Section 4.0 - Program Structure – Purpose

Illinois Department of Human Services
Bureau of Youth Intervention Services

4.0 - Program Structure - Purpose

Revised Date: July 2013

Teen REACH is designed to offer opportunities for children and youth to engage in positive activities during out-of-school time. The Teen REACH program design must be developmentally appropriate for the age group served. Core service activities, physical layout of the program spaces, intensity of hands on assistance and supervision, and products must reflect the developmental stage of the children and youth being served.

4.1. Target Population

Revised Date: July 2013

Teen REACH program services are provided for at-risk children and youth ages 6 to 17, or any subset within that age range. Accepted age group subsets are 6-10, 11-13, and 14-17. Because of the Department's priority on targeting services to youth ages 11-17, agencies serving both younger and older age groups must provide no more than 15% of their services to children ages 6 to 10 (i.e., at least 85% of their services to youth ages 11 to 17.) For agencies operating the program at multiple sites, these percentages apply to the total population served by the agency, across all sites, not the number at any individual program site.

The individual and/or family risk factors of youth targeted by the Teen REACH program may include but not be limited to the following:

  • Youth lives in a single-parent household or with grandparents
  • Youth resides in a household receiving TANF funds
  • Youth experiences academic difficulties
  • Youth has witnessed or been a victim of family violence
  • Youth has siblings who dropped out of school
  • Youth has siblings who are teen parents
  • Youth has siblings who are involved in the juvenile justice system
  • Youth has one or both parents who are incarcerated
  • Youth receives services from DCFS or partner service delivery systems
  • Youth is obese or otherwise nutritionally at risk
  • Parent, and/or siblings involved with substance abuse or dependence

4.2. Participant Recruitment

Revised Date: July 2013

To ensure that the Teen REACH program has a consistent level of participation, each agency must plan and implement a recruitment strategy, focusing on the target population.

4.3. Program Hours of Operation

Revised Date: July 2013

Programs must be operational for 12 consecutive months (240 days per year, which is an average of 20 days per month).

Each program must operate a minimum of 720 hours per year, which is an average of 15 hours per week.

4.4. Community Collaboration

Revised Date: July 2013

Working together, youth, families and community entities can design programs that are best suited to meet the needs of local youth and to connect out-of-school time programs with community resources. Community-based agencies, government, faith-based organizations, civic organizations, businesses, foundations, youth and their families, working together, can provide a wide range of resources to support high quality out-of-school time programs.

Successful applicants will have developed community partnerships, which, at a minimum, must include strong collaboration with the schools whose students will be attending Teen REACH program activities.

Additionally, youth and families can play a key role in the development of out-of-school time programming. Programs that include families and youth in the planning draw greater support in the long run and tend to be more culturally relevant. Parents should be involved in all phases of program development and implementation.

Teen REACH also encourages collaboration with other youth serving programs in the community.

4.5. Schools

Revised Date: July 2013

Written letters of collaboration between the Teen REACH program and collaborating schools must be on file in the Teen REACH office. These agreements facilitate collection of data on academic achievement as well as coordination of homework assistance and tutoring efforts. Programs will be required to submit information about students' progress, based on grade reports and attendance and suspension records, to the Department. Copies of signed linkage agreements with every school where participants are attending must be on file indicating an acknowledgment of the schools' willingness to provide copies of the above information.

Please note that schools will need to obtain parental/guardian consent before school records can actually be submitted to the Teen REACH program.

4.6. Businesses and Community

Revised Date: July 2013

IDHS encourages Teen REACH programs to collaborate with local businesses because they can support the target population and the program's activities. Linkage agreements may include mentoring or other volunteer work by employees, job shadowing, and vocational experiences.

4.7. Community Advisory Council

Revised Date: July 2013

Programs must form and utilize a Community Advisory Council or board in conducting Teen REACH activities in order to integrate active partners who can devote time and resources to the program. Existing councils may be utilized if they properly represent the positive youth development concept of Teen REACH. The Community Advisory Council must include at least two youth who are current or former Teen REACH participants. The Advisory Council must meet, at a minimum, on a quarterly basis. Minutes, agendas and/or attendance lists must be maintained on file to evidence this activity.

Links & Resources

Program administration and reporting forms, individual file forms, and general program information and resources, are available by calling the Bureau of Youth Intervention Services, Teen REACH at (217) 557-2109 and/or on the DHS Website at