Nearly $3.7 Million in Federal Funds Awarded to Expand Reclaiming Futures to Help Turn Teen Lives Around

New funds use Reclaiming Futures model to strengthen juvenile drug courts.

    • October 26, 2009

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. The nearly $3.7-million federal investment was announced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

“With this latest investment, the Reclaiming Futures model will now be in 26 communities across the nation,” said Laura Nissen, national program director for Reclaiming Futures. “We are honored that the federal government is supporting this innovative approach and helping us spread the model to even more communities where teens need our help.”

This latest round of funding involves three parties: 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 RWJF is providing approximately $1 million in technical assistance to implement the Reclaiming Futures’ model.

To advance the mission of the juvenile drug court, in 2007 OJJDP entered into a public private partnership with the SAMHSA/CSAT and the RWJF Reclaiming Futures program to enhance the capacity of treatment services by integrating best practices, and to reshape the service infrastructure to accommodate the complexity and volume of cases.

Three jurisdictions received awards in 2007 in Hocking County, Ohio; Greene County, Mo.; and Nassau County, N.Y. 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.

The collaboration continued in 2009 and the following awards are being made:

  • Colorado Judicial Department, Denver. Award amount: $424,435 from OJJDP for a four year period; $198,915 from SAMHSA/CSAT per year for up to four years depending on performance and availability of funds.
  • Superiour Court of California, County of Ventura, Juvenile Drug Court, Ventura, Calif. Award amount: $425,000 from OJJDP for a four year period; $200,000 from SAMHSA/CSAT per year for up to four years depending on performance and availability of funds.
  • Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, Okla. Award amount: $425,000 from OJJDP for a four year period; $200,000 from SAMHSA/CSAT per year for up to four years depending on performance and availability of funds.

“Our collaboration with CSAT and RWJF will enhance and expand treatment services offered through juvenile drug courts, implement a system of care to coordinate social services, and increase community opportunities for youth and their families,” said Jeff Slowikowski, acting administrator of OJJDP.

“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.”

Most teens that end up in juvenile court have a substance abuse problem. 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.

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. During a five-year pilot phase, 10 communities created and tested a new six-step model that screens teens for drug and alcohol problems, assesses the severity of substance use, provides prompt access to a treatment plan coordinated by a service team, and connects teens with employers, mentors and volunteer service projects. Independent evaluation by the Urban Institute and the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children found that Reclaiming Futures pilot communities reported significant improvements in juvenile justice and drug and alcohol treatment, and positives change in the way juvenile justice and substance abuse agencies communicate and cooperate.

“Reclaiming Futures helps teens overcome the social barriers that stand in the way to better health by helping these young people not only get substance abuse treatment, but also by providing help in getting connected to jobs, mentors, and staying in school,” said Kristin Schubert, program officer at RWJF. “In recognizing these critical relationships between our health and where and how we live, work, learn and play, Reclaiming Futures creates sensible solutions and helps fulfill the mission of our Foundation to improve the health of all Americans.”


About the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
OJJDP, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, provides national leadership, coordination, and resources to prevent and respond to juvenile delinquency and victimization. OJJDP supports states and communities in their efforts to develop and implement effective and coordinated prevention and intervention programs and to improve the juvenile justice system so that it protects public safety, holds offenders accountable, and provides treatment and rehabilitative services tailored to the needs of juveniles and their families.

About Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation’s substance abuse prevention, addictions, treatment, and mental health services delivery system. Through its Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) SAMHSA provides support for treatment of addictions.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
RWJF focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves.

About Reclaiming Futures
Reclaiming Futures is an initiative created by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that offers a new approach to helping teenagers caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime. In 26 communities across the nation, the program has received additional investments to spread its model from RWJF, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. The national office of Reclaiming Futures is housed in the Regional Research Institute of the Graduate School of Social Work at Portland State University.