News from the National Executive Director, June 2016

by Evan Elkin

Reclaiming Futures Data Brief Image

It is widely known that arrest rates for adolescents have steadily declined over the past two decades. During this time, we’ve also seen a gradual shift in the nation’s juvenile justice practices away from the use of out-of-home placement for minor, non-violent offenses and toward more treatment-oriented, trauma-sensitive and community-based responses.

This, unfortunately, has not been the story for girls involved in the juvenile justice system. In fact, the proportion of girls involved at all stages of the juvenile justice continuum increased over this time period. Experts and policymakers agree that the system remains insensitive and ill-equipped to serve the needs of girls – particularly girls of color – at all levels of juvenile justice continuum.

While we are pleased to see the recent report by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, meaningful reform focused on girls in the system is long overdue. In this month’s Reclaiming Futures Newsletter, we focus our attention on girls in the juvenile justice system and feature a new blog post by Bridget Murphy as well the latest Reclaiming Futures Data Brief, focused on gender trends in juvenile drug arrests.

Read the second Reclaiming Futures Data Brief here.

Evan Elkin

About

Evan Elkin is the executive director of Reclaiming Futures.

 

Talking About Addiction

by Kate Knappett

On June 1, 2016, our Reclaiming Futures national executive director Evan Elkin spoke at Red Emma’s in Baltimore for Open Society Institute-Baltimore’s second event in their “Talking About Addiction” series. Elkin was accompanied on the panel by Dr. Hoover Adger from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and by Carin Callan Miller, who founded Save Our Children Peer Family Support. The conversation was moderated by Scott Nolen, director of OSI-Baltimore’s Drug Addiction Treatment Program. A full room of community members joined them for the evening, including families affected by adolescent addiction.

Youth, Addiction and the Juvenile Justice System

Whereas the first “Talking About Addiction” event explored alternative law enforcement approaches to addiction, this event focused on youth, addiction, and the juvenile justice system. Despite public acknowledgment of the failures of the “War on Drugs,” and an increased understanding of addiction as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice issue, OSI-Baltimore recognizes that research and policy around adolescent addiction are slow to reach the mainstream. Indeed, during the discussion, some attendees expressed frustration with how long addiction treatment reform is taking; OSI moderator Nolen suggested reassurance that the addiction paradigm is finally shifting.

The conversation was reported on by the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange and OSI-Baltimore and includes these takeaways:

  • Inequitable healthcare makes for inadequate healthcare infrastructures
  • Race plays a significant role in adolescent substance use treatment
  • The stigma surrounding addiction is an obstacle for treatment
  • Teens need access to substance use treatment in their communities, rather than the system
  • Youth treatment should consider the whole family and not take a punitive approach

If you missed the discussion, but would like to know more, you can listen to this WEAA Marc Steiner Show podcast which includes an hour-long talk with Elkin and Nolen recorded on the morning of the event.

Kate Knappett

About Kate Knappett

Kate Knappett is a member of the Reclaiming Futures National Program Office.

 

Youth Justice News Roundup

by Kate Knappett

We round up the latest news on youth justice reform and national public health.

  • OSI-Baltimore hosts their second “Talking About Addiction” event. Open Society Institute-Baltimore hosted the second event in their “Talking About Addiction” series on Wednesday. The discussion was focused on youth justice and addiction; the panel of speakers included Evan Elkin (Reclaiming Futures), as well as Dr. Hoover Adger (Johns Hopkins Children’s Center) and Carin Callan Miller (Save Our Children). [Open Society Institute-Baltimore]
  • For new events, webinars, jobs, and grants visit the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board.
Kate Knappett

About Kate Knappett

Kate Knappett is a member of the Reclaiming Futures National Program Office.

 

News from the National Executive Director, March 2016

by Evan Elkin

-sad-tears-cry-depression-mourning-2A critical element of the juvenile justice reform narrative in the past decade has been our elevated understanding of the role that trauma plays in the experiences of young people – particularly those involved with the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. With traumatic events and victimization affecting millions of youth each year, childhood trauma has genuinely become a pressing public health issue.

Our heightened awareness of the impact of trauma, the development of screening practices to help identify young people who are suffering from symptoms associated with trauma and the advent of so-called trauma-informed strategies at nearly every step of the juvenile justice continuum have all been positive developments. In January, the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice (NCMHJJ) released a comprehensive publication on trauma. Yet, there is still significant work to be done. The overuse of detention and incarceration and an under-appreciation of the impact that persistent racial and ethnic biases in youth-serving systems have on young people and their families remains a major blind spot in our nation’s approach to youth justice and to trauma.

At Reclaiming Futures we seek to support youth justice systems around the country as they take the next big leap in reforming their systems by not only integrating effective and trauma-informed treatment practices but by building a public health-informed and equitable justice system that partners with families and communities to deliver genuinely healing and restorative response to youth who run afoul of the law.

Evan Elkin

About

Evan Elkin is the executive director of Reclaiming Futures.

 

News from the National Executive Director, February 2016

by Evan Elkin

Maria Hernandez, a Santa Cruz Reclaiming Futures participant, with her mom.

It took decades and a mountain of research evidence showing that incarcerating adolescents does little to prevent recidivism before policymakers took notice and began supporting measures to reduce incarceration and invest in community-based alternatives that prioritize treatment and support for youth and their families. Increasingly, over the past 15 years, we have seen the field come together around the common goal of creating a system for justice-involved youth that is more therapeutic, less punitive, less reliant on detention and incarceration, and more thoroughly grounded in research evidence and best practice. The catalyst for this paradigm shift has been a series of significant strategic investments by federal agencies and by major foundations like Annie E. Casey with its Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, the MacArthur Foundation and its Models for Change, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) investment in Reclaiming Futures. These investments have all paid off in different ways to drive the field forward.

This month we are pleased to learn that investments in Reclaiming Futures made by RWJF, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) are now showing significant returns. A new report from the recent federally funded multi-site evaluation of Reclaiming Futures conducted by the University of Arizona shows evidence that implementing Reclaiming Futures in a treatment court setting reduces recidivism and produces significant cost savings. The report looked closely at five of our sites around the country and demonstrated that these sites saved more than $11 million in just one year, largely due to reductions in crime among youth participating in Reclaiming Futures programming.

As the field moves beyond the question of whether or not to invest in court diversion and alternatives to incarceration, the question becomes how best to implement and sustain strategies proven to reduce recidivism and improve both public health and public safety; Reclaiming Futures offers a compelling blueprint.

Evan Elkin

About

Evan Elkin is the executive director of Reclaiming Futures.

 

Reclaiming Futures Cuts Crime, Saves Money

by Evan Elkin

NEWS RELEASE: January 26, 2016

MEDIA CONTACT:
Jenna Cerruti
503-517-2773 x4
jenna@prichardcommunications.com

Reclaiming Futures Cuts Crime, Saves Money

National evaluation shows that Reclaiming Futures generated $11 million in cost savings over one year; promoted better outcomes for teens and communities.

Portland, Oregon — Five communities using the Reclaiming Futures model — a national public health and juvenile justice reform framework that promotes effective treatment practices — saved $11 million in one year. The national evaluation showed that juvenile drug courts implementing the Reclaiming Futures model saw significant reductions in crime and delinquency, which drove these notable fiscal savings.

Conducted by the University of Arizona’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women and funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention through an interagency agreement with the Library of Congress, research examined cost savings over a 12-month period at five juvenile drug courts around the country where the Reclaiming Futures model was implemented. Results show that the savings from implementing Reclaiming Futures are more than double its cost; net savings amounted to $84,569 per teen. Serving a total of 139 teens over the year of the study, these five communities saved more than $11 million in total. Further, average savings were even greater among participating teens with severe clinical problems, amounting to $232,109 in savings per teen.

“This research reinforces that Reclaiming Futures is successful at getting effective treatment to court-involved youth, especially those with more significant treatment needs, preventing recidivism, and all the while saving money that can be reinvested into community-based programs” says Evan Elkin, Reclaiming Futures’ executive director. “This is good news for both the economic health and the well-being of our communities.”

Though researchers looked at several factors to determine savings, such as days of missed school or work, days of physical health problems and days of mental health problems, the primary driver of savings was a reduction in crime and delinquency, showing that pairing Reclaiming Futures with juvenile drug courts reduces recidivism and supports positive outcomes for teens.

“Our analysis did not isolate the specific factors contributing to the reduction in criminal activity that generated the greatest savings from juvenile drug courts implementing the Reclaiming Futures model. My impression, however, is that the coordination of care and interagency collaboration that Reclaiming Futures adds to juvenile drug courts may be a key factor in reducing crime and delinquency among this group,” says researcher Kathryn McCollister, Ph.D. at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, a consultant on the national evaluation.

The five communities that implemented Reclaiming Futures are diverse both geographically and regarding the populations they serve. Two communities are located on the West Coast, two in the Midwest, and one in the Great Lakes region. All are funded as part of a multi-million dollar effort by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Read the policy brief here.

About Reclaiming Futures

Reclaiming Futures, founded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a national public health and juvenile justice reform framework that promotes effective treatment practices. The model offers an effective approach to keeping court-involved teens safely in the community and getting them the services and supports they need to succeed. In 42 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 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. http://www.reclaimingfutures.org.

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RF-CostSavings

Evan Elkin

About

Evan Elkin is the executive director of Reclaiming Futures.

 

National Mentoring Month: A Question From the Field

by Reclaiming Futures Staff
Tricia Lucido

Featured guest is Tricia Lucido, Project Director for Reclaiming Futures in Dayton, Ohio at the Montgomery County Juvenile Court.

The following Q&A originally appeared in the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) January newsletter and is reprinted here with permission.

Q: How can our juvenile drug court (JDC) maintain and sustain a mentoring program?

A: Mentoring programs can enhance the success and effectiveness of JDCs. Maintaining and sustaining a mentoring program requires cooperation among JDCs, community, and stakeholders. JDCs must have access to a full range of funding, staffing, and community resources required to sustain a mentoring program over the long term.

The longevity of any JDC program relies upon funding and community support. Courts that have been successful have leveraged cross-system resources and opportunities to obtain more funding from all available state and community resources. Community support increases the adaptability and sustainability of mentoring programs by providing mentors, funders, collaborators, and communication agents. It also increases opportunities for contact between youth and positive environments, provides activities for mentors and youth to engage in, and provides youth a feeling of belonging.

Another important programmatic component is having a strong mission statement, clear goals, and a shared vision. Reducing substance use and increasing community safety and family functioning are examples of common goals of the JDC. Incorporating the mentoring goals into the JDC is essential to increase team cohesion, family support, and overall program effectiveness. Important mission-driven goals include having a high level of communication among the JDC team, mentors and mentor program team; careful matching of mentors with JDC youth; effective training for mentors that includes training in mentoring program rules and guidelines; commitment to the mentor relationship (typically a year or longer); and access to support from the program staff, community, and other organizations.

The longevity of any mentoring program relies upon effective recruitment of new mentors and maintaining active mentors. Including adequate recruitment and screening practices and carefully matching mentors and mentees will enhance program success. Ongoing recruitment strategies should employ various strategies (e.g., community organizations and clubs, the faith-based community, local employers, universities, volunteer fairs, and on-line databases). Staff should conduct in-person interviews and background checks and gather information regarding interests, availability, and demographic characteristics for matching purposes. Including mentors in JDC case planning, treatment plans, and court hearings can help enhance collaboration and commitment.

Please visit the Montgomery County Juvenile Court website for additional information on their Natural Helpers mentoring program or click here to view a sample information packet from Natural Helpers including their brochure, publication list, sample interview questions, and file inventory forms for their mentoring program. For information about the Natural Helpers mentoring program, please contact Tricia Lucido at tlucido@mcjcohio.org.

NCJFCJ encourages JDCs to implement mentoring programs in their courts. For more information about implementing mentor programs or assistance, please contact Elo Chaparro at echaparro@ncjfcj.org.

Tricia Lucido is the Project Director for Reclaiming Futures in Dayton, Ohio at the Montgomery County Juvenile Court. She promotes the Reclaiming Futures project and seeks funding for additional evidence-based treatment options to better serve families in her community. Tricia joined the Reclaiming Futures project in October of 2015. Her professional experience includes working with youth who have addiction challenges. She has been involved with the Montgomery County Juvenile Drug Court for over ten years. Tricia is a licensed Ohio Chemical Dependency Counselor and is a member of the National Association for Drug Court Professionals. She regularly speaks on treatment collaborations and mentoring and has presented for national addiction conferences. Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice/Legal Studies from Georgia College and State University and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Cincinnati. She has a passion for working with youth and their families. When not at work, Tricia enjoys working on DIY projects with her husband of eighteen years and their two sons.

About Reclaiming Futures Staff

 

OJJDP Policy Guidance: Girls and the Juvenile Justice System

by Kate Knappett

Girls are increasingly over-represented in the juvenile justice system; particularly girls living in poverty and young women of color, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in their recently released policy guidance: “Girls and the Juvenile Justice System.” The significant increase of justice-involved girls over the past two decades was also demonstrated in September by Francine T. Sherman and Annie Balck in their “Gender Injustice” report; girls now account for almost 30 percent of youth arrests. OJJDP’s new policy guidance calls for the identification and recognition of known risk factors – which lead girls to the justice system – and the implementation of developmentally informed approaches in order to reduce and divert the involvement of girls in the system. OJJDP’s policy guidance aligns with the White House Council on Women and Girls’ intention to advance equity for women and girls of color.

Identifying Risk Factors  

OJJDP’s policy guidance identifies a number of risk factors which lead to involvement of girls in the juvenile justice system, also referred to as the sexual abuse/trauma-to-prison pipeline

  • Intersectional Disparities:  The intersection of race, gender, sexuality, and class is known to heighten the risk of juvenile justice system involvement for girls – particularly for Black, American Indian, and Native Alaskan girls.
  • Gender Gap: Girls are more likely than boys to enter the juvenile justice system for nonviolent offenses, stemming from encounters with trauma and violence. The justice system can retraumatize vulnerable youth, reducing positive outcomes, according to OJJDP.
  • Trauma: Justice-involved girls and young women experience violence and trauma in their lives at a much higher rate than their peers in the juvenile justice system. According to Sherman and Balck, 45 percent of girls in an ACEs study of justice-involved youth had experienced five or more ACEs.
  • Family Violence: Over the past two decades the rate at which young women are arrested for assaults, which often take place in the home, has noticeably risen. The increase in assault arrests of young women in their homes is seen in part as an unfortunate repercussion to the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which spurred state and local mandatory and pro-arrest policies.  84 percent of justice-involved girls have experienced family violence, according to Sherman and Balck.
  • Sexual Exploitation: Girls and young women treated as delinquents in the justice system are disproportionately victims of commercial sex trafficking who have been arrested for “prostitution and commercialized vice.”
  • Pregnant and Parenting Girls and Young Women: Survey of Youth in Residential Placement finds that nine percent of justice-involved girls have children, compared with six percent of girls in the general population.
  • Health Risks and Needs: High numbers of detained girls are known to have psychiatric disorders, substance use disorders, and under-attended physical and mental health needs.
  • School Failure: Young women and girls – particularly girls of color, LGBTQI youth, and girls with a disability – are negatively impacted by school discipline policies which may lead them to the juvenile justice system.

Improving Response 

With “Girls and the Juvenile Justice System,” OJJDP outlines their commitment to providing technical assistance, grants, research, and data collection to states, tribes, and local communities to improve conditions for justice-involved girls and young women. The policy guidance urgently calls on states, tribes, and local communities to improve system and programmatic responses, and identifies these eight focus areas:

  1. Prohibit the practice of placing status offenders or domestic minor sex trafficking victims in the juvenile justice system.
  2. Phase out the use of valid court orders, and reduce or eliminate arrests of young women for status offenses, technical violations of probation, simple assault, family-based offenses, running away, and prostitution-related charges.
  3. Collaborate to amend mandatory arrest policies for domestic violence and to ensure that policies focus on intimate partner violence and adults, not on youth and intrafamily conflict.
  4. Implement the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and its regulations, including the youthful inmate standard.
  5. Create developmental and trauma-informed alternatives to detention and incarceration for girls with complex needs who pose little or no risk to public safety
  6. Coordinate responses to housing, education, health, family, relationships, and safety in order to make gender- and culturally responsive, trauma-informed, and developmentally appropriate services the norm.
  7. Address the needs of girls who have—or have had—contact with both the child welfare and the juvenile justice systems.
  8. Ensure the competency of all programs and services which serve girls and young women in—or at risk of entering—the juvenile justice system.

These focus areas align with the Reclaiming Futures approach and model, and we encourage members of our sites and national community to share this policy guidance and to contribute to a dialogue of how these focus areas may be applied in order to improve our system and programmatic responses.

See the full policy guidance from OJJDP here.

Kate Knappett

About Kate Knappett

Kate Knappett is a member of the Reclaiming Futures National Program Office.

 

New Report, Reducing Teen Substance Misuse: What Really Works

by Kate Knappett

medicine-385947_1920A new report, “Reducing Teen Substance Misuse: What Really Works,” calls attention to the rising rate of teen overdose fatalities in the United States, the role of prescription painkillers, as well as research-based solutions for prevention and treatment. The report, supported by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, was authored and produced by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit, non-partisan organization with a focus on public health policy and community prevention and treatment strategies. 

Significant Increase in Teen Overdose Fatalities

TFAH finds that youth drug overdose fatalities, among 12 to 25 year-olds, more than doubled in 35 states over the past ten years, particularly among young men and boys. Fatality rates for youth overdose more than doubled in 18 states, more than tripled in 12 states, and more than quadrupled in five states (Kansas, Montana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Wyoming). Analyses reveals that, while no state had a youth overdose death rate over 6.1 per 100,000 before 2001, 33 states were above 6.1 per 100,000 deaths by the year 2013.

Rising Prescription Drug Misuse and Heroin Use

The significant national increase in substance overdose fatalities in 18 to 25 year-olds is predominantly connected to prescription painkiller misuse and addiction, which has also contributed to the increasing use of heroin in this population, according to TFAH researchers, who report:

  • Teens increasingly turn to heroin as an inexpensive, easy to access alternative to prescription painkillers
  • Use of heroin among 18 to 25 year-olds has more than doubled over the past decade
  • 45 percent of heroin users are also addicted to prescription painkillers

Prevention and Treatment Strategies: What Really Works

Upon scoring states on how well they currently limit access, support improved well-being, and how they support improved counseling, early intervention and treatment and recovery support (i.e. SBIRT) — TFAH finds that 24 states lack effective policies and programs to prevent and reduce substance misuse in youth; and Minnesota and New Jersey were the only states to score 10 out of 10 on key indicators, developed in consultation with substance misuse prevention experts. Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Wyoming tied for the lowest scores, receiving 3, out of 10 possible. 

Emphasizing the need for a full-continuum-of-care, Reducing Teen Substance Misuse provides research-based suggestions for how states may prevent and reduce substance misuse; the report includes these recommendations:

  • Prevention First: States should have a network of experts and resources in support of evidence-based approaches and programs, implemented in collaboration with the local community.
  • Strategic Investment: States should strategically invest in evidence-based programs known to effectively reduce risk of substance misuse and other problems specifically experienced by teens and young adults.
  • Multisector Collaboration: Communities should collaborate with schools to collect data on community needs and select programs to match those needs, and improve accountability. 
  • Evidence-Based and Sustained School-Based Programs: Ineffective programs should be abandoned and, efforts should be renewed for evidence-based and sustained school-based programs. 
  • Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT): Academic and healthcare professionals should incorporate SBIRT as routine practice, for a positive impact on youth.
  • Increase Funding Support: States should increase funding support for sustainable treatment and recovery for teens with mental health and substance use issues.

These recommendations also align with the Reclaiming Futures approach and model, and we encourage members of our sites and national community to share this report, and to contribute to a dialogue of how these recommendations may be applied nationally at a local and state level.

See the full report here.

Kate Knappett

About Kate Knappett

Kate Knappett is a member of the Reclaiming Futures National Program Office.

 

Teen Drug Overdose Death Rate Doubles Over Last Decade; News Roundup

by Kate Knappett

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance use treatment, and teen mental health. 

Teen Drug Overdose Death Rate Doubles Over Last Decade (Psychiatry Advisor)
Trust For America’s Health released a new report with findings that the American drug overdose mortality rate has more than doubled over the last ten years, and especially among young men between the ages of 12 to 25 years old. Prescription drugs were found to be responsible for many of the overdoses, and were also found to be connected to heroin addictions in young people.

Holiday Homophobia Hurts (The Huffington Post)
Advocate and author, Derrick De Lise, highlights the experiences LGBTQIA+ adults and youth continue to undergo around the holidays, and ways to respond to family and the community. De Lise also encourages LGBTQIA+ adults to speak up for the sake of youth in their families who may be questioning their own sexuality, but haven’t come out yet.

Focus on community programs leads to drop in juvenile lockups (The Columbus Dispatch)
In a new study conducted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the state of Ohio was was identified as a national leader in diverting justice-involved youth to “lower-cost community programs, instead of prison.”

NY Children Get Involved in Action for Tamir Rice (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange)
One year has passed since 12 year old Tamir Rice was killed by Cleveland Police, and while there were demonstrations around the country this past week, a march in Manhattan caught national attention for being a “children’s march,” with participants’ ages ranging from two to seventeen years old.

Native One-Stop Portal Makes Finding Benefits Easier (Indian Country Today)
In September Benefits.gov released its launch of Native One Stop, with a goal of improving the lives of Native American youth. American Indians and Alaska Natives may quickly and easily access Federal resources and programs. A pre-screening questionnaire is used to provide a personalization of information and resources to online visitors.

L.A. Unified sees success in counseling rather than arresting truants and kids who fight (Los Angeles Times)
While campus police around the country are generally considered part of the school-to-prison pipeline problem, L.A. Unified officers are doing things differently by collaborating with community organizations for major reforms that favor counseling over arrests.

Jobs, Grants, Events and Webinars

Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. We encourage you to browse, and to post!

Kate Knappett

About Kate Knappett

Kate Knappett is a member of the Reclaiming Futures National Program Office.