Funding will significantly advance hospital’s work on major child health issues in Chicago: violence prevention, child abuse and mental health needs

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago received a $12 million gift from an anonymous donor to support the hospital’s Healthy Communities program in its efforts to address child abuse, unmet mental health needs, and violence and its effects on youth. These are three of the eight priority areas identified in Lurie Children’s latest Community Health Needs Assessment
 
 
Care Coordinator for TASC 
Breanna Hollie, LCSW, a care coordinator for TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, Inc.), closely follows the young people she refers for services through the Juvenile Justice Collaborative.

When her best friend was killed last year, Victoria began a downward spiral. Her childhood had already been marked by her family’s financial instability, frequent relocations and violence at home.
 
After she got into a fight with another teen, Victoria was arrested, and faced the possibility of incarceration in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. Research has shown that youth who spend time in juvenile detention centers are more likely to engage in future criminal activity, do poorly in school and have substance abuse and mental health issues. Research has also shown that teenagers’ brains are still developing. They often cannot gauge the consequences of their actions and are vulnerable to peer pressure.
 
Instead of being placed in detention, Victoria’s probation officer referred her to Lurie Children’s Juvenile Justice Collaborative, an innovative new model aimed at giving juvenile offenders a second chance. After a comprehensive assessment, Victoria was referred to services at one of the 10 community-based agencies participating in the collaborative.
 

What can I do?  

Many of us at Lurie Children’s have heard this question the past week—in our hallways, commuting to and from work and at our kitchen tables. The murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee and the release of the video of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald have led to a new sense of urgency for Chicagoans. We know how you feel. Anxious. Uneasy. Eager for change. But what can we do?

The short answer: it’s time for each of us to roll up our sleeves.

As a pediatric emergency medicine physician in Chicago, I have had the sad responsibility to care for children and adolescents who have been shot. It is heartbreaking to come to work and see a slew of news trucks outside our hospital reporting on the latest child who has been shot. As an injury prevention specialist, it is unacceptable. If we begin to treat violence as a health equity issue and truly come together to address the root causes, we can reverse this pattern and secure a safer tomorrow for our children.

The goal of Strengthening Chicago’s Youth’s bimonthly newsletter is to help organizations within the SCY network build capacity and increase knowledge. SCY promotes events and resources led or sponsored by community partners, academic institutions, or government agencies that support youth violence prevention or reduction:

  • trainings and professional development opportutnies
  • educational workshops and conferences
  • community forums or town halls

If an event or resource relates to SCY’s Focus Areas or SCY’s Policy Agenda we want to share it! SCY promotes state-wide, city-wide, and national events and updates. Neighborhood-specific events and news are approached on a case-by-case basis dependant on available space. The SCY newsletter is distributed on the first and third Wednesdays of each month.

If you have an event or resource you would like to include, please contact Kirstin Grabski (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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