— Thirty representatives of the area's
criminal justice and social service agencies
came together on Thursday at the Bristol County
Jail and House of Correction for the introductory
session of Reclaiming Futures, an approach
aimed at giving adolescents with drug problems
the support they need to stay out of jail
and lead successful lives.
vision here is that communities will reclaim
youth through comprehensive, individualized,
community-based responses to substance abuse
and delinquency," said Dan Merrigan,
a Reclaiming Futures coach and professor
at Boston University School of Public Health.
"What we know is that treatment works,
and we know that treatment is less expensive
than incarceration or detention. Good treatment
works. Appropriate treatment works. Matched
treatment works. Adult models of treatment
don't necessarily work for young people.
What works for young boys may not work for
Bristol County Sheriff's Office recently
was chosen as a Reclaiming Futures site
and will be receiving approximately $180,000
from the organization to enhance communication
between agencies, identify and assess adolescents
in need, and provide supportive follow-up
to Mr. Merrigan, reaching out to the families
of troubled youth is key.
families are enlivened and empowered and
they unleash their potential they can make
things happen. It is how any major social
change has happened in this country,"
Mr. Merrigan said.
six-step approach of Reclaiming Futures
includes initial screening, initial assessment,
service coordination, initiation, engagement
youthful offenders are currently screened
and offered drug treatment, said Reclaiming
Futures supporter Judge Bettina Borders,
the new approach will create a more comprehensive
and timely response.
area has a very rich history of doing collaborative
work. Reclaiming Futures is going to provide
us with technical assistance to help us
through collaboration to improve the outcomes
of drug-dependent, criminally-involved youth
rather than just locking them up,"
area leaders have been tapped to be fellows
of the program; they will exchange ideas
with fellows in the 23 sites throughout
the country and help train people in this
area. They will also be attending a meeting
in Washington, D.C.
Bristol Country Reclaiming Futures Fellows
include: Pamela Talbot, project director
with the Sheriff's Office; Judge Borders;
Karen Blanchette from Seven Hills Behavioral
Health; Deidre Lopes from H.O.P.E. Collaborative;
and Probation Officer Stella Rebeiro. Mr.
Merrigan will serve as the area coach.
application was prepared by Ana Arruda,
grant writer for the Sheriff's Office.