Programs and Services

Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Program

This program offers treatment and rehabilitation to delinquent substance abusing minors who have been charged with nonviolent, drug related offenses. Prosecution, supervision or probation is deferred pending successful participation in the program. Clients identified are offered the option of participating in the program. Through community-based treatment providers, minors receive substance abuse treatment, group and individual counseling, educational and vocational training, and short-term residential treatment. Minors are tested for use of controlled substances or other addictive substances during the entire period of program participation. By focusing on intervention strategies that address both the potential risk to the community and individual treatment needs of minors and their families, the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Program helps to reduce substance abuse and related crime.

Juvenile Sex Offender Program

The Juvenile Sex Offender Program completes assessments for clients between the ages of 10 and 21 who have been found delinquent or are diverted by the Assistant State's Attorney's office for committing the following offenses: sexual abuse, criminal sexual abuse, sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Art Therapy Program

Art Therapy provides treatment for delinquent and/or abused and neglected minors active with the Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department. The mission of the Art Therapy Program is to help minors develop constructive outlets for self-expression and to encourage self-awareness, self-esteem and personal growth. The Art Therapy Program provides a safe, non-verbal mode of expression for minors to explore feelings, develop self-control, heighten sensitivity towards victims and change attitudes and patterns of behavior to prevent future delinquent acts. Through a network of public and private community agencies, the Department conducts individual and group Art Therapy sessions at courthouses and community sites throughout Cook County. The sessions are conducted by trained probation specialists with advanced degrees in Art Therapy. These non-traditional probation specialists tailor Art Therapy sessions to address underlying issues affecting the individual, family or community. Minors are referred to the program by probation officers who receive a report on the minors' attendance and participation and on any developmental issues that require follow up. Art created by program participants is displayed at public exhibits as well as throughout the Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department.

Intensive Probation Services

The Intensive Probation Services (I.P.S.) Division operates community-based supervision programs as dispositional alternatives to the Department of Corrections and provides accelerated casework for minors. I.P.S. requires a three person team of probation officers who are committed to providing comprehensive services and structured supervision to high risk minors and their families within a sound framework of public safety.  In partnership with the community, I.P.S. officers promote opportunities for personal growth and change through expanded services, increased contact and elevated standards of accountability with enhanced expectations of compliance.

Multi-Systemic Therapy

Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) is offered to clients and families through community based services.  Youth are court ordered to participate in this highly structured intervention which focuses on the family and views parents as resources within the home.  MST works with the family to identify the behavior in the home and empowers the parents to independently cope with the issues.  MST therapists are available to families 24 hours a day, seven (7) days a week and carry a maximum caseload of five (5) families.  MST is involved with the families on an average of four (4) to six (6) months.

Educational Advocacy

Educational Advocacy seeks to ensure that minors county wide receive the appropriate educational services as guaranteed by federal and state law from the initial stages of their court involvement; supports the goal of reducing truancy and school related technical violations of probation; and increases parental awareness about a child’s educational rights.

Educational Advocacy provides special education support
•    Assist families in navigating the assessment and implementation process
•    Re-evaluate IEPs according to student needs, update IEPs per policy and make sure schools are implementing current IEPs
•    Make sure schools are adhering to rights provided to students with IEPs, including special regulations for discipline and enrollment
•    Assist family in deciding  whether the student is suitable for a regular or alternative program 
•    Request a change in placement based on the student’s needs (i.e. therapeutic schools, separate day school)
•    Train caregivers, social workers, and students on educational rights and responsibilities
Special Education Support Discipline
•    Work with school on disciplinary matters to address problems and maintain enrollment
•    Oversee school district’s adherence to the policy and practice of expulsion
•    Ensure that extra steps are followed when students with IEPs are disciplined 
•    Provide families with referral to free legal services (sometimes necessary for special education, re-entry & placement)
•    Confirm that students are in a suitable educational setting during and after the expulsion process

Re-entry support
•    Assist families of regular education students not attending school,  returning from detention, drug treatment, hospitalization or IDJJ
•    Assist to ensure the minor’s swift, effective return to school after release—whether that means returning to his original school or a new program
•    Ensure that schools adhere to their obligation to accept a student
•    Creatively research available programs  for students who may need additional support outside the regular school setting
•    Work with school on disciplinary matters to address problems and maintain enrollment
•    Oversee school district’s adherence to the policy and practice of expulsion
•    Provide families with referral to free legal services (sometimes necessary for special education, re-entry & placement)
•    Confirm that students are in a suitable educational setting during and after the expulsion process

An Educational Outreach PO will be assigned to this area of service (advocate PO’s may be required to assist). A daytime classroom sanctions program will be available for youth not attending an educational program due to suspension, expulsion, pending placement or self-withdrawal.  This program is designed to teach and motivate students to adopt new positive thoughts and behaviors regarding education and to help youth model skills necessary to successfully enroll and attend school on a regular basis.  Educational triage (done by either advocate or outreach officer) may be done when a youth has no clear educational options and is in need of a written educational support plan.

Project Lifeline

Requirements: Project Lifeline is a scholarship program for young men and women who have a history of involvement with the Cook County Juvenile Court. The only other requirement is that the applicant has a high school diploma or a GED. There is no age limit.

History: Project Lifeline has been in existence for 31 years. During that time, over 150 of our recipients have earned either an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree or a professional certification. Our graduates are extremely accomplished. Two have gone on to earn their PHD, one a law degree and three are currently employed as Cook County juvenile probation officers. Others have established themselves professionally in a variety of fields and a number have become entrepreneurs.  They have attended colleges and universities all over the country.

Program: Project Lifeline recipients receive up to $6,000 in financial assistance each year with a total cap of $30,000. They can also receive an additional $3,000 per year in tutoring assistance, if needed. The latter does not count against their yearly budget or lifetime limit. This assistance is over and above any traditional financial aid for which the student might be eligible.

Project Lifeline also assigns a volunteer probation officer to be the student’s coordinator/mentor. This person is available to the student at any time to assist them in overcoming the obstacles they encounter while pursuing their goal of academic success.

Application Period: The application period for Project Lifeline is from January 1st to March 31st each year. The application consists of a written essay from the applicant, two letters of recommendation and a copy of the applicant’s high school transcript or GED certificate and score sheet. If the applicant is already attending college, their college transcript will suffice.

Contact: For further information or to receive an application packet, please contact:

Tom Schneider

Cook County Dually Involved Protocol

The Cook County Dually Involved protocol has been developed to define practice for court-involved children and youth within the Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court who are also wards of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The protocol creates a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) whose purpose is to conduct a refined assessment process which takes into consideration strengths, needs and risks of the target population and their family; prepare joint recommendations for the court; develop recommended case plans; and participate in care management. This new protocol is intended to enhance public safety, reduce recidivism, provide evidence-based and cost-effective interventions, and reduce duplication of services. It also is intended to interrupt the trajectory of deeper involvement in the juvenile justice and child protection systems for the target population.

Placement Evaluation Workgroup

In July 2008, HB 291/PA 95-0642 passed and allows judges to commit youth to the Department of Children and Family Services who are under their 15th birthday at the time of sentencing. When delinquent behavior continues, stabilization services are unsuccessful and relative placement is unavailable or inappropriate, this may lead to an increase in commitments to DCFS.  The use of targeted services for parents and youth or both should help reduce the need for residential placement through DCFS. A protocol was established so that the decision and placement process is efficient and warranted.   By referring a case to the Placement Evaluation Workgroup (PEW), the goal is to ensure community safety, competency development, victim consideration, and the best interest of the minor.  The case is staffed with DCFS, Juvenile Probation, the Public Defender, State’s Attorney and any other agency involved with the case. A recommendation is given to the Judge and a decision is made. 

In the past youth have been committed to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on delinquency petitions for a variety of reasons.  These reasons may warrant removal from the parents and commitment to DCFS for placement by DCFS in a relative home, a foster home, a group home or residential treatment center.  Youth that were eligible in the past had to be committed before their 13th birthday but could remain in the DCFS system until their 21st birthday.  The main differences between these youth and the neglected/abused youth are that there does not have to be a finding of neglect, abuse or dependency on the parent nor a finding of reasonable efforts to prevent the placement. Another difference is the Juvenile Justice Judge retains jurisdiction of the case.

Gang School Safety Team

Intensive Probation Services (IPS) officers currently work with the Chicago Police Department to monitor all shootings which involve juveniles. The officers obtain the information immediately after the shooting has occurred and determine if the victim or offender is involved with the Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department. The officers obtain the police report; write a summary of the incident and forward copies to the field probation officer, supervisor, deputy chief  and director. Other useful information is also disseminated to staff such as gang conflict alerts and officer safety alerts.

Clinical Interventions Unit

Masters level probation officers provide assessments and individual therapy to clients placed on probation or supervision.  The unit also provides group counseling, anger management, trauma group therapy as well as grief group therapy. 

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