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Englewood is one of the 77 official community areas in the City of Chicago. It has a population of 40,000 inhabitants, 98 percent of whom are African-American. IJJC representatives attended community stakeholder meetings in the Englewood community on October 30 and December 11, 2006. These meetings were attended and facilitated by key stakeholders from community-based agencies, religious organizations, and residents of the Englewood community. The discussions focused on developing strategies on collecting data on youth at risk of detention and selecting a target population. These stakeholder meetings were well-organized, informative, and demonstrated collaboration within this group.
The Illinois State DMC Coordinator convened meetings on February 1 and 22, 2007, to determine the breadth of participation by Cook County juvenile justice system stakeholders. At these meetings were representatives from the Judiciary, State's Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, Police Department, and Juvenile Probation Department. These meetings were detailed, organized, and goal-directed. Through the work accomplished at these meetings, a readiness assessment was developed with the following goals:
- Assess and document the extent of overrepresentation of youth of color in the juvenile justice system from the Englewood Community.
- Assess and document Cook County's ability to address DMC in Englewood using the following criteria:
- Purpose of alternatives to detention and utilization of alternatives to detention;
- Stakeholder engagement and collaboration;
- Community engagement and collaboration;
- Capacity for data collection and analysis.
- Identify and document other factors that could impact DMC reduction efforts.
The information gathered from those assessments has fueled Englewood's current efforts. A large part of their efforts involve direct engagement of the community. Featured practices include:
- Beloved Community Family Services provided after school educational and recreational children from Chicago's Englewood community. The agency also offered instruction on modern dance and performance art during this period. Approximately 50 youth were served by this agency during the reporting period.
- Agape Youth Network provides social and economic mentoring to at-risk and court-involved minors. During this period Orlando Davis and his team assisted in the development and implementation of a youth leadership curriculum. This curriculum was applied to programming strategies for non-court involved and court ordered minors. Agape served approximately 60 community children during this period.
- In September 2009, Beloved Community Family Services hosted a forum with Cook County Juvenile Court's Juvenile Probation Department, Chicago Police Department's Community Alternative Policing Solutions (CAPS) program, and community providers of educational, vocational, and employment services. The forum was centered on the creation of an initiative for youth involved with the court on a weapons charge. The meeting provided court-involved children an opportunity to assist the community, court, and local police in developing strategies that can reduce community violence while creating opportunities.
- In December County Juvenile Court's Probation Department facilitated a basketball and dance clinic for the children involved with the court from Englewood. Channel 7's Sylvia Jones covered the event. The news segment aired on Wednesday, December 30th at 5p.m. The event was well-organized, wellattended, and the youth were appreciative of the efforts. Approximately 150 youth attended each day, with more than 30 volunteers from Probation and partnering community agencies.
- In June 2009, the Cook County Collaborative on Racial and Ethnic Disparities hosted a dynamic discussions on cultural "sameness", or the similarities that exist among all ethnicities at Paul Robeson High School in Englewood. The discussion focused on culture, community and collaboration. Facilitated by Cook County Juvenile Court's Juvenile Probation Department, Chicago Police Department, and Hartgrove Hospital, the event was an engagement of community and system partners for open dialogue about the value of collaboration for improved community outcomes. The event was extremely successful, and will be replicated in 2010.
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