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Improved Care for Teens in Trouble with Drugs, Alcohol and Crime: Reclaiming Futures Treatment Providers Advocate for Change

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In 2002, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched the Reclaiming Futures initiative to help teens in trouble with drugs, alcohol, and crime in 10 pilot communities: Anchorage, Alaska; Santa Cruz, Calif.; Chicago, Southeast Kentucky; Marquette, Mich.; the State of New Hampshire; Dayton, Ohio; Portland, Ore.; Seattle; and the Sovereign Tribal Nation of Sicangu Lakota in Rosebud, S.D.

The Reclaiming Futures Treatment Fellowship, comprised of treatment professionals from these diverse sites, works with project directors, judges, probation officers, family members, and community leaders to design, adopt, and implement effective, communitywide responses to substance abuse problems among young people in the juvenile justice system. Each member has a unique role in his or her community: some members are clinical supervisors, some are front-line staff, and others are policy-makers. They are finding ways to provide these youth with mentors, natural helpers, continuing care, and other supports to enable them to succeed in their communities; affecting change in the areas of training, program development and policy reforms.

This report is a step-by-step guide for other treatment professionals seeking to help this unique population of young people. It can be used along with a treatment improvement notebook, Improving Adolescent Treatment: A Self-Study Workbook for Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Providers (2006), which is available at

We hope that, together, both guides will lead practitioners to re-examine their current practice methods and be better equipped to make changes in their own communities.


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