U.S. Department of Justice awards grant to Circuit Court of Cook County for Youth Detention Alternatives

Announcement, Press Release |

The Circuit Court of Cook County is the recipient of a $450,000 federal grant to assist in creating alternatives to youth detention. The grant, funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), will help with the construction and operation of assessment centers and “Community Centers of Care.”

“I would like to thank the OJJDP for recognizing the work of our office and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center staff in the awarding of this grant,” said Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans. “With this assistance, the JTDC will continue to make any necessary changes to enhance the well-being of the juveniles in our care.”

The facilities would be an alternative to the current, single Juvenile Temporary Detention Center at 1100 S. Hamilton Ave. In addition to the construction and operation of the facilities, the grant will help fund the implementation of a multi-agency planning and governance structure, inclusive of young people, families and those overseeing the design and implementation activities. Once that structure is in place, officials will host a series of community forums to learn and assess the needs of the impacted communities.

Assessment centers are single points of contact to identify underlying issues contributing to a young person’s behavior. Staff will partner with the accused youth and families to access individualized services and resources. In addition, Cook County intends to build on the Juvenile Probation Department’s current continuum of care model to create Community Centers of Care as alternatives to incarceration at the JTDC.

The planned youth detention alternatives are part of a series of improvements in youth detention recommended by the Circuit Court of Cook County Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC), convened by Chief Judge Evans in 2021.

Following the BRC’s report, Chief Judge Evans formed an Implementation Committee to carry out the report’s recommendations. This also has included removing JTDC residents from unnecessary isolation and finding ways to further implement trauma-informed care for youth that improves their rehabilitation and re-entry capabilities. 

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