Press Release - Thursday, June 16, 2022
Community organizations, IDHS and CPS unite to provide summer jobs and support to young people in Chicago
Organizations focus on engaging vulnerable youth to increase safety
CHICAGO — Illinois Department of Human Services Assistant Secretary of Firearm Violence Prevention Chris Patterson and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chief of Safety and Security Jadine Chou joined community organizations, students, youth, and families to promote extensive summer program opportunities being offered to Chicago's youth aimed at increasing safety and engagement.
This summer, young people and families can access intensive wrap-around programming and paid employment in their own neighborhoods through community organizations that are funded through the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and CPS. Chicago families and young people can find summer opportunities near them by visiting http://dhs.illinois.gov/rpsayouth/.
"Our youth are our future—and they deserve our attention, investment, and support all twelve months out of the year," said Governor JB Pritzker. "As the school year comes to a close, it's crucial that we provide our young people with engaging summer opportunities that give them the means to learn, grow, and thrive. Thanks to the joint partnership of community organizations, the IDHS, and CPS, Illinois' youth will have access to holistic, equity-centered programming—keeping our communities safer and our kids connected. Here's to a great summer and a bright future for our state's young people."
"Youth in Illinois want and need opportunities to work, learn, and play. It is critical that we connect them quickly to opportunities that will allow them to be active and thrive over the summer," said Assistant Secretary Patterson. "As the school year ends, young people and families can access neighborhood-based programs across Chicago with a special focus on youth who have experienced trauma, are disengaged, and are most at risk. "I want our youth to know, we see you, we believe in you, and we are ready to work with you to make this summer the safe, positive experience that you deserve."
IDHS and CPS are proud to launch a new program entitled "Back to Our Future" to address the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth and reduce firearm violence. In May, Governor Pritzker, announced a $16.2 million State investment in Chicago Public Schools to work with 1,000 disconnected youth to help them successfully re-engage in school through participation in highly intensive wrap-around programming. This program builds upon the success of CPS' Choose to Change program with a focus on the highest risk youth.
"We are proud to partner with the Department of Human Services and community-based organizations to help keep youth safe this summer while working to reconnect them to a CPS school or an education completion program. "Working together, we can continue to make significant progress in improving academic and safety outcomes for students," said Jadine Chou, Chicago Public Schools Chief of Safety and Security.
Additionally, IDHS is rolling out expanded youth development and violence prevention programs in communities across Chicago with the most concentrated firearm violence through the Reimagine Public Safety Act (RPSA). Through RPSA, IDHS is partnering with community organizations to provide youth development, violence prevention, and violence interruption services as a public health strategy to stop cycles of violence in disproportionately impacted communities. IDHS is also offering nearly 2,300 summer jobs paying at least $15 per hour to all youth, regardless of circumstance, through the Illinois Youth Investment Program.
This array of youth programs is designed meet the holistic needs of youth through outreach, mental and behavioral health assessment, clinical therapy, intervention services, personalized goal setting, guided transition to educational re-connection, job readiness - soft skills training, transitional jobs, and permanent employment placement. The goal will be to engage youth by meeting them "where they are" -- in their homes and communities -- with comprehensive summer activities and services. Youth under these programs have access to coaches, teachers, artists, city leaders.
This mass mobilization of summer opportunities and support is a partnership between grassroots experts and the State and City's comprehensive strategy to increase the safety and security of young people through evidence-based interventions.
"Our summer programming will provide opportunities for youth to be actively engaged as they grow and develop in an environment where they can feel safe and know they matter," said Autry Phillips, Executive Director of Lifeline to Hope, Inc, an organization in North Lawndale dedicated to addressing violence and creating thriving and sustainable communities. "We will provide youth the opportunity to step away from the violence in our communities, and just be a kid again."
About the Reimagine Public Safety Act
The Reimagine Public Safety Act (RPSA) is a three-year, multi-pronged approach to violence prevention that calls for research-backed services like summer and afterschool programming, job training and placement, high-risk youth intervention services, violence interruption, case management, trauma-informed mental health care supported by Medicaid, and more.
Community-based organizations that provide services in any of the 42 eligible communities (and follow GATA guidelines) can apply. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis to expedite funding. IDHS is focused on bringing resources into communities to address the epidemic of firearm violence that has impacted too many Illinois communities. Organizations can apply for funding, visit www.dhs.illinois.gov/rpsa.
The Department of Human Services is Illinois' largest State Agency, with more than 13,000 employees.
Illinois created IDHS in 1997, to provide residents with streamlined access to services. IDHS is home to the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention and six major programmatic areas, including the Divisions of: Developmental Disabilities, Early Childhood, Family and Community Services, Mental Health, Rehabilitation Services, and Substance Use Prevention & Recovery.
Chicago Public Schools, in Chicago, Illinois, is the third largest school district in the United States. Chicago Public Schools is the nation's third largest school district, serving more than 330,0000 pre-K-12th grade students and preparing them to succeed in college, career, and civic life."