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City Council hears about Reclaiming Futures program

By Mark Wineka
mwineka@salisburypost.com
Rowan County, through its Juvenile Drug Treatment Court, has received a two-year, $270,000 grant package that will establish a national model to help teens struggling with alcohol, drugs and crime.
The program will be known as Reclaiming Futures Rowan County.
Rowan is one of six communities in the state to receive the grant.
“We are honored and excited to be a part of this national learning collaborative and look forward to improving outcomes for our alcohol- and drug-involved youth,” District Court Judge Beth Dixon said in a prepared statement.
Dixon also spoke about the program Tuesday with Salisbury City Council.
Dixon is the presiding judge in Rowan County’s Juvenile Drug Treatment Court and the “judicial fellow” for Reclaiming Futures Rowan County. She helped to write the application leading to the grant’s award.
There will be four other “fellows” covering justice, treatment, the community and a project director.
Donna Thomas will serve as the project director.
“This is a community project, not just a court project,” Dixon told council.
She said the program involves six steps: screening, assessment, service agency coordination, initiation of services, keeping the targeted teens engaged and completion of a service plan.
A community meeting about the program is scheduled for Dec. 16 when the Reclaiming Futures national coach will be a guest.
For North Carolina, funding is coming from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ($360,000) and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust ($1.44 million). The national office of Reclaiming Futures is located at Portland State University in Oregon.
Over two years, each of the N.C. sites will receive $180,000 in technical assistance and a $90,000 grant to hire a part-time project director. The projects run through October 2010.
An independent evaluation by the Urban Institute and the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall Center for Children said the program model is working.
Pilot programs (there were 10 nationwide) showed significant improvements in juvenile justice and drug and alcohol treatment, according to the report.
It also indicated “positive change in the way juvenile justice and substance abuse agencies communicate and cooperate to serve youth and families.”
Mayor Susan Kluttz praised the efforts by Dixon and the program overall, describing how it fits in with the community’s efforts to provide positive youth initiatives.

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