It’s no secret that crime among the juvenile population has been a problem in the state of Illinois for years. Fortunately, state officials and law enforcement agencies have recently recognized the need for reform. Several laws have been passed that focus on rehabilitation as opposed to incarceration and punishment. A new law in Illinois aims to help the parents of those convicted of juvenile crimes by allowing their children to get the needed mental health treatment without parents having to give up custody.
In the past, if a juvenile offender needed mental health treatment, and their parents were unable to afford it, they would have to give up custody to the Department of Children and Family Services in order to get treatment for their child. It costs around $100,000 per year for residential mental health treatment. If parents could not afford this, they had to decide between keeping custody or getting their child the treatment that he or she needed.
The new law could spare families from having to make this type of tough decision. There is a catch, however. The family must have a grant known as the Family Support Program to fund the services or have a pending application. According to one advocate, there are currently around 100 children in court-mandated DCFS custody so that they can have mental health treatment access. He says no family should ever be forced to choose between custody and rehabilitation.
It goes without saying that juveniles often make the wrong choices early in life. Individuals should not have to suffer their entire lives just for making a mistake in their youth. By seeking legal representation, those in Illinois who have been charged with juvenile crimes could obtain much-needed guidance while ensuring that their rights are protected.