Beyond Treatment

The Reclaiming Futures Initiative strives to tap into those natural resources in local communities that can help a youth build positive supports for long-term success. All youths need access to opportunities to foster their skills and interests through mentoring, arts, recreation, leadership development and other pro-social youth development activities.

Local teams should look at the array of these types of supports – both formal and informal – that are available to work with juvenile justice-involved youths and how they go about matching youths to these supports. These supports can be used to help a youth achieve goals within their service plan, such as increased interaction with peers or adults that will have a positive influence, or improved interpersonal skills. The ability to participate in these pro-social activities or learning experiences can also be used as motivational incentives to achieve other goals. For example, youth that are actively engaged in treatment and have abstained from substance use may earn the opportunity to participate in a specialized learning experience. Family and youth should have a clear voice in the development of these strategies to ensure they match the needs, strengths and interests of the youth.

This approach is being used by state-level juvenile justice professionals in efforts to implement Graduated Responses and Rewards, a research-based strategy to help youths achieve their short- and long-term goals while reducing future offending behavior.

Community Engagement

The Community Fellows for local Reclaiming Futures teams should be a central part of the planning process for the development of these pro-social supports, including the mobilization of additional community resources (formal and informal) as needed. They can also advocate for the inclusion of the family and youth voice in all of your planning efforts. Family partners, families who have previously been involved with the system, are also be a great advocate to engage in your efforts.

North Carolina is very fortunate to have so many great youth-focused organizations and efforts that could partner with your local efforts. In addition to local resources, such as parks & recreation departments, YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs of North Carolina, theaters, dance or art studios, there are also other numerous youth-serving agencies across North Carolina.

Youth Empowered Solutions - YES! is a nonprofit organization that empowers youth, in partnership with adults, to create community change. It equips high school-aged youth and their adult allies with the tools necessary to take a stand in their communities and create change that will positively impact adolescent health.

Youth M.O.V.E. - North Carolina Families United hosts a leadership series geared to youth/young adults, ages 15-21 who have struggled with mental health, and substance issues including trauma-based experiences. The leadership series unites the voices of traditional and non-traditional leaders with lived experiences in various systems including mental health, juvenile justice, education and child welfare. Youth/young adults who successfully complete the Young Adult Leadership Series are encouraged to join Youth M.O.V.E (Motivating Others through Voices of Experience), a statewide youth-led leadership group.

Strong Able Youth Speaking Out (SaySo) - Strong Able Youth Speaking Out, is a statewide association of youth aged 14 to 24 who are or have been in the out-of-home care system that is based in North Carolina. This includes all types of substitute care, including foster care, group homes and mental health placements. Its mission is to work to improve the substitute care system by educating the community, speaking out about needed changes, and providing support to youth who are or have been in substitute care.

Juvenile Crime Prevention Councils – These county-level planning committees conduct an annual needs assessment to help identify gaps in services for youth at risk of juvenile delinquency. These players represent the myriad of agencies and organizations within the county who work with and interface with youth, families and the agencies who work in various capacities with those youth and their families, including social service agencies, the judicial system, local education entities and law enforcement as well as the faith and business communities.

Local Community Collaboratives - A Community Collaborative brings together decision-makers (people responsible for services) and stakeholders (people using the services) to "drive," manage and monitor the local System of Care. The local collaborative finds and builds common goals, promotes concrete ways to collaborate and supports effective services. The local collaborative promotes teamwork and change in the broader community that is necessary for Child and Family Teams to succeed in their work with children and families.