Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago received a $12 million gift from an anonymous donor to support the hospital’s Healthy Communities
program in its efforts to address child abuse, unmet mental health needs, and violence and its effects on youth. These are three of the eight priority areas identified in Lurie Children’s latest Community Health Needs Assessment
Breanna Hollie, LCSW, a care coordinator for TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, Inc.), closely follows the young people she refers for services through the Juvenile Justice Collaborative.
When her best friend was killed last year, Victoria began a downward spiral. Her childhood had already been marked by her family’s financial instability, frequent relocations and violence at home.
After she got into a fight with another teen, Victoria was arrested, and faced the possibility of incarceration in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. Research has shown that youth who spend time in juvenile detention centers are more likely to engage in future criminal activity, do poorly in school and have substance abuse and mental health issues. Research has also shown that teenagers’ brains are still developing. They often cannot gauge the consequences of their actions and are vulnerable to peer pressure.
Instead of being placed in detention, Victoria’s probation officer referred her to Lurie Children’s Juvenile Justice Collaborative, an innovative new model aimed at giving juvenile offenders a second chance. After a comprehensive assessment, Victoria was referred to services at one of the 10 community-based agencies participating in the collaborative.
Read more: Helping Juvenile Offenders Find a Path to Success