News from the National Executive Director, April 2016

by Evan Elkin

We’re very excited to announce the launch of Reclaiming Futures Data Briefs, a new series of brief reports developed in partnership with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Research and Evaluation Center and the Center’s Director, Dr. Jeffrey Butts. The series will highlight current data trends at the intersection of the fields of criminal and juvenile justice, law enforcement and the epidemiology of behavioral health and substance use. The reports are intended for a wide range of youth justice and treatment stakeholders including practitioners, policymakers, advocates, researchers and juvenile justice professionals. The reports are designed to be clear and concise and to provide useful information that will help readers to put our efforts to reform the juvenile justice systems and improve outcomes for youth in a broader, more data-driven context. Dr. Jeffrey Butts from John Jay College says: “I’m pleased to be a part of the new series of data briefs because the goal of Reclaiming Futures is to distribute data in focused and accessible ways.” The first Reclaiming Futures Data Brief examines trends in drug-related arrests within adolescent, young adult and adult populations across both the juvenile and adult justice systems. We hope you find this new series useful in your work.

Read the first Reclaiming Futures Data Brief here.Read More »

Substance Use Disorder Treatment Alert!

by Bridget Murphy

Deadline Approaching: Review and comment by April 11, 2016

Have you seen the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) proposed changes to 42 CFR Part 2, Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records? If not, we recommend taking a look and commenting as an individual, agency/organizational, or community collaboration. Feel free to share praises and/or critiques about the proposed changes with SAMHSA.

Here are some key highlights:

  • Rewind time to more than four decades ago – 42 CFR Part 2 was conceptualized and approved to provide iPAGE2-COURTROOMndividuals seeking substance use disorder treatment with protections for privacy and confidentiality. It was acknowledged that stigma and fear of potential repercussions (familial, employment; criminal) prevented people from seeking treatment.
  • The last “substantive” update to 42 CFR Part 2 was in 1987 (approaching three decades ago).
  • There have been substantial changes in the way substance use disorder treatment is provided including a greater number of integrated health care centers (primary and behavioral health) and greater use of electronic health records. As such, modernizing 42 CFR Part 2 is necessary.
  • The proposed regulations will continue to apply to federally-assisted “programs“ which “holds itself out as providing, and provides substance use disorder diagnosis, treatment, or referral for treatment.” General medical facilities have always been included as a “program”, but the proposed change adds “general medical practices” to the definition.
  • It proposes if agencies and organizations that have “general designation” on consent form(s) they must provide patients a list of where their information has been shared.
  • Proposes agencies and organizations must have policies and procedures in place to sanitize paper and electronic records.

Read More »

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.… Read More »

Weekly News Roundup

by Kate Knappett

Newspapers B&W, © 2011 Jon S, Flickr | CC-BY | via WylioEvery week we round up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance use treatment, and teen mental health. 

A New Resource for Developing Trauma-Informed Systems

by Bridget Murphy

Trauma – a six letter word that carries a lot of significance. Depending on your education and experiences the word brings different thoughts, feelings, and reactions. It is a topic that has received a lot of recognition in the past few decades and is comprehensively described in a publication recently released by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Strengthening Our Future(NCMHJJ). Strengthening Our Future: Key Elements to Developing a Trauma Informed Juvenile Justice Diversion Program for Youth with Behavioral Health Conditions provides necessary background and implementation practices for those working in the juvenile justice system.  One aspect I found very helpful was the concrete examples of how jurisdictions have operationalized implementation practices. For example, a case example from Indiana is provided on page 21. As a way to be trauma-informed – Indiana took a procedural approach. More specifically, Indiana started by reviewing and selecting an assessment, integrated it into the electronic information technology system, supplemented the assessment with a trauma specific assessment, and providing training for personnel working within juvenile justice. This publication is a useful resource that can assist in the development of policies and procedures, practices, and training.… Read More »

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.… Read More »

Reclaiming Futures Cuts Crime, Saves Money

by Evan Elkin

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

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.… Read More »

National Mentoring Month: A Question From the Field

by Reclaiming Futures Staff

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.… Read More »