Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Two Federal Agencies and a Foundation Come Together to Expand a Successful Juvenile Services Model

New federal funding has been awarded to expand the Reclaiming Futures model into three more juvenile drug courts across the country over the next four years. Funding is being provided by SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) is awarding a grant for the treatment; OJJDP is awarding funding for the operation of the court; and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is providing approximately $1 million in technical assistance to implement the Reclaiming Futures’ model. The goal of the Juvenile Drug Court Reclaiming Futures Program is to serve substance-abusing juvenile offenders by developing and establishing juvenile drug courts with the Reclaiming Futures model, and including best practices for adolescent treatment to reduce substance abuse among participating youth.

RWJF launched Reclaiming Futures in 2002 to address these urgent needs by reinventing how juvenile courts work. The initiative brings together judges, probation officers, treatment providers, families and community members to improve drug and alcohol treatment for young people in trouble with the law.

Researchers at Columbia University, for example, found that four out of five teens in the juvenile justice system are under the influence of alcohol or drugs while committing their crimes. And in spite of research that shows treatment helps reduce recidivism, most juvenile courts aren’t set up to detect and treat substance abuse or to provide mental health and other important services. “Most juveniles admitted to treatment are referred from the criminal justice system,” said Eric Broderick, acting administrator for SAMHSA. “These grants will use practices proven to help young people get off drugs and back on track toward building fulfilling lives.” (Excerpted from the press release) For policies to reduce juvenile detention.