As part of its Reclaiming Futures national program the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation invested not only in programming but in capacity building and support for communications.
As a first step in developing a strategic communications plan, Reclaiming Futures sought to understand public perceptions about juvenile justice and drug and alcohol treatment. Northwest Communications Research Group studied national media coverage and conducted focus groups on the topic. It then recommended new messaging language and created a message map for Reclaiming Futures communications staff to use in publications and media relations.
Communications experts identified internal and external audiences and set three objectives:
- Convince internal audiences to support the reforms needed to implement the model in local communities.
- Engage local community members in creating prosocial opportunities for Reclaiming Futures youth.
- Convince professionals in other communities beyond the original 10 sites to replicate the Reclaiming Futures model.
To accomplish the third objective, communications created a strong brand for the initiative.
Through training and orientation, both the national program and local project staff were empowered to be effective communicators. In a 2009 survey, 8 out of 10 project directors said communications played an important role in their project.
This article is part of a special issue of Children and Youth Services Review on the RWJF-funded Reclaiming Futures Program.
- 1. Helping Substance-Involved Young People in Juvenile Justice Be Successful
- 2. The Development and Evolution of Reclaiming Futures at the Ten-Year Mark
- 3. Toward an Effective Treatment System for Adolescents with Substance Use Disorders
- 4. Community-Directed Engagement and Positive Youth Development
- 5. Reclaiming Futures Initiative from a Sicangu Lakota Tribal Perspective
- 6. Reclaiming Futures
- 7. Evaluating Systems Change in a Juvenile Justice Reform Initiative
- 8. Reclaiming Futures Considers an Anti-Oppressive Frame to Decrease Disparities
- 9. Exploring the Implementation of Justice-Based Alcohol and Drug Intervention Strategies with Juvenile Offenders
- 10. Reclaiming Futures and Juvenile Reentry
- 11. Family Involvement in Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery