Thanks to those working to help teens

On Friday, our community’s Reclaiming Futures initiative hosted a one-day conference at New Life Center in Everett, “Systems 101.” In the wake of years of budget and staffing cuts and doing more with less when it comes to serving our teens, over 100 members of our community, from teachers to Judges, treatment professionals to volunteer mentors, made the time in their already busy schedules to come together to: Learn (from each other), collaborate, build cohesiveness amongst our educational, health, juvenile justice, DCFS, treatment, and youth placement programs, be inspired, and receive a call to action. What is that call? That every adult, every Snohomish County citizen can play a part in reclaiming our youth from the cycle of substance abuse, mental health issues and crime by getting involved with Reclaiming Futures.

They were asked to imagine an integrated system of care in our community for our kids, where kids and families do not have to tell their story over and over in various bureaucratic agencies. To imagine if every one of our kids in juvenile justice had a caring adult. To imagine that our vision for our kids is not out of reach if we all get involved and work together in our systems to support each other to make our respective agencies more efficient on behalf of the people we serve. We heard the “how to make this happen” from Diana Gale, Ph.d from the University of Washington.

We have an abundant community in Snohomish County, despite our budgetary constraints — there are many resources and so many caring, passionate, talented, committed adults who share the vision for our kids and community, and give of themselves far beyond the call of duty. I want to thank Drew Barnart and his staff for allowing us to host this event at New Life Center in Everett, Michele Rastovich who has played an integral role in making Snohomish County a better place for kids and families for decades for organizing this event, the presenters, Judges Weiss and Dingledy and all of the Reclaiming Futures Fellows, but most importantly, everyone who attended the conference. You are making a difference in this community and you are needed! Next year, we hope to double our attendance.

Kathy Haggerty, Reclaiming Futures Project Director

Snohomish County Superior Court

Everett

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