Youth in the juvenile justice system are at higher risk for mental health disorders and substance abuse problems, but these differences in risk are often misunderstood.
The findings of the national evaluation of Reclaiming Futures suggest that the 10 communities involved in the pilot phase of the initiative did effectively change the operations of their service-delivery systems.The extent of these changes varied, but the evaluation results show that the systems for responding to justiceinvolved youth in most of the communities improved over time.The critical question for this study is about a cost-benefit threshold. If we infer the extent of individual behavior change from the size and direction of reported system change, and if we can estimate the number youth affected by such change, are the economic benefits of those changes sufficient to justify the costs of the reform initiative? ... According to this study, the answer is “yes.”