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The ICJIA report includes an analysis of gender-specific programming in the juvenile justice system, both across the nation and in Illinois. Although the existing literature is limited, and tends to show that a one-size-fits-all approach is not effective in reducing girls' involvement with the juvenile justice system, there are significant benefits to providing positive alternatives for girls.
Unfortunately, there are few programs in Illinois geared toward at-risk girls in the juvenile justice system, particularly outside of Chicago. There are a few programs that address the unique needs of delinquent girls. In particular, the Girls Link Juvenile Female Offender Project, which is a collaboration among more than 20 public and private agencies, seeks to change policies and improve gender-responsive services to girls through advocacy, education, policy development, and programming. The group has sought specialized services for pregnant and/or parenting girls in the juvenile justice system. Girls Link has been recognized by OJJDP as a national model program.
Beyond the few programs for system-involved girls in Illinois, there are also a number local programs designed for all girls. These programs aim to promote girls' empowerment and positive development and lifestyles through a wide variety of projects and approaches. As mentioned, these are located primarily in Chicago.
The IJJC requested an additional breakdown of this data analysis by County, ICJIA has provided. The IJJC is currently analyzing the report and additional information to target communities with the greatest need to direct potential pilot programming in the coming year.
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