Get IN Chicago is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Juvenile Intervention and Support Center (JISC) to expand supportive service options for youth with police involvement.  The partnership expands Strengthening Youth through a Network of Care (SYNC) connections to seven additional districts beyond current JISC referral areas.  SYNC is a network of youth-serving organizations committed to providing mentoring, therapy, and case management services to acutely high-risk youth in Chicago.

Kia Coleman (Photo: Ashlee Rezin, Chicago Sun-Times)

Launched by the city in 2006, the JISC offers pre-court diversion programs that give young offenders support without bringing them into the juvenile justice system. Currently, the JISC provides case management and social services to youth with juvenile offenses in seven Chicago Police Districts, particularly those encountered through station adjustments*.  Similar to SYNC, the goal of the JISC is to position youth for success and prevent their entry and/or return to the juvenile justice system.

“The JISC and Get IN Chicago’s SYNC initiative are natural partners: both are innovative, multi-faceted approaches linking justice-involved youth directly to violence prevention services,” said Kia Coleman, Director of Juvenile Justice Programs at the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services and  a 2016 Civic Leadership Academy Fellow, was a driving force in coordinating the collaboration. “We are energized to have a like-minded organization working alongside us to give this distinct group opportunities for success.”

SYNC referral is now an embedded aspect of the JISC intake process. To date, 10 young people referred from the JISC have been connected to services, and we anticipate that number will continue to grow.  Ultimately, we’d like to have systems in place to ensure that each of the 15,517 youth arrested last year in Cook County can be connected to services based upon individualized treatment plans.

“SYNC is designed to provide supportive services to acutely high-risk youth in Chicago communities hardest hit by violence,” said Get IN Chicago Executive Director Toni Irving.  “Partnering with juvenile justice agencies is a critical way to ensure our highest-risk young people receive the supports they need to propel them forward.”

*Get IN Chicago’s John Marshall Law School intern provides this synopsis of Illinois station adjustment law: “Station adjustments can be used by police officers as a way to hold youth accountable for their actions without sending them to court. Currently, there are two forms of station adjustments, informal and formal. An informal station adjustment is a procedure when a police officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that a minor has committed an offense. Whereas, a formal station adjustment is defined as a procedure when a juvenile police officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that the minor has committed an offense and an admission by the minor of involvement in the offense.  Neither an informal or formal station adjustment constitutes an adjudication of delinquency or a criminal conviction.”