Juvenile Justice Resources

Illinois Resources

Justice Divided is “An educational tool and resource repository meant to promote awareness of disproportionate minority contact (DMC), or the overrepresentation of black youth in the juvenile justice system.”  Use this tool to access: the most current, available DMC data in Illinois, community-centered resources for young people in Chicago, and tools for how everyone can take action to address racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system.

Justice Divided was created by DataMade in partnership with the Illinois Justice ProjectAdler University and Project Nia.

Formed out of the Illinois Models for Change Initiative, the Research and Information Consortium has prepared a series of briefing documents highlighting key programs or components of the state’s juvenile justice system. These briefing documents are intended to inform and assist researchers, policy makers and practitioners.

Redeploy Illinois is a program designed to provide services to youth between the ages of 13 and 18 who are at high risk of commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice. Counties use this programming to link youth to a wide array of needed services and supports within the community, as determined through an individualized needs assessment. Services are provided in the least restrictive manner possible, and can include case management, court advocacy, education assistance, counseling and crisis intervention.

National Resources

Youth Focused Policing (YFP) is a proactive strategy to enable police to intervene with youth to reduce delinquency, crime, victimization, long-term health and criminal justice costs and prolonged involvement in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. This website contains information and resources to assist law enforcement in delivering YFP within their communities through the development and improvement of youth programs.

Juveniles for Justice, one of Juvenile Law Center’s youth engagement programs, provides opportunities for youth who have been involved in the juvenile justice system to assess the system’s strengths and weaknesses and then develop and implement advocacy projects to improve the system.  Navigating the juvenile court process is challenging.  To address this issue, Juveniles for Justice Youth Advocates have created a guide to navigating the juvenile court process: “Youth Guide to the Juvenile Court System: An Information and Advocacy Guide.”

Funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Models for Change collaborates with selected states, including Illinois, to advance juvenile justice reforms that effectively hold young people accountable for their actions, provide for their rehabilitation, protect them from harm, increase their life chances, and manage the risk they pose to themselves and to public safety. Models for Change focuses on the following issues:

  • Aftercare
  • Racial and ethnic fairness
  • Mental health
  • Community-based alternatives
  • Right-sizing jurisdiction
  • Evidence-based practices
  • Juvenile indigent defense

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) focuses on the juvenile detention component of the juvenile justice system because youth are often unnecessarily or inappropriately detained at great expense, with long-lasting negative consequences for both public safety and youth development. JDAI promotes changes to policies, practices, and programs to:

  • reduce reliance on secure confinement;
  • improve public safety;
  • reduce racial disparities and bias;
  • save taxpayers’ dollars; and
  • stimulate overall juvenile justice reforms

Reclaiming Futures helps young people in trouble with drugs, alcohol, and crime. In 2001, with a $21 million investment from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 10 founding communities located throughout the United States began reinventing the way police, courts, detention facilities, treatment providers, and the community work together to meet this urgent need.

CJJ is a nationwide coalition of State Advisory Groups, including the Commission, and allies dedicated to preventing children and youth from becoming involved in the courts and upholding the highest standards of care when youth are charged with wrongdoing and enter the justice system. CJJ’s work includes:

  • Promoting evidence-informed policies and practices in delinquency reduction and prevention.
  • Educating the public and advising government on urgent state and local issues and needs in federal juvenile justice policy.
  • Assisting the states to meet the core requirements of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.
  • Instituting juvenile justice system reforms to improve racial/ethnic fairness, as well as accessibility and overall quality of community and court-based policies and practices.
  • Linking national, state and local advocates and organizations together, across many disciplines and circumstances, to pursue a common mission.

The NCJFCJ is one of the largest and oldest judicial membership organizations in the nation. Also known as the Council, we serve an estimated 30,000 professionals in the juvenile and family justice system including judges, referees, commissioners, court masters and administrators, social and mental health workers, police, and probation officers. For those involved with juvenile, family, and domestic violence cases, the Council provides the resources, knowledge and training to improve the lives of families and children seeking justice.

Evidence Based Practices

The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange’s section titled Evidence-Based Practices is a great resource. The section features administrative, legislative, litigious, and treatment strategies for systems workers, nonprofit administrators, and activists to implement in their organizations and localities. This includes the topics of diversion, protecting the rights of youth, standardized screening and assessment tools, mental health programs, substance abuse programs, and family engagement. Its easy to use format makes getting information on evidence-based practices easy and accessible

The Model Programs Guide (MPG) is designed to assist practitioners and communities in implementing evidence-based prevention and intervention programs that can make a difference in the lives of children and communities. The MPG database of over 200 evidence-based programs covers the entire continuum of youth services from prevention through sanctions to reentry. The MPG can be used to assist juvenile justice practitioners, administrators, and researchers to enhance accountability, ensure public safety, and reduce recidivism. The MPG is an easy-to-use tool that offers a database of scientifically-proven programs that address a range of issues, including substance abuse, mental health, and education programs.

The Blueprints for Violence Prevention mission is to identify truly outstanding violence and drug prevention programs that meet a high scientific standard of effectiveness. In doing so, Blueprints serves as a resource for governments, foundations, businesses, and other organizations trying to make informed judgments about their investments in violence and drug prevention programs.

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) is a searchable online registry of mental health and substance abuse interventions that have been reviewed and rated by independent reviewers. The purpose of this registry is to assist the public in identifying scientifically based approaches to preventing and treating mental and/or substance use disorders that can be readily disseminated to the field.

Juvenile Justice News and Communication Resources

The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) is the only publication covering juvenile justice and related issues nationally on a consistent, daily basis. Focused not just on delivering information, but rather on an “exchange” of ideas, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange fosters a community of support around the issues facing the youth of our country. Members are made up of people like yourself who are interested in doing what is best for at-risk kids, along with industry professionals who work with children on a daily basis and citizens of Georgia and around the United States.

Washington is 1 of 8 states with open juvenile records policies, and 1 of 3 states that sells this information to private companies making it impossible to fully remove. Public access to youth records information often severely impacts access to employment, housing, and education (for the young people that need access most). This 30 minute documentary was created to fill the gaps in public awareness about this critical issue. Help us spread the word!

A sea change is underway in our nation’s approach to dealing with young people who get in trouble with the law. This infographic was created to show the rampant decline of youth confinement in the United States.

Guides to the Juvenile Justice System

These guides can assist parents, youth, and professionals in understanding and navigating the juvenile justice system.

Models for Change

Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority

Chicago Youth Justice Data Project

Western Illinois University