News from the National Executive Director, August 2016

Reclaiming Futures National Executive Director Evan ElkinIn the current Reclaiming Futures newsletter we focus our attention on Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). SBIRT is a public health-oriented framework revolutionizing the way we think about behavioral health and substance use screening and prevention. Buoyed by strong evidence from the adult research literature, there has been a surge in national interest in translating the successes of the adult SBIRT model for youth populations.

The process of developing an SBIRT framework for youth is in its very early stages and the interest in the approach is currently outpacing the presence of either a body of research evidence and a set of best practices to guide the field. However, with a significant strategic investment by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (CNHF), the field is making strides. Among other elements of a multi-pronged strategy, CNHF is supporting the field to develop and pilot innovative approaches to youth SBIRT, to look at workforce training, and to explore appropriate settings for implementation. The result has been to challenge a number of youth-serving systems like schools and juvenile justice systems to view their work with youth through a public health lens.

Reclaiming Futures is a grantee of CNHF and has been tasked with developing a new adaptation of SBIRT for juvenile justice system involved youth populations. See a recent blog post by Reclaiming Futures Program and Policy Analyst Bridget Murphy for an update on our SBIRT pilot. Reclaiming Futures has also just embarked on a project to collaborate with a number of tribal communities, beginning with the Yurok Tribal Community of Northern California, to develop a cultural adaptation of our SBIRT approach for tribal youth. We look forward to reporting on the progress of that work in an upcoming newsletter.