Youth, Parents, and Program Partners Celebrate Juvenile Justice Collaborative

(Chicago) – Youth who have completed services offered through the Lurie Children’s Juvenile Justice Collaborative (JJC) were lauded by parents and program partners at the JJC’s inaugural achievement celebration at TASC on November 16.

Launched in 2017 by the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the JJC is a partnership between Lurie Children’s Strengthening Chicago’s Youth (SCY), the Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC), Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY), and ten community-based service providers.

Alicia Osborne, director of operations for TASC, welcomed parents, program partners, and staff to the event, held at TASC’s Clinton Street location in Chicago. Addressing youth participants directly, she said, “To the honorees in the room… you matter, greatly, to all of us. Never, ever stop believing in yourself.”

The JJC helps young people steer their lives in a positive direction after they have been arrested for offenses such as getting in a fight at school, possessing drugs, or partaking in a theft. Through this multi-agency initiative, youth aged 12 to 18 have the opportunity to participate in comprehensive programs and services rather than be detained in the juvenile justice system. Through engagement in these programs, they learn skills such as managing emotions, developing healthy relationships, and discovering new skills and activities.

Rebecca Levin, executive director of SCY, praised participants for their achievements. “A doctor once told me, ‘People will either live up to your expectations, or people will live down to your expectations,’” she said. Recognizing the successes of the program graduates, she added, “You are proving that our expectations of you were right.”

Individuals are referred to the program by probation officers, and TASC care coordinators work with youth and their families to determine which services will be best for them, partnering with a network of organizations to offer free, individualized services and care.

“The stories that make the headlines aren’t the stories that represent the amazing things happening in this process,” said Avik Das, director of the Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department, to the program graduates. “We need to celebrate that and be champions of that. Your success keeps us going.”

“The hard work really came from you,” added Bill Pieroth, deputy chief probation officer for the Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department. “Thank you for your efforts and perseverance and staying with the program. We hope you can be role models for young people coming after you.”

A comprehensive array of partners has collaborated to support youth in their success. Along with the convening partners, JJC’s network of service providers includes Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center, BUILD, Inc., Heartland Human Care Services, Lawrence Hall, Maryville Academy, New Life Centers of Chicagoland, SGA Youth & Family Services, UCAN, Youth Guidance, and Youth Outreach Services.

Celebrating achievements of Juvenile Justice Collaborative (JJC) participants (l. to r.): Avik Das, Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department; Alicia Osborne, TASC; Rebecca Levin, Strengthening Chicago’s Youth (SCY), Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; Anthony Harden, TASC; Bill Pieroth, Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department.

Lurie Children’s Hospital Launches Pilot Program to Help Curb Youth Violence in Chicago

News release from Strengthening Chicago’s Youth at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. TASC is proud to be a partner in this initiative.

(Chicago) –  Strengthening Chicago’s Youth (SCY) at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, together with Cook County Juvenile Probation Department, TASC, the Illinois Collaboration on Youth and 10 community-based service providers, launched the Juvenile Justice Collaborative project. Up to 50 young people, ages 12 to 18, will be referred to the Collaborative to receive appropriate mental health and other services instead of spending time in the juvenile justice system.

“Everyone is asking for solutions to the city’s violence problem, and this initiative is a start,” said SCY Director Rebecca Levin, MPH. “Instead of putting these young people in detention, we want to keep them at home and give them the services that they need to get on a path to success.”

In the Juvenile Justice Collaborative, young people will be referred to a centralized intake and referral home which will assess their needs and risk level, and then be placed with the appropriate community-based provider. During the 6-month pilot program, referrals will come from probation officers. Examples of youth that could be referred include those who are arrested for car theft, drug possession or fighting. Re-arrests, school attendance and health status will be monitored and measured, and the program will be continually improved. In the future, the program could be expanded to accept referrals from other sources.

“We are pleased to support the launch of the Juvenile Justice Collaborative,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “I have long advocated for, and invested in, alternatives to detention for our young people. The Collaborative offers a coordinated approach to curbing youth violence and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”

The 10 community service providers involved are Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center; BUILD, Inc.; Heartland (Human Care Services); Lawrence Hall; Maryville Academy; New Life/Urban Life Skills; SGA Youth & Family Services; UCAN; Youth Guidance; and Youth Outreach Services.

“These are our children, and we can pave a better path for them as a team and as a community,” said Hon. Timothy C. Evans, Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, who oversees the Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department. “The partnership with Lurie Children’s Hospital, and the credibility it brings to the table as a Chicago institution, is an excellent addition to our probation department’s community-based diversion efforts. This program fits perfectly into our mission as a juvenile justice system.”

The Juvenile Justice Collaborative model is built on an extensive body of research regarding the most promising strategies to interrupt the trajectory of youth violence. As gaps in service level and location are identified, targeted youth service providers will be recruited to join the Collaborative.

“Too often our young people cycle repeatedly through the justice system without getting the help they need; this approach provides a positive alternative to place them in programs that will help set them on a path to future success in life,” said Kimberly Foxx, Cook County State’s Attorney.

The Juvenile Justice Collaborative is supported in part by the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation; Cook County Justice Advisory Council through a grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services; Michael Reese Health Trust; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois; The Crown Family; and The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund. Past support provided by Polk Bros. Foundation.