Reclaiming Futures

Reclaiming Futures was designed to improve the health and safety of communities by enhancing the coordination, integration, and effectiveness of substance abuse services for youth involved with the juvenile justice system.

Managed by a National Program Office located in the Graduate School of Social Work at Portland State University in Oregon, the Reclaiming Futures initiative worked in 10 communities throughout the United States:

  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • New Hampshire
  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Southeastern Kentucky
  • Marquette, Michigan
  • Rosebud, South Dakota
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Santa Cruz, California
  • Seattle, Washington

The National Evaluation of Reclaiming Futures was a 5-year effort. Researchers from the Urban Institute (in collaboration with Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago after 2005) worked with the 10 Reclaiming Futures communities and the initiative’s National Program Office to evaluate the impact of the initiative and to examine selected policy and practice issues as they emerged within each site. One of the key strategies of the initiative was to work with each site as it developed and then implemented the Reclaiming Futures Model, a performance-based guide to system improvement.

Results from the project were released beginning in 2007.


Project Staff

Jeffrey Butts, PI (2002-05)
John Roman, PI (2005-07)
Demelza Baer
Rachel Brash
Lisa Brooks
Elissa Gitlow
Jay Reid
Meghan Salas
Alyssa Whitby
Janeen Buck Willison
Jennifer Castro Yahner


$2,150,000. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Program Officers, Nancy Fishman and Elaine Cassidy


Roman, J.K, A. Sundquist, J.A. Butts, & A. Chalfin (2010). Cost-benefit analysis of Reclaiming Futures. Portland, OR: Reclaiming Futures, Portland State University.

Butts, J.A., J.K. Roman & E. Gitlow (Editors) (2009). Organizing for outcomes: Measuring the effects of Reclaiming Futures in four communities. Portland, OR: Reclaiming Futures, Portland State University.

Yahner, J. & J.A. Butts (2007). Agency relations: Social network dynamics and the RWJF Reclaiming Futures initiative. Portland, OR: Reclaiming Futures, Portland State University.

Butts, J.A. & J. Roman (2007). Changing systems: Outcomes from the RWJF initiative on juvenile justice and substance abuse. Portland, OR: Reclaiming Futures, Portland State University.

Nissen, L.B., J.A. Butts, D. Merrigan & M.K. Kraft (2006). The RWJF reclaiming futures initiative: Improving substance abuse interventions for justice-involved youth. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 57 (4): 39-51.


Butts, Jeffrey A. and John Roman (2006). Measuring system changes in Reclaiming Futures communities: National evaluation results. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.