Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $425,000)
The City of Chicago Department of Family and Support (DFSS) services is proposing to partner with Cook County Probation to provide the Girls Empowerment and Motivation Series (GEMS) to at least 100 girls involved in the juvenile justice system who are from particularly vulnerable neighborhoods in Chicago. Through the key strategies and evidenced-based approaches, the GEMS project will work toward the goal of reducing risk factors and promoting protective factors for girls who come in contact with the juvenile justice system, and place them on a path toward success, stability, and long-term contribution to society. Key project strategies include: 1) implement evidence-based engagement and services for girls on probation to empower them to reduce their risk for re-offending and support them toward success; 2) implement gender-responsive training curricula for local juvenile justice system staff (Probation, State’s Attorney's office, Public Defender’s Office, Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice Aftercare Specialist staff) to better equip them to support girls; and 3) implement a plan with Cook County Probation to evaluate current assessment processes for gender-responsiveness and work toward incorporating gender-responsive elements as appropriate. DFSS hopes to achieve the following outcomes: increased access of justice-involved girls in Chicago to evidence-based violence prevention and interventions tailored to meet their specific needs and support their unique strengths; increased community and institutional juvenile justice system capacity to engage justice-involved girls from a gender-responsive lens; increased positive outcomes for girls, e.g., social competence/positive relationships, personal goal achievement, school attendance, family support; and reduction in high-risk behavior that can lead to reoffending.