The Juvenile Probation and Detention Services Division provides a continuum of services to families of youth who have been referred by law enforcement for delinquent offenses. Services range from informal diversion from court to highly structured supervision or probation in the community. The Division also provides in-house residential treatment as well as a secure detention center for more serious and/or chronic juvenile offenders. More about the individual functions of the Division may be found here.
Probation officers are required to obtain twenty hours of training during the year. Some of these hours are mandatory and the others are chosen by staff as it relates to their particular case load. During this year, training was provided on a variety of topics to probation officers.
Mandatory training events included ethics, confidentiality, legal issues and CPR/1st Aid. Facilitators of the JRs Challenge program attended a Round Table conference. Other topics that were not mandatory included training workshops at the Illinois Probation and Court Services Association Conference which included a variety of topics such as sex offender issues, trends with new drugs that offenders are using, and youth as violent offenders. Other training topics included bullying, TRACKER database, how the brain forms new habits, legal updates on domestic violence, street gangs in Lake County, the effects of trauma on children and Thinking for Change 3.0 cognitive behavioral programming.
During this year, a compliance probation officer was assigned to Juvenile Probation in an effort to increase court ordered fee collection. This officer has established a work flow to communicate with youth and families following court and via the mail. In addition to this process, volunteers continue to make reminder phone calls to parents regarding upcoming court hearings.
The Girl Wise conference was held on 4-30-2011 at the College of Lake County, Grayslake Campus. Committee members of the conference included agency participation from the Regional Office of Education, the College of Lake County, Omni Youth Services, the States Attorney’s Office, Northern Illinois Counsel on Substance Abuse, Waukegan High School, One Hope United and the Attorney General’s Office. A grant was secured this year by the States Attorney’s Office which allowed the committee to obtain supplies for this year’s conference in addition to future conferences. The conference for 2012 is scheduled for the same location on 4-28-2012.
The Positive Community Take Over group (PTCO) had another successful year. Community leaders of the community of North Chicago and representatives of the Court continued to facilitate programming for high risk youth of that community. Probation Officers in collaboration with the school district provided groups to youth on a weekly basis covering topics which included communication, problem solving, victimization, education and employment skills. Parents of the youth also participated in groups to develop additional parenting skills. Upon completion of the program youth participated in a recognition graduation in the Mayor’s City Council Chambers which occurred during the months of April and November. Attendees of the graduations included Circuit Judge Boettle-Ceckowski, Associate Judge Sarah Lessman, Director Robert Cesar, Mayor Rockingham, Chief of Police Michael Newsome, Chief of the Lake County Jail Jennifer Witherspoon, Principal of Yeager School Nicole Johnson and the residents of the community to support the graduates for their accomplishments.
Juvenile Probation/Detention Services completed its year of providing employment programming to youth through the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JABG). The grant enabled the Division to hire a part-time employment specialist to facilitate the employment curriculum, secure job sites and placement of youth in these sites throughout the year. A supplemental grant was also secured which enabled the programming to be enhanced via acquisition of additional supplies and computer hardware and software. During 2011, 69 youth participated in the employment curriculum and 25 were placed in employment positions which enabled them to pay court ordered restitution and fees to successfully their probation. In addition, two youth were hired as permanent employees of the Lake County Public Works. This grant enables employers to utilize youth in positions where funding has been cut given the difficult economic times and expand their workforce. The grant has been extended through 2012 and it is hopeful that is will be a staple for youth we service in Lake County.
Juvenile Probation provides an Orientation Group to youth and families as they become part of the Juvenile Court. The group is facilitated by probation officers with the support of volunteers with the Division. The Orientation Group is a one night session that enlightens youth and families what they can expect during their time with the Juvenile Court. Youth and families are able to ask questions as to concerns they may have that will hinder a successful experience. As well, the role of the assigned probation officer is discussed in detail so that the probation officer can be viewed as a resource to the youth and parents. A new group is being offered in 2012 for clients that specifically speak Spanish. Spanish speaking probation officers and volunteers will facilitate a similar program.
Programming via JRs Challenge was provided to youth during the past year. Probation officers and Juvenile Counselors are trained facilitators who provide the experience to youth via a low and high ropes course. During the experience youth learn skills such as building self-esteem, problems solving and setting pro-social goals for their future. The courses were scheduled from March through October. The Juvenile Division partnered with Omni Youth Services who provided experiential adventure trips which included rock climbing, caving, canoeing and camping experience to youth. In exchange for these services, Omni Youth Services benefited by having their clients participate in the JRs Challenge Program. This partnership will continue next year.
Volunteers continue to provide valuable hours to the probation unit in many different areas. In partnership with the College of Lake County, volunteers are screened and trained prior to beginning their service. These hours are dedicated to various programs and to assist probation officers in their daily work. Currently volunteers hours are being utilized in the orientation group, daily office duties, employment programming, compliance calls, Girl Wise conference and victim services. Orientation workshops are conducted periodically with new volunteers to familiarize them to the Juvenile Division. Services provided by volunteers are truly appreciated by the Courts as well as the youth and families they service.
Juvenile probation has made strides to complete written work electronically striving towards a paperless system. This past year the unit successfully transitioned from hand written case notes to completing all court reports and logging of case notes electronically. As part of a focus group speared by the Director of the Juvenile Division, other units as well are incorporating available technology into their day to day functions. A goal for the Probation Unit next year is to include case plans with this process.
Group Reporting continues to supervise low risk cases with significant success. With the use of volunteers, one probation officer is able to supervise cases throughout the county at satellite offices. Probationers are able to meet expectations, remaining delinquent free and being successfully terminated from probation. This program has saved time for probation officers to spend more time with the higher risk youth. In addition, this form of supervision has been cost effective for the Circuit without decreasing the success rate.
The Juvenile Probation Unit provided internships to six college students during the year. Students were interested in pursuing a career as a probation officer and as part of the internship they performed tasks such as report writing, completing documentation, communicating with youth and families and other tasks as assigned. The interns were students of Western Illinois University, Illinois State University and Westwood College. The students participated as part of their curriculum and received college credit for their experience with the Division.
Juvenile probation officers conduct adoption investigations for the Circuit Court. During this year, the entire adoption process for the Circuit was transferred from the Family Court Division to the Juvenile Court. Departments affected by this transition included the Circuit Clerk’s Office and the Division of Juvenile Probation/Detention Services. The Juvenile Court Judges will hear all adoption petitioned to the Court in Vernon Hills. The administration staff of the Juvenile Division will perform the function of informing outside agencies and attorneys when ordered by the court. This transition will enable petitioners to accomplish all necessary tasks at one location.
Awards presented to probation officers this year included the following:
Claudia Gilhooley received the Distinguished Service Award via the Illinois Probation and Court Services Association.
Mario Urbina received the Juvenile Justice Award via the Juvenile Officers Association.
Scott Francke received the Employee of the Month Award from Chief Judge Victoria Rossetti for the Month of February.
Meetings are underway with the College of Lake County-Judicial Services Division to establish a community service education program, as a resource for the Branch Courts, for juveniles who are charged with local ordinance violations.
Juvenile Division tours for appropriate groups are conducted by Division staff on a regular basis. In 2010, tours included a visiting judge and probation officer from Japan, officers from the Lake County Bar Association, Court Administration interns, States' Attorneys' office interns, IPCSA Detention Committee, Waukegan Police Department Citizen Action Program, and various college criminal justice classes.
During this year, the following training topics were provided to probation officers:
· experiential learning conference for JR’s Challenge facilitators, underage drinking and its effects on the brain, mandatory COOP (emergency planning) training, bullying and mental health training, performance management training, officer safety training, substance abuse training and the Family Violence Symposium.
J Juvenile and Adult staff have begun joint meetings to review and revise existing materials in an effort to develop a comprehensive field officer safety manual that can be used by both divisions.
Positive Community Take Over (PTCO) held graduation for youth involved in the program in January and July of this year. Notable attendees included Circuit Judge Valerie Boettle-Ceckowski, Associate Judge Sarah Lessman, Director Robert Cesar, Mayor Rockingham, Principal Daniel McDermott, Chief of Police Michael Newsome and the residence of the community to support the graduates of their accomplishments.
JOB GROUP- The first cycle of Job Group was scheduled which was made possible through the Accountability Block Grant. The grant allows for youth on probation to receive pre-employment training and possible placement in actual employment. The grant paid wages of youth who successfully participated in the classroom curriculum. Program staff continually recruit new job sites to partner with the grant. During this year youth were successfully placed in jobs after their participation in the curriculum. The Juvenile Accountability Block Grant had a site visit by the Grant Supervisor during the summer months. The review was positive and comments by the grant staff suggested that the program could be a model for the state with continued success. The grant was renewed for the upcoming year.
GIRLWISE- The Girlwise conference was held on 4-24-10 at the Grayslake campus at CLC. As in previous years, the attendance was very good with both Junior High and High School age girls in attendance. The collaboration with community stake holders included the Regional Office of Education, the College of Lake County, Omni Youth Services, States Attorney’s Office, Safe Place, NICASA Waukegan High School, One Hope United and the 19th Judicial Circuit. The next annual conference is scheduled for 4-30-2011.
THINKING 4 CHANGE- Group began in Waukegan at the College of Lake County on 10-18-10 and is scheduled to end 3-21-11. Targeted areas of programming focus on social skills, problem solving and self-change skills. Upon completion of the program youth will have developed skills to correct thinking errors to ultimately avoid further delinquent behavior and family/community issues.
Orientation Group is provided to new cases on a monthly basis. Youth and families receive information from probation staff and volunteers regarding parental expectations, probation officer’s role and youth expectations during their involvement with the court system.
JR’s Challenge programming provided groups throughout the summer months on a weekly basis. Groups were also facilitated during the Spring and Fall dependent on the weather conditions.
Effective 1-1-10, Juvenile Probation/Detention Services began receiving delinquent referrals on 17 year old minors who committed a misdemeanor offense prior to their 18th birthday. Felony cases continue to be referred to the adult system.
The service plans for a probation case are documented in the TRACKER database. This process was updated to accurately reflect court ordered services for juvenile probationers and family. Data entry training was completed in all areas that probation staff are expected to enter for their cases. The Juvenile Complex "focus group" for TRACKER met bi-weekly to plan and strategize goals for the division with the use of TRACKER.
Volunteer orientation was held in January and October of 2010 for new volunteers. During the orientations, assignments for volunteering were discussed with potential volunteers. Assignments to the Division included office duties and participation with supervision of the low risk case load.
During this year, three college interns successfully completed their internship requirements for graduation with the probation unit.
DCFS Placements- Since the legislative change in age (from 13 to 15 years old) that allows the court to commit minors to DCFS, the estimated savings to the country is in excess of $648,000 at the close of 2010 (1.3 million since 2008). Fourteen youth have been committed as part of their probation sentence with ten being residentially placed.
OMNI Youth Services- Juvenile Probation partnered with OMNI Youth Services who provided a free rock climbing experience on 6-9-10 at Devils Lake, Wisconsin. Seven probation cases attended the outing.
In an effort to more effectively supervise low risk offenders, a low risk caseload was established and assigned to one probation officer. In addition to volunteers' participation with the probation officer, cases are met with at three locations in Lake County that include the Branch Courts in Park City and Round Lake Beach as well as the Juvenile Complex in Vernon Hills. The supervision strategy has allowed for increased supervision for moderate and high risk youth. Through the use of satellite offices, court resources are more accessible to the families of youth on probation.
Probation officers Tim Ulrich , Shannon LeFevour, Karin McLafferty, Mario Urbina and Cheryl Sersen received the Distinguished Service Award from Illinois Probation and Court Services Association.
Juvenile Probation Officer, Lorenzo Bess, was recognized by the North Chicago Exchange Club on 8-31-10 for his work with youth in North Chicago.
Joseph Kelroy, Assistant Director, continued his involvement as co-chair of the sex offender committee of the Illinois Probation and Court Services Association.
All full-time staff direct care staff assigned to Detention, FACE-IT, and Intake must have 40 hours of training per AOIC requirements and IDOJJ standards. This past year a concerted effort was made to conduct more in-house training and to take advantage of free/low cost training offered in the community. As a result, training mandates were met and staff have been able to enhance their knowledge and skills. Training included such topics as:
Leadership, Bullying, Mental Health issues, Officer Safety training, Youth Suicide Prevention, COOP, Gangs, Ropes Course facilitation, Handle with Care (restraint technique) facilitation and refreshers, Legal Issues in Detention, and Aggression Replacement Therapy (ART). In addition, several staff members attended the IPCSA conferences in April and October, during which annual recognition awards were presented to all seven that attended.
The APEX Learning program was launched in the Detention Center and FACE-IT residential program classrooms. APEX is a digital learning curriculum that allows students to be placed in the appropriate level of academic coursework and progress on an individual basis to earn credits that can be transferred to their community schools. Nine computer stations for students were added to each of the three classrooms in the Detention Center for completion of studies and testing. A marked decrease in behavioral issues has also been observed and documented. Statistics regarding this change are being collected and should be available in the upcoming year.
Educational staff members have attended several continuing education workshops and credit classes sponsored by the Regional Office of Education to meet their certification requirements, keep current in their field and to interact with their peers in the community.
The Detention Center continues to benefit from the services of and great relationship with the Vernon Area Public Library. The library has assisted in obtaining a substantial grant for the Detention Center and FACE-IT residential program which will be used for the purchase of new books in the near future.
The "Read Me a Story" program was implemented in February with very positive feedback. This program was modeled after the "Read to Me" international program which is currently available to mothers and fathers in the Lake County Jail. Specifically, the juvenile program is offered to teen parents and youth with siblings up to age eight that are detained in the Detention Center and FACE-IT residential program. The youth are able to pick out new books that are obtained primarily through donations and grant funds and record a CD by reading the book out loud. These CD's and a copy of the book are sent to the family home where the children/siblings can listen to them and maintain a personal connection with their relative in the Detention Center. Since the program's inception, 39 youth have participated in the program having recorded and sent 55 books to family members.
Wellness programming has gradually been added in several areas of the Detention Center including health classes, physical education and the nutrition/food services. Information and workshops have been provided by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and local health department for employees to be better able to serve the needs of the residents. The Detention Center and residential program were audited by the ISBE in June with very positive results. In addition, a grant was obtained to purchase new equipment for the dining room.
In addition to the specialized services listed above, volunteers, post graduate and undergraduate student interns are another valuable resource utilized by the Detention Center and Juvenile Division as a whole on a continuous basis. The Detention Center utilized the services of 5 interns and over 15 volunteers this year.
An internal COOP (Continuity of Operations Plan) was completed for the Detention Center in conjunction with the entire 19th Judicial Circuit as mandated by the Illinois Supreme Court. In addition, Detention Center staff participated in mock emergency scenarios with the other collar county Detention Centers in order to be prepared in the case of a real disaster. This included extensive work with the facilities in Winnebago, Kane and DuPage Counties which has continued into the current year.
The Detention Center along with the other units in the Juvenile Division embarked upon a new venture focusing on reducing paperwork and the sharing of information. This includes digital documentation in the division's database program "Tracker" rather than traditional utilization of hard copy logging of all facility activity and will eventually include report writing. This project has enabled the Detention Center to get on board with the Circuit's "green" movement and results in more efficiency in terms of time and cost. Beginning this year, this effort is also a "SMAART" project for the Juvenile Division.
Custody and noncustody referrals for 17 year olds misdemeanants were received as of 01-01-2010 due to a new law enactment. this brought an increase in the number of annual referrals received.
Computer generated reports have been developed that will aid in monitoring the impact of 17 year old misdemeanants to the juvenile justice system.
The Supervisor On-Call manual was submitted for review and approved.
As part of a cross training effort to utilize staff resources effectively, Home Detention personnel are assisting in the supervision of high priority/risk probation cases. In addition, Home Detention is checking on Home Confinement clients with more stringent interim orders. Lastly, Home Detention began to assist with the supervision of minor's on home Passes from the FACE-IT residential program.
On June 7, 2010 Joe Kelroy, Lynette Hampton and Mary Marsolek presented an overview of The Juvenile Court System at a SEDOL therapist workshop.
An operation manual for Intake staff was completed. This manual provides step by step instructions in completing tasks and will aid in the training of new employees.
A computerized version of the Referral Screening was completed which replaced the three-part carbonless paper form.
The Wellness Committee has developed a newly designed informational pamphlet.
All direct care staff (Intake, Detention and FACE-IT) have completed the required annual ISBE school based child nutritional program "Civil Rights Compliance and Enforcement Training for Frontline Staff". All staff have reviewed and discussed the ISBE PowerePoint presentation titled "And Justice for All".
Active operational review and re-evaluation continues in conjunction with ISBE technical assistance. The following activities were implemented:
Resubmitting the annual nutrition program evaluation application in order to participate in the After School Snack Program Reimbursement.
Developing and implementing a tracking process for After School Snacks.
Creating a "Hazard Analysis and Critical Thinking Control Point" (HAACP) plan to assure nutrition standards are maintained.
Kitchen staff and operations passed a random inspection by The Lake County Health Department. In addition, a sanitation and safe food handling training was an added component to the visit.
A Federally funded National School Lunch Program grant application was submitted for updated equipment was approved for $5,082.00. A milk cooler, refrigerator and shelving for a walk-in refrigerator were purchased with the funds.
The Illinois State Board of Education conducted their audit (June 8 and 9) with positive feedback and minimal areas of concern. The inspection was successfully completed.
Applicants for the part-time kitchen position were interviewed. Record checks were completed and the selected candidate accepted the position.
A standardized operating procedure guide has been created for non-kitchen personnel.
A comprehensive policy and procedure manual for "Managing Life Threatening Food Allergies" is being comprehensively reviewed by all Assistant Directors.
All sworn probation officers are mandated by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts to receive 20 hours of training annually. The goal of training is to ensure staff is familiar if not certified to facilitate Evidence Based Practices. During the year the following topics were provided to probation officers:
Motivational Interviewing, Thinking 4 Change, probation unit in-service on policy and procedure, officer safety training, management budgets webinar, truancy, testifying in court, Rosecrance Adolecent Substance Abuse Program-unit meeting overview, emergency safety and risk management training provided to lead workers and supervisors, working with females, Vista dual-diagnosis/intensive out-patient, lockout, recertification-CPR and First-aide.
The Juvenile Court Act is based on a restorative justice model mandating services to youth and families to develop competencies with the goal of avoiding delinquent behavior in the future as well as strengthening family systems. Probation officers make referrals for services to outside agencies as well as facilitating groups themselves. Currently probation officers facilitate the following programs.
Positive Community Take Over (Programming for boys and their families who reside in North Chicago).
Thinking 4 Change (22 week group program to address thinking errors).
JRs Challenge (Experiential learning utilizing a low and high ropes course).
Girls Group (Gender specific programming for girls on probation).
Orientation Group (New cases to probation-Volunteers co-facilitate with probation officers).
Girl Wise (Collaborative effort between community, schools and Court to offer a one day work shop for junior high and high school age students in Lake County).
The Division of Juvenile Probation/Detention Services is in constant review of its practice to ensure efficient methods and timely service. During this year, the juvenile probation unit modified certain procedures to go “Green” by utilizing the electronic data base (TRACKER) for case notes of probation officers. TRACKER has vast capability that will further enhance probation officers in performing their jobs. These enhancements will include report writing, timeliness of documentation, mailings, referral processing and many more.
An additional procedure for Juvenile Probation was to obtain a picture of each youth on probation as part of their file. This picture was taken electronically via the TRACKER system to ensure proper identification of minors.
The volunteer program is coordinated via the College of Lake County. During the year on-going orientations occurred with new community members that have an interest in volunteering with the Division. This year, juvenile probation had volunteers perform work in the unit which included office support, co-facilitation of orientation for new probationers, supporting community groups and working with victims of juvenile crime.
The Internship program allows for college students to gain a career related experience with the 19th Judicial Circuit. During this year, the Probation Unit partnered with the University of Wisconsin- Parkside which enabled students to obtain college credits and learn the job of a Juvenile Probation Officer.
The Juvenile Probation/Detention Services Division maintains interaction and professional relationships with other organizations that promote Juvenile Justice. Probation officers are members of various community organizations to enhance dialogue with the goal of reducing juvenile delinquency and strengthening the family system. These organizations include:
Illinois Probation and Court Services Association
Lake County Juvenile Officer’s Association
Juvenile Justice Council
School Resource Officer’s Meeting
Lake County Gang Task Force
Our involvement with these groups has enhanced communication between disciplines as well as offer training opportunities for juvenile probation officers.
Prior to 6-1-08, the Juvenile Court Act allowed for minors under the age of 13 to be committed to DCFS as a sentencing alternative. Effective 6-1-08, the statute included minors under the age of 15. Juvenile probation has utilized this law change with regards to youth that exceed community based plans and are being considered for residential treatment or commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice. By the end of 2009, juvenile probation had serviced many youth via this law change at a savings to the County in excess of $500,000.
As a measure to expand the accessibility of probation officers to the probationers they supervise, juvenile probation officers began to schedule time at the Branch Courts in Park City and Round Lake Beach. This expansion enabled probation officers to have office time in the areas they supervise.
Changes were implemented that included increasing computer-based learning projects, individualized placement in math, and a more intensive “homework hour” in the evening designed to assist residents in preparing for their transition to the community. In addition, new report cards/progress reports were designed and are now available for court hearings and other involved parties including parents. These reports are eventually sent to the home school districts with information about grades, behavior, and a calculation of actual credits depending on the length of stay.
Donations of equipment and services have continued to provide many fitness options for the P.E. program. Residents had the opportunity to participate in bi-monthly yoga classes taught by a community volunteer who is a certified instructor. This was a very popular activity and seemed to contribute to a calmer atmosphere and decreased stress level resulting in an overall healthier environment.
Detention Center staff and interns continue to facilitate life-skills co-ed groups with residents during the morning and evening shifts. Many staff were trained in the “Thinking for a Change” cognitive learning program as well as “Motivational Interviewing” which are both evidenced bases practices which assists greatly in designing effective and improved programming for the detention residents.
The Detention Center utilized the services of 5 interns and over 15 volunteers this year.
JIS Division assisted in the facilitation of a joint training on the new process for photographing Intake and probation Youth. With the camera being installed Intake began the process and Probation followed. A written procedure was completed and approved. Instructions and the policy were distributed to all Intake personnel.
Deputy Superintendent completed a 40 hour Domestic Violence Prevention/intervention Training facilitated by A Safe Place to enhance service provided to youth referred by law enforcement for domestic violence offences.
Juvenile Intake along with Adult Probation met with various Police Departments to discuss officer safety strategies in communities experiencing an uptick of violent crime.
A warrant monitoring process has been implemented. Intake receives all delinquent juvenile warrants issued by the court and the active list that the Lake County Sheriff's Department has in an effort to ensure that all parties have the same information. This has helped maintain an accurate number of cases for all parties and the Clerk's office.
A Kitchen manual was completed and a staff training program was implemented. It was noted by ISBE (Illinois State Board of Education) that no other facility in the area had a procedural manual.
A suprise inspection by The Lake County Health Department was conducted and the inspection was a success (no violations). It should also be noted that all other private establishments are phoned and pre-advised of an inspection date. Because this is a Lake County facility our inspections remain a surprise.