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'Reclaiming Futures' Works, Study Says

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The communities that have adopted the Reclaiming Futures intervention model to help teens in trouble with crime, alcohol and other drugs have succeeded in improving the social networks that addiction and criminal-justice agencies use to communicate, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Urban Institute and Chapin Hill Center for Children at the University of Chicago studied eight communities that implemented the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded project, which combines system reforms, treatment improvement and community engagement.

“Communities that used the Reclaiming Futures model increased the strength of their social networks,” said Jennifer Yahner, lead author of the study and an Urban Institute researcher. “The improved communications enhanced the partnership's ability to address the needs of substance-involved juveniles.”

Researchers found that Reclaiming Futures was a key part of the agency networks in the communities studied, and that treatment programs and other non-justice organizations were active partners with local juvenile-justice systems.

“One of the goals of Reclaiming Futures was to change the way agencies interact as they cooperate to serve youth and families. This study shows it is possible to affect the structure of these inter-organizational networks in ways that help agencies work better together to get things done,” said Jeffrey Butts of the Chapin Hall Center for Children.

The study included surveys of judges, probation officers, educators, treatment experts, community activists, and others involved in the juvenile-justice system.

The report is available online (PDF, 1.45 MB).

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