Until the end of the 19th century, youth who broke the law were treated as adults and held in facilities with adults when requiring incarceration. Once determined guilty, youth were subject to the same penalties as adults. Due to the concern over these practices, reform began and the first juvenile court was established in 1899. The Illinois Juvenile Court Act of 1899 created a separate court for neglected, abused and delinquent children under the age of 16. The focus of this change included an emphasis on rehabilitation versus punishment, records being confidential and when held in custody, youth needed to be held separate from adult offenders.
Today we continue the distinction between adult and juvenile offenders. The current philosophy resembles a restorative justice model with three main components: 1) community protection from the offender’s behavior, 2) accountability for the damage/harm as a result of the delinquent behavior, and 3) competency development so that offenders learn new skills to avoid the same delinquent thinking errors. In addition to these principals, the parents/guardians of minors are key elements for assisting in the change process for a youth. The Juvenile Court Act requires the participation and compliance of parents whose children are before the juvenile court.
Juvenile Probation/Detention Services is a Division of the Administrative Office of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, and works directly with the court regarding cases involving delinquent minors, minors requiring authoritative intervention (MRAI) and addicted minors; however, in practice the cases are almost exclusively delinquent. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services work with the court regarding neglected, abused and dependent minors; and the Regional Superintendent of Schools works with the court regarding truant minors.
The mission of the Division of Juvenile Probation and Detention Services is to support a juvenile justice system that ensures public protection from further acts of juvenile delinquency, and assists in the accountability and rehabilitative needs of youthful offenders.
The goals of the division are as follows:
- To provide a comprehensive assessment process and continuum of evidence-based interventions for youth and families referred to the division in order to reduce recidivism and increase compliance with court-ordered conditions.
- To provide a structured and secure environment for youth assigned to detention in order to assure the safety of youth and protection of the community.
- To facilitate collaboration and cooperation among juvenile justice partners in order to share information, increase professional understanding among participants, and enhance the delivery of evidence-based services for clients.
- To provide opportunities for employee development in order to enhance client/customer services, facilitate growth within the division, and improve staff competencies.
The Division is comprised of four units including an administration that oversees the individual units. These units have individual functions however they all operate under the same philosophy and mission and work together to address the risk and needs that juveniles present.
A Quick Look at the Juvenile Division
There are currently 101 dedicated employees who make up the Division of Juvenile Probation/Secure Detention Services. The organization is made up of a small administrative staff and four main units: Juvenile Intake/Home Detention, Probation, Secure Detention and the FACE-IT residential treatment program. In addition, specialized services and programs such as the Early Service Program, Victim Assistance and Restitution, Public Service, and Community Mentoring Network are also important functions of the Division.
Annually, the Division receives and processes an average of 1,800 referrals from the Lake County Sheriff and local Police agencies. Of these, approximately 800 Delinquency Petitions are filed in Juvenile Court and on average 350 new cases are placed on Probation. Additionally there are approximately 580 admissions to Secure Detention. The Home Detention program provides services for over 120 youth and families. All of our programs are designed with the protection of the community and the development of youth and families as our highest priority.
Juvenile Probation/ Detention Services Division is comprised of four primary components and supporting units – Juvenile Intake, Secure Detention, Juvenile Probation and the FACE-IT Program. Collectively they represent a continuum of services from informal diversionary level intervention, to very structured supervision in the community, to residential care and treatment. Each unit has a specific function in the juvenile court process and must interact with other state, county and community departments and agencies, and the other units of Juvenile Probation/Detention Services Division in order to fulfill the overall mission of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit.
At the very front end of the system is our Intake Unit. All business that arrives at the juvenile court comes through this unit. Juvenile Intake is responsible for a number of tasks that are essential for the day-to-day operations. Intake processes all minors who are brought into custody of Secure Detention whether it is from the community or from court. This unit also handles the computer processing of all referrals to the juvenile courts for Lake County. As a unit, Intake has specific officers who handle any interim conditions ordered by the courts as well as a caseload of minors placed on Home Confinement. These minors are not on Probation or involved in a Social Investigation. Any transportation of a minor in custody is funneled through and arranged by Intake. Intake officers are responsible for the preparation of a number of different reports, including intake custody reports and review of detention reports ordered on minors in Secure Detention. Intake also acts as a liaison to the community, as do all units of the Juvenile Justice Complex of Lake County. Intake is the unit responsible for handling any crisis calls coming from community members twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
A network of innovative and preventive-oriented services is often utilized in an effort to adjust suitable referrals outside of the formal court process. The Early Service Program works in conjunction with the Voluntary Supervision Program. The juveniles who receive services from these programs are chosen from referrals received and screened by the Intake Unit annually. This successful diversion program allows the two juvenile court judges to focus on the more serious delinquent cases, while providing families with the supervision and programs necessary to make needed changes in their lives.
This unit contributes to the department’s mission by providing secure Detention services. Juveniles who are held in custody by Intake or by the Judges represent a risk to the community in terms of further delinquency. Detention provides the most intense type of monitoring of a case than any other service provided directly by the division while also protecting the safety of the community.
While Secure Detention cannot work with the Juveniles in the community, family and community ties are maintained whenever possible. As with Home Detention, the intense contact with a youth provides unusual opportunities for assessing a case and beginning to identify its long range needs. Most juveniles placed in Secure Detention are severely out of control and this is the first step toward their regaining control. Their adjustment to this setting may help the court determine whether they are a reasonable risk to return to the community, or whether long term residential care and residential treatment must be pursued.
Juvenile Probation contributes to the departmental mission by providing investigation and supervision services, and resource development for those juveniles who are involved in the formal court process. Juvenile Probation officers provide the Court with a complete social history investigation for the majority of the juvenile cases that are pending delinquency petitions. A social investigation outlines the background and history of the juvenile and his/her family. This investigation includes specific information but is not limited to the academic, legal, medical and social service record pertaining to the juvenile. A collective recommendation from probation officers and related community service providers is submitted to the Court for the sentencing hearing.
Juvenile Probation has developed specialized caseloads in an effort to provide the most effective supervision strategies to eliminate delinquent behavior. Juvenile probation cases are assigned to either a standard probation caseload or a caseload based on identified issues and risk analysis. Caseloads are currently specialized focused in the areas of sex offenses, minimum risk and Spanish speaking clients. Other than the minimum risk case load, case plans are developed that include supervision by probation and service plans to impact identified issues related to the delinquency that brought the minor before the Juvenile Court.
For youth requiring removal from their home, juvenile offenses can result in a sentence to a residential facility for treatment. In addition, youth under the age of 15 may be committed to the Department of Children and Family Services for purposes of placement as funded by the State of Illinois as opposed to the County of Lake. The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is a sentencing option primarily used for very serious first-time offenders or unsuccessful probation clients. Juvenile sentences vary based on the crime, but they cannot be longer than an adult sentence for the same offense.
Juvenile Special Services Unit - Family and Community Engaged In Treatment (FACE-IT)
"FACE-IT" is an innovative residential treatment program for juvenile probationers, operated by the 19th Judicial Circuit and the County of Lake. It is community-based, family-focused, and is designed for delinquent youth and families. "FACE-IT" strives to help meet the basic needs of troubled youths and families in order to enable them to function productively within society, be self-sufficient, and obtain a sense of dignity and self-worth without criminal behavior.
All youths residentially placed have experienced difficulty at home, in the community and in school. They are of normal intelligence and have no serious organic, physical or emotional handicaps which would require intensive psychiatric intervention.
The treatment modality is family-focused/family-centered by utilizing structural therapy. This method is designed to provide families with the necessary tools to work together as a system to solve problems and to learn courage, responsibility and cooperation.
The length of residence is determined by need and treatment plan, although the average length of treatment is from 6 to 9 months. Program components will include behavior modification, education, physical fitness, scouting, family, individual and group therapy, religion, medical services, community service and aftercare.
In November 1995, Lake County bought the former Lutheran General facility, which included nearly 16 acres of property located along the Des Plaines River on Milwaukee Avenue in Vernon Hills. Since that time, the “Old Mansion” portion of the building has been renovated and enlarged. Just west of the original complex, a secure facility with a capacity of 48 juveniles was constructed. The adjacent portion consists of 12,000 square feet and is comprised of two main pods, each divided into three units with a maximum capacity of eight persons each. A kitchen and a dining area were included, as well as indoors/outdoors recreations areas. Four classrooms with computer labs are available for students. Classes are taught in groups no larger that 12 in order to maximize the educational experience.
| Additional Facility Features include:
- Administrative offices, two courtrooms, Probation and Public service staff offices, CASA, State’s Attorney, Public Defender, and Circuit Clerk’s offices under the same roof
- 48 Bed Secure Detention Center
- 12 Bed Residential Program
- Secure sally port for arrival and exit of youths
- Intake Unit immediately adjacent to sally port with two temporary holding rooms
- Indoor/Outdoor recreation areas including a gymnasium
- On-site maintenance crew with 24 hours emergency call capability
- Back-up emergency electrical system
- Outdoor deck/picnic area
- Campus style wooded acreage
- High and Low Rope Challenge Course
Our Innovative Programs and Services
The 19th Judicial Circuit has partnered with the College of Lake County to recruit and train volunteers for placement in all divisions of the department. Juvenile Probation/Detention Services utilizes volunteers in a variety of ways that enhances the services that are provided to youth and families. For more information regarding this program, please contact the volunteer coordinator at (847) 543-2100.
Through the Internship program, undergraduate interns are placed within the Division from a variety of schools which expose them to career opportunities and proper workplace protocol. Most importantly, they are able to add to the daily operations within all units of the division. Interns are interviewed by managers and assigned to a specific unit of interest, if available. During the internship the student would be exposed to the other units with the goal of gaining a general understanding of the overall operation. Many times, these same interns become excellent job candidates when openings occur.
Part of the Challenge Course
The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Juvenile Probation/Detention Services staff has established a challenge course program, Jr’s Challenge, to provide minors on probation and court supervision with an opportunity to develop a higher level of motivation, self-worth and confidence.
Participation in Jr’s Challenge provides important benefits to most minors. It is a form of treatment that is mandatory for all minors, except low risk offenders, and no adverse action is taken as a result of a disabled individual’s inability to participate in the course. Individuals with disabilities will be encouraged to participate and to propose reasonable accommodations that may enable them to participate in the course. The following minors are eligible to participate in Jr’s Challenge;:
- Minors sentenced to probation/supervision whose sentencing order requires completion of the Challenge Course.
- Minors sentenced to probation/supervision whose probation officer determines that participation in Jr’s Challenge is in the best interest of the minor.
- Minors sentenced to probation/supervision who participate in the Administrative Sanctions Program established by Administrative Order No. 96-4 may be required to complete the Jr’s Challenge course as an intermediate sanction.
- Minors placed on Voluntary Supervision.
Each Jr’s Challenge course session includes six to twelve participants, a lead facilitator, and an assistant facilitator. There is a low course and a high ropes course. Each course takes approximately four hours to complete. Participants must first complete the low course before completing the high ropes course. Facilitators make the final decision as to whether participants will be eligible for the high ropes course. Facilitators focus on evaluation of the group and individuals so that immediate feedback can be given and processing with the group can occur. The facilitator completes an evaluation form for each participant, which is then returned to the assigned probation officer. The evaluation areas include communication, participation, decision-making, conflict resolution, leadership, and goals. The probation officer is present during the course to encourage and support his/her clients. The probation officer is then able to help the course participants relate the difficulties and challenges that were overcome on the course with day-to-day challenges the client experiences in the course of serving the probation period. It is anticipated that clients will have learned strategy skills that will help them to be successful in areas where they have experienced difficulties in the past.
Tours for community groups, law enforcement, court officials and college classes are conducted by Divisional staff on a regular basis. These tours give a general understanding of the processes that occur within the division to service youth and families that are referred to the Juvenile Justice System.
Home detention officers provide daily supervision for minors in their own homes as an alternative to Secure Detention. It is believed that under the supervision of Home Detention the minor would not commit a new offense. In order to insure that the minor placed on Home Detention will remain delinquent-free and will appear for all scheduled court hearings, it is necessary to require the minor to remain under adult supervision at all times, unless otherwise approved by the Supervisor or the Court.
The Home Detention staff is responsible for the supervision of the minor while he/she is in the community. From the time the minor is placed on Home Detention, the following are some of the duties performed by staff that is essential to the maintenance and progress of the Home Detention program.
- Provide an orientation of the program to the minor and the youth’s family, clearly defining his/her role and the family’s role.
- Staff is available to minor on a 24 – hour basis.
- Provide and participate in recreational and other activities with the minor that will provide alternatives to delinquency.
- Maintain contact and coordinate services with various community agencies and persons involved with the minor such as school officials, probation officers, and parents.
- Participate in case staffing, reviewing status of the minor or assisting in the development of plans.
- Submit accurate reports, both written and verbal, to the court, entailing progress and/or problematic issues of the minor.
For all crimes there is damage that has been caused to the community. Victim services are offered through the Juvenile Division for informal and formal cases. The Intake Unit provides services to informal cases and the Probation Unit provides victim services on formal court cases. These services include but are not limited to: Provide initial correspondence to the victim, act as the liaison for the victim during the process and communicate with the State’s Attorney’s Office regarding any concerns between the victim and the offender.
Police referrals received by the Juvenile Intake Unit are screened and can be handled through a diversion program with States Attorney approval. This allows for a speedy due process and does not burden the juvenile court with matters that can be handled with a lesser degree of intervention. Diversion cases voluntarily sign a contract that must be followed during the time period, usually 3 to 4 months in length. If unsuccessful with the contract, the case could be referred through the formal court process.
Early Service Program
The Early Service Program is a network of innovative services that works in conjunction with the diversion program. The services offered to juveniles through this program target issues directly related to the delinquency that brought them to the juvenile justice system. Minors nor their parents are charged for the services they are providedthrough this program are provided at no cost the minor nor their family.
In-House Academics for Detention
An integral component of the detention center programming continues to be education. School is held 5 days a week, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with classes taught by certified teachers with an emphasis on the special education needs of the residents. The school program is continually evaluated and modified if deemed necessary. In 2008, some very positive changes have been implemented including more computer-based learning projects, individualized placement in math, and a more intensive “homework hour” in the evening designed to assist residents in preparing for their transition to the community. In addition, new report cards/progress reports are being prepared on a daily basis and are available for court hearings and other involved parties including parents. These reports are eventually sent to the home school districts which information about grades, behavior, and a calculation of actual credits depending on the length of stay.
Ongoing communication between the Detention Educational Program and home school districts continues to play a crucial role in the residents’ educational plans ad results in positive communication and cooperation during the period of custody and upon release. Residents are able to receive and complete their home school work from their schools of enrollment if feasible which is either obtained by their family, caseworkers/Probation Officers and sometimes school personnel themselves.
Educational staff members have attended several continuing education workshops and credit classes to meet their certification requirements, keep current in their field and to interact with their peers in the community. The Lake County Regional Office of Education (R.O.E.) and local school districts, Lincolnshire Prairie-view Grade School and Stevenson High School, continue to play an important role in the education program by assisting with training, networking, and funding.
The Detention Center continues to benefit from the services of and great relationship with the Vernon Area Public Library. Library staff conduct a bi-weekly book club (partially funded by Oprah Winfrey’s “Angel Network”) with the residents as part of the educational program in which they introduce, read and discuss new books together. The library has also assisted in obtaining 2 grants for the Detention Center and FACE-IT residential program during 2008 which will be used for the purchase of new books in the near future.
New and “gently used” books have also been added to the in-house library through community donations
Spiritual Education Services
Religious programming is offered on a voluntary basis and is available to any youth who wishes to participate. The Detention Center currently has four groups that provide non-denominational services that come into the center to listen, talk, or pray with youth at their request. This is especially helpful to those youth who are experiencing challenges in their lives resulting in their custody or other issues involving family, school, and relationships. Both individual sessions as well as groups are offered. This year spiritual singing was added by one group which many residents and staff actively participate and enjoy.
Gender Specific Services
Detention Counselors along with interns facilitate teen-oriented groups on a weekly basis covering topics such as sexuality, domestic abuse, hygiene, and family issues. This program has been focused on girls in the past and incorporated into the agency’s overall plan for gender-specific services, which includes weekly groups for female probationers in the community facilitated by designated staff who are trained and involved in local and statewide programming.
Detention Center staff and interns continue to facilitate life-skills co-ed groups with residents during the morning and evening shifts. Topics are developed to assist the currently detained youth with problems they are experiencing or with a general theme that everyone can benefit from in their quest to become successful and productive citizens. These topics include goal setting, problem solving, job seeking and interviewing skills, anger management techniques, and career decision-making skills. Many staff have also been trained this year in the “Thinking for a Change” cognitive learning program as well as “Motivational Interviewing” which are both evidenced bases practices which assists greatly in designing effective and improved programming for the detention residents.
Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI)
The Juvenile Division continues to be a state site for programming and the Detention Center actively promotes the philosophy of the initiative whose object is to prevent the inappropriate and unnecessary detention of youth while at the same time improving public safety and saving taxpayer dollars.
Mental Health Services
The use of Master’s level and Doctoral student interns, mental health services continue to be strong adjunct to the Detention Center programming at minimal cost to the taxpayers. Mental health services include groups, individual and family therapy sessions in the detention center as well as the residential program. In addition, crisis prevention and intervention as well as diagnostic services are provided which includes psychological testing. Mental health screening continues to be conducted during admission to assess the need for services of the minors being admitted to detention. If deemed eligible, mental health counseling is provided to residents and followed up in the community with intensive family services as needed. In addition, drug/alcohol, psychiatric, anger-management and other types of assessments are also available.
Physical Education and Wellness
The physical education program continues to be a favorite and beneficial part of Detention Center programming. The physical fitness aspect of the program stresses stretching and aerobic exercises. In addition, the individual skills related to specific sports that are requisite for successful participation in community school and club programs are taught and practiced. Team building is a focus and residents are offered various activities that promote positive peer relationships. These skills are taught and used as a transition to the Juvenile Division’s Junior’s Challenge team building and ropes course in which all youth on probation participate.
Donations of equipment and services have continued to provide many fitness options for the P.E. program. Residents have the opportunity to participate in bi-monthly yoga classes taught by a community volunteer who is a certified instructor. This continues to be a very popular activity and seems to contribute to a calmer atmosphere and decreased stress level resulting in an overall healthier environment.
Wellness programming has gradually been added in several areas of the Detention Center including health classes, physical education and the nutrition/food services. Information and workshops have been provided by the Illinois State Board of Education, and local health department for employees to be better able to serve the needs of the residents.
In addition to the specialized services listed above, volunteers and undergraduate student interns are another valuable resource utilized by the Detention Center and Juvenile Division as a whole. The Judicial Education staff of the College of Lake County assists with the recruitment of community volunteers and court staff attend career fairs across the state. Training is done in-house by Juvenile Division managers. Interns are placed within the Detention Center and other units from a variety of schools which expose them to career opportunities and proper workplace protocol. Most importantly, they are able to add to the daily programming offered by providing tutoring, extra attention and supervision to the residents that they may be lacking in the community. Many times, these same interns become excellent job candidates when openings occur.
Adoption cases are heard in the Lake County Juvenile Court. Juvenile Probation/Detention Services is responsible for administratively processing all adoption cases filed in Lake County, including assignment of Guardian Ad Litems, notification to investigative agencies, and all related recordkeeping. In private adoption cases where no other agency is involved, Probation Officers conduct adoption investigations as required by statute. These investigations include background information on the adoptive petitioners through home visits, record checks, and contacts with employers, physicians, and other references. Probation Officers then prepare investigative reports to the Court regarding the suitability of the petitioners to adopt.
Unifified Deliquency Interventions
The Unified Delinquency Intervention Services (UDIS) program was established in 1999. This program is a partnership between the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit and Kids Hope United. In 2008, this program serviced 26 youth and their families. The program provides intensive services (up to 10 hours per week per youth) that include individual, family, and group counseling, mentoring services, substance abuse education, anger management (Anger Replacement Training), and corrective thinking (Tru Thought Programming). Anger Replacement Training and Tru Thought Programming are considered “Best Practice”. There is a strong emphasis on education. Female group services were also utilized. Thus far, the program has provided the Juvenile Court with a viable alternative for youth in an effort to curb further delinquent behavior. UDIS programming also creates community service projects for youth having trouble in the program so the caseworker can help the youth process his/her behavior. UDIS programming has assisted youth in seeking employment and enhancing life skills.
Mental Health Services
The Lake County Health Department offers another program benefiting delinquent youth through a Department of Human Services grant. This effort, the Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Initiative (MHJJI) identifies community services for youth diagnosed with mental illness who are released from juvenile detention centers. Whenever a minor in detention is identified as possibly being mentally ill, a clinician from the Lake County Health Department is available to assess the child. If a minor has a major mental illness, the clinician works to identify appropriate community services including mental health, medication, substance abuse, special education, and public health services. The clinician identifies funding sources and works with Juvenile Probation/Detention Services to implement an approved plan. For calendar year 2013, 51 youth received services through this program. Services provided to the youth included psychiatric, individual therapy, family therapy, groups such as girls group, anger management, expressive art therapy, parenting classes both in English and Spanish, and mentoring.
Lake County Juvenile Probation has teamed up with the Lake County Probation Volunteer Program in the development and implementation of the Orientation Group. The Orientation Group was developed to focus on new cases placed on either Court Supervision or Probation and educate them on the expectations for being involved in the Juvenile Court. Juvenile probation officers in conjunction with trained volunteers facilitate the group every four to six weeks. A variety of topics are presented including the Restorative Justice Philosophy, expectations of the parents, juveniles, and Probation Officers, communication, and the team approach, to name a few. During the group there is a break-out session where the parents and juveniles are separated. The parents focus on communication with their child/children, providing necessary supervision, and the team approach. The juveniles focus on who has been impacted by their crime, how to repair the damage that has been caused, and motivation to make positive changes. By providing this group on the front end of the juvenile’s Court Supervision or Probation allows for consistency throughout the entire Court process. In addition, open lines of communication are being enhanced with the juveniles, their parents, and the Probation Department. Lastly, the Orientation Group has given the juveniles and their parents a clear picture of the Lake County Juvenile Court System and has provided them with a support system to assist them throughout the Court process. The group is offered in English and Spanish.
The Victim Assistance and Restitution Program (VARP) works with victims of delinquency that are involved in the formal court process. VARP officers establish a process whereby offenders will be held accountable for their behaviors, as well as make amends directly to the community and the individuals they violate. VARP officers provide the following services to victims:
- Determine, with information from the victim, a fair dollar value of the victim’s out-of-pocket loss for tangible losses (stolen or damaged property, medical treatment, etc.) and recommend restitution orders to the juvenile court.
- Make referrals to resources/agencies that can effectively respond to victim issues.
- Refer victims of violent crime to the Illinois Crime Victim Compensation Fund via the Attorney General’s Office.
- Monitor payment of restitution by juvenile offenders and their parents.
- Refer victims to the State’s Attorney’s Office Victim Assistance Counselor for an explanation of procedures of the juvenile justice system and questions regarding the process.
- Assist victims with the return of their recovered, stolen property.
- Conduct victim-offender meetings for the purpose of in-person apologies.
- Facilitate victim panels.
Cooperative efforts between Courts and the Communities
A partnership between the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit’s Juvenile Division and the City of North Chicago was formed in 2006 to address juvenile crime in North Chicago. The pilot program has brought a number of local leaders together to meet and discuss what can be done to handle the increasing number of juvenile delinquent problems in this community. To date, 94 families have been involved in the program. The program involves working together with all juveniles currently on probation in North Chicago, their parents, the schools, churches, courts, the city and police. The program has youth participate in a community project that have included cleanup of vacant properties, working at PADS and soup kitchens, assist with “Meals on Wheels” through Catholic Charities and removal of graffiti on buildings. These projects promote youth giving back to their community and enables youth of the community to be seen in a positive light. In addition to special projects, youth have been afforded opportunities to attend social events such as College tours at Carthage College, the College of Lake County, Shed Aquarium, White Sox game, Chicago Bear’s game, and Sled Dog Show.
The family focus group is a 10-week curriculum designed for youth and parents facilitated by probation staff, Psychological Services staff, community members, schools, and police. All sessions are held within the community and rely heavily on service to the community, activities, school attendance and employment. The family focused group consists of ten sessions plus 4 aftercare sessions. Parents and youth attend separate skill-building sessions for the first hour and spend the second hour together in discussions and/or activities. The group is designed for 10 to 14 families and is held at a community based site (school, church, or youth center). At least two rooms are needed for each session. Three facilitators are needed for each session. All of the facilitators offer assistance to families and model appropriate skills during the family sessions. Parent and youth sessions contain parallel content. For example, while the parents are learning how to use consequences when the youth breaks rules, youth are learning about the importance of following rules. In the session that follows, youth and parents practice problem solving as a family for situations when rules are broken.
Juvenile Probation Officers provide the court with a complete social history investigation on most cases. A social history outlines the background and history of the juvenile and his/her family. This investigation involves staff and community service providers who meet to formulate recommendations for the judge at the sentencing hearing. The recommendations from the Probation Officer are based on Restorative Justice Principals which focus on community protection, accountability, and competency development.
The Juvenile Court utilizes Public Service as an accountability measure for youth who commit crime or are in violation of their probation conditions. The number of hours assigned to a particular case is in correlation to the delinquent offense or violation. The branch courts also order public service for youth who appear for ordinance violations. Youth complete their hours in the community at local churches, schools, municipalities, soup kitchens, and other not-for-profit agencies.
Community Mentoring Network
The Community Mentoring Network, a community-based detention alternative originally funded by the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission and the Annie E. Casey foundation, started operation in March 2001 with the hiring of two part-time mentors. The intent of the program is twofold:
- To identify issues and remove obstacles contributing to truancy problems.
- To eliminate the use of secure detention for youth who are truant.
The community mentor works closely with the probation officer if the minor is involved in the juvenile court otherwise they act as the caseworker for the court when the referral issue is related only to truancy.
Juvenile Probation has developed specialized caseloads in an effort to provide the most effective supervision strategies to eliminate delinquent behavior. Juvenile probation cases are assigned to either a standard probation caseload or a caseload based on identified issues and risk analysis. Specialized caseloads are currently focused in the areas of sex offenses, medium to high risk, and minimum risk and Spanish speaking clients.
Sex Offender Caseload
A sex offender caseload was developed to provide the community with the safe and effective monitoring of these serious juvenile offenders. The probation officer receives ongoing specialized training with regard to the changing laws specific to sex offenders and the treatment modalities necessary to assure that the most effective rehabilitation efforts are being provided. In addition to general court orders, this probation officer monitors compliance with sex offender treatment, monitors the timely registration required of these offenders as well as the genetic marker testing (DNA) and the testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STD/HIV). This probation officer meets monthly with the service provider of treatment to assure that the minor and parents are in compliance with the service plan.
Gender Specific Services
The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Juvenile Probation/Detention Services has developed a system of care to address the individual competencies and needs of delinquent girls from arrest through the sentencing process. Guidance In Real Life Situations (G.I.R.L.S.) is a program that consists of a network of people who have a special interest in creating a unique experience for female offenders. The goals of accountability and community safety are met through the use of community agencies and volunteers who focus on families as well as the girls’ individual strengths. An ongoing, collaborative effort has been established between all members of the juvenile justice system and the community to provide consistent intervention and mentoring with regard to the gender specific needs of girls.
A large component of the G.I.R.L.S. Group is the “Girls Moving On…” curriculum. This is a twenty-five week cognitive thinking and evidence based practice that was established with a grant provided through the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts (AOIC). The goal of the program is to assist in the development of personal and social resources to mediate the impact of risk for future criminal behavior. The program is based on gender specific theory and research. The program incorporates motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral methods to enhance motivation and provide girls with new skills and personal resources.
The Youthful Offender Job Readiness Program
The Youthful Offender Job Readiness Program is a grant funded program designed to provide juvenile offenders between the ages of 15 and 19 with job skills, valuable work experience, and real world responsibilities. Minors are referred to the Job Group by their assigned Probation Officer and begin an eight-week curriculum covering topics such as searching for jobs to creating a resume. Mock interviews are also scheduled for the youth to develop a comfort level for interviewing and to learn what is expected during the interview process. Upon successful completion of the curriculum, minors are eligible to be placed at one of the community job sites that partner with the program. Minors are then temporarily employed through the Job Group Program for which they receive wages from the grant for the hours worked. In some cases minors have been hired by the job site as a full time employee or have obtained employment elsewhere. Case management services are provided to the minor and employer during the time of employment to assist the minor with any difficulties they experience while employed. Through the collaboration of the 19th Judicial Circuit staff and local employers, minors involved with the Juvenile Court are able to gain a positive work experience and develop a supportive resource for a reference for future employment.
Annual Girl Wise Conference
|The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit and the Lake County Juvenile Justice Council continued to partner with agencies in the community to present the Annual Girl Wise Conference. The planning committee of this conference includes representatives from Juvenile/Probation Services, State’s Attorney’s Office, NICASA, Omni Youth Services, Regional Office of Education, the College of Lake County, and females in the community. All funding used for this conference is acquired through donations from various agencies in the community, as well as personal donations from representatives of the committee. The conference offers junior high and high school females an opportunity to attend workshops that promote creativity, healthy bodies, healthy minds, and taking charge of their lives.
Residents are given the opportunity to acquire part-time employment at local business establishments while in the FACE-IT Program. All FACE-IT residents age 16 years and older, are enrolled in the Job Training Program. The job skill training provides residents with the basic skills for seeking and maintaining gainful employment. Residents who complete the Job Training and attain at least Level 3 within the FACE-IT program are eligible for employment. Special eligibility considerations for residents below Level 3 are granted with the approval of the Assistant Director.
All residents take part in a four-session job-training workshop, facilitated by a designated staff member. This workshop teaches basic job seeking skills such as completing applications, follow-up calls, interviewing, appropriate behavior / attire, etc. The Job Training Program allows FACE-IT to form partnerships with local businesses as an employment resource for qualified residents. Independent sourcing of employment by eligible residents is supported.
For the past five years, the FACE-IT Program has long enjoyed a strong working relationship with the Lincolnshire Garden Club. Together, a project known as the Victory Garden has come into existence. This creation represents for youths a personal “victory over” criminality, indifference, sloth, anger, deceit, intolerance, violence, hatred, destructiveness, abusiveness and divisiveness; and a celebration for each boy in a “victory for” love, beauty, honor, respect, charity, confidence, belief, penitence, responsibility and cooperation.
Members of the club visit with the residents on a weekly basis to continue the development of the garden. This activity is incorporated into the Science program and residents are given high school credits.
COG Group (Thinking For A Change)
Since January 2002, the Lake County Adult Probation Department has been offering Cognitive Outreach Groups (COG), which is firmly based on the National Institute of Corrections Thinking for a Change Program. Thinking for a Change is an integrated, cognitive behavior change program for offenders. The program includes cognitive restructuring, social skills development, and development of problem solving skills. Thinking for a Change is designed for delivery in small group settings over 22 basic 1-day lessons, with the capacity for unlimited continuing sessions that meet the particular needs of each group of residents. The curriculum was developed in the late 1990s by Barry Glick, Ph.D., Jack Bush, Ph.D., and Juliana Taymans, Ph.D., in cooperation with the National Institute of Corrections (NIC).
In May of 2008, Facilitators, Jeff Ross and Frank Morelli trained approximately 30 people on COG over the course of three days (5/21/08-5/23/08). In attendance from the Juvenile Probation/Detention Services were Dr. Michael Fletcher, Ms. Maria Cisneros, Dr. Tracy Halsema, Mr. Robert Lee, and Mr. Jeremiah Scott. After several meetings, planning and preparation, the team began the Thinking for a Change program on July 9, 2008. This first group consisted of eleven residents.
The concept of the program is based on the belief that our thinking controls our behaviors, therefore by taking control of our thinking we can take control of behavior and subsequently change our lives. The goals in implementing the program are to: increase the number of clients who successfully complete probation, reduce recidivism and improve clients’ abilities to take control and responsibility of their thoughts, behaviors and lives. The three main components of the COG Program are Social Skills, Cognitive Self-Change and Problem Solving. Groups consist of 10-12 residents and 1 to 3 facilitators who meet twice a week for a total of 22 lessons. Each lesson lasts an average of 1-½ hours. It is an interactive program, which requires members to share personal experiences, provide feedback and to participate in role-playing exercises. Group members are also given written assignments at the end of each lesson that they are required to present to the group the following week.
Reading Club - Read For Life
In the summer of 2006, Oprah’s Angel Network awarded a grant to The Vernon Area Public Library. This grant fostered a new partnership with the 19th Judicial Circuit’s FACE-IT residents program and as a result incorporating FACE-IT as members of the Great Stories Club. The FACE-IT residents are provided with their own copy of three different novels on the topic of teen challenges. The books were Stuck in Neutral, by Terry Trueman, The First Part Last, by Angela Johnson, and Born Blue, by Han Nolan. After reading the books, the residents were led in three separate discussions hosted by librarians from the Vernon Area Public Library. These open book intellectual discussions served as a catalyst towards literature appreciation.
This introduction to a reading challenge taught program residents, that the motivation to read can significantly contribute to the moral, spiritual, emotional and intellectual development of the young men for whom this program has become responsible. The librarians did a superb job of eliciting from the young men their insight, appreciations, concerns, conflicts, and resolutions. As the project approached the end, it was believed to have been too brief. This project needed to be continued. The Vernon Area Public Library and FACE-IT proposed the idea of extending the Great Stories Club; "READ FOR LIFE." Books continued to be provided, and discussions held. These books are then given to residents to add to their own personal libraries. In addition, audio books were provided to go along with the reading materials to assist those residents who struggle with reading, in an attempt to increase participation. Character development and problem solving are the basis of the required readings. All residents, regardless of reading level, are involved. “READ FOR LIFE” is extended to anyone in the 19th Judicial Circuit who would like to experience one of these discussions.
As result of the success of “READ FOR LIFE” within the FACE-IT program, services are now offered to youth in the detention center.
Aggression Replacement Training (ART)
Aggression Replacement Training® (ART®) is a multimodal psycho-educational intervention designed to alter the behavior of chronically aggressive adolescents and young children. The goal of ART® is to improve social skill competence, anger control, and moral reasoning. The program incorporates three specific interventions: skill-streaming, anger-control training, and training in moral reasoning. Skill-streaming uses modeling, role-playing, performance feedback, and transfer training to teach pro-social skills. In anger-control training, participating youths must bring to each session one or more descriptions of recent anger-arousing experiences (hassles). Over the duration of the program youths are trained in how to respond to their hassles. Training in moral reasoning is designed to enhance youths’ sense of fairness and justice regarding the needs and rights of others and to train youths to imagine the perspectives of others when they confront various moral problem situations.
Aggression Replacement Training® (ART®) began in FACE-IT on April 20, 2009 with twelve residents. The program consists of a 15-week, 30-hour intervention administered to groups of 8 to 12 juvenile offenders twice weekly. The 15-week sequence is the “core” curriculum, although the ART® curriculum has been offered in a variety of lengths to meet individual and group needs.
The Seven Challenges
The Seven Challenges® Group began in FACE-IT on April 3, 2008, with six (6) participating residents. The group is ongoing and is facilitated by Carlos Rodriguez, Coordinator of Substance Abuse Service with OMNI Youth Services. The Seven Challenges® Program is designed specifically for adolescents with drug problems, to motivate a decision and commitment to change - and to support success in implementing the desired changes. The Program simultaneously helps young people address their drug problems as well as their co-occurring life skill deficits, situational problems, and psychological problems. The challenges provide a framework for helping youth think through their own decisions about their lives and their use of alcohol and other drugs. Counselors using The Seven Challenges Program teach youth to identify and work on the issues most relevant to them. In sessions, as youth discuss the issues that matter most, counselors seamlessly integrate the Challenges as part of the conversation.