News Release – September 17, 2014

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Jim Carlton, Deputy Director, Reclaiming Futures

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Awards Reclaiming Futures $2 Million Grant to Expand Substance Use and Mental Health Treatment for At Risk Youth

Portland, Ore. (September 17, 2014) — Reclaiming Futures has been awarded a $2 million grant by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to advance its public health approach to juvenile justice reform through effective treatment and community engagement. The three-year investment allows Reclaiming Futures to design and pilot an innovative adaptation of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for adolescents beginning with five communities around the nation.

“We’re rooted in a holistic system of care approach that brings together judges, probation officers, treatment providers, families and community members to support the substance abuse and mental health treatment needs of at risk youth,” says Reclaiming Futures’ National Executive Director Susan Richardson. “This investment in SBIRT builds on our foundation and expands our ability to intervene early and more efficiently with youth.”

National studies estimate that only about one in thirteen young people who need substance abuse treatment actually access services. This funding will enable Reclaiming Futures to apply SBIRT—a promising new approach for identifying, reducing and preventing problematic teen drug and alcohol use—in an innovative way to touch the lives of many more at risk youth who typically fall through the cracks. SBIRT was originally developed for an adult population, but has shown promising results with adolescents. Reclaiming Futures will break ground by adapting the intervention approach for adolescents who are at risk for involvement in the juvenile justice system, where a high percentage of youth are known to show signs of problematic and untreated substance abuse.

The funding enables Reclaiming Futures and the Conrad Hilton Foundation to implement and evaluate SBIRT at three of Reclaiming Futures’ 39 existing sites, as well as launch two new Reclaiming Futures sites that will take part in the SBIRT pilot.

Each of the five pilot sites will serve at least 100 youth over the course of three years. The target will be youth who show mild to moderate levels of substance use—a population that doesn’t often qualify for or seek treatment, but who are at high risk for developing worse substance abuse problems down the road. Clinical Director for this initiative, Evan Elkin, will design an engaging, teen-friendly one to five session intervention tailored for a juvenile justice setting that can be administered flexibly depending on the severity of the youth’s substance use.

“SBIRT allows a practitioner to segue immediately from a screening to an intervention customized to the young person’s substance abuse, all in a single appointment,” explains Elkin. “We need greater specificity in the way we respond to the young people we serve with an approach that fits the level of the problem, and that’s accessible and useful to youth who may not need a more intensive intervention.”

The Hilton Foundation funding began September 1, 2014 and runs through August 31, 2017. A competitive request for proposal process begins this fall for communities to apply to be one of the five sites to participate in the pilot. For more information, visit

About Reclaiming Futures

Reclaiming Futures, founded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, offers a new approach to helping teenagers caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime. In 39 communities across the nation, Reclaiming Futures has received investments to spread its model from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, The Duke Endowment and now the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The national office of Reclaiming Futures is housed in the Regional Research Institute, School of Social Work at Portland State University.

About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world’s disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton’s support for the work of Catholic Sisters. In addition, following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants, distributing $92 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2013. The Foundation’s current assets are approximately $2.4 billion. For more information, please visit