile justice system, according to 500+ juvenile justice professionals. Also of note: a list of eight resources for improving teen substance abuse treatment; and another, detailing 11 things to do with teens in the justice system.

Over the past year, guest contributors have included Joseph A. Califano, director of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, on how to raise a drug-free kid; Randy Muck of the federal Center for Substance Abuse on the importance of family involvement in teen treatment; Jeffrey Butts, Ph.D., a national juvenile justice expert from Public/Private Ventures, on the way social mores influence alcohol and drug abuse diagnoses; and Steve Pasierb of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, on connecting people to treatment through the media.

“We’ve been very pleased with the growth in readership and participation,” said Benjamin Chambers, Reclaiming Futures Every Day blog editor. “We’ve heard from people all across the nation that the blog is a helpful resource. In fact, the American Bar Association’s website tracking legal blogs listed Reclaiming Futures among the top 10 blogs most visited on by their own readers.”

Other comments the blog has received include:

  • A reporter for a national youth publication said our blog is one of the few he reads every week; and that we do a particularly good job of finding resources/guides/toolkits that even he doesn’t find or know about.
  • A community health promotion specialist for a state department of health on the East coast wrote via Facebook to say, “I actually think that your blog/updates are some of THE most informative of all the updates I receive! I value the highlights of positive youth development and the attention you pay to incarcerated youth and love to share your links with our coalition members and FB friends.”

If you would like to sign up to receive the blog via email or RSS feed, please visit Reclaiming Futures Every Day. Reclaiming Futures is also on Facebook and Twitter, and its communications team led two national workshops on the use of social media in juvenile justice this past year for national organizations.

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.

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 and crime. In 26 communities across the nation, the program has received additional 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 Graduate School of Social Work at Portland State University.