Close up of a juvenile male wearing handcuffs


Illinois is at a pivotal point. The state is benefiting from decreasing rates of arrest, detention and incarceration while also experiencing deep cuts to the very community-based services which might prevent youth from entering the juvenile justice system. At the same time, Illinois has developed strong juvenile justice leadership and innovative practice models from Redeploy Illinois and the Illinois Models for Change Initiative.

In light of these needs and opportunities, the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission has prioritized those activities, funding strategies and communications efforts with the highest potential for long-term systemic improvement. The following areas have been prioritized based on their potential to impact and restructure the functioning of the entire juvenile justice system in Illinois and their potential to impact the lives of youth. The Commission will continue to focus on supporting strategies that reduce confinement through systemic change like restructuring aftercare, providing community alternative and reducing the penetration of minority youth, and focusing on special populations of youth that represent significant percentages of youth in State custody.

  • Illinois maintains full compliance with the core requirements of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act both to ensure continued access to federal funding and to ensure application of humane and effective practices with youth in contact with the juvenile justice system;
  • Youth do not enter or penetrate the state’s juvenile justice system unnecessarily, particularly due to unaddressed family, education, mental health, substance abuse, trauma, racial or ethnic disparities or other needs;
  • Youth who do enter the juvenile justice system receive developmentally appropriate, individualized support and services that foster appropriate accountability while building strengths and creating positive opportunities; and
  • Youth leave the juvenile justice system with positive outcomes which in turn enhance public safety.
  • Identifying and documenting key factors effecting the performance of the Illinois Juvenile Justice System, with particular focus on:
  • Youth outcomes;
    • Managing risks to public safety posed by delinquency; and
    • Cost efficacy of juvenile justice interventions and effective use of resources.
  • Supporting, demonstrating and documenting the impact of evidence based and / or “promising practices” on juvenile justice system performance;
  • Performing monitoring and compliance functions pursuant to the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act;
  • Providing analysis, information and recommendations to policy makers, practitioners and the public to encourage adoption of policy and practice which can improve system performance; and
  • Collaborating with stakeholders within and beyond the boundaries of the Illinois juvenile justice system to prevent or reduce delinquency, prevent unnecessary juvenile justice system involvement, ensure effective services and support to young people in the juvenile justice system and ensure that youth and families leave the juvenile justice system with opportunities for positive outcomes.

Commission grants are awarded through a competitive application process.