By: Katie Jones
It houses some of the most dangerous and disturbed young offenders in Illinois. Now, a QCA Juvenile Justice Center is getting slammed how its youth are cared for In a 14 page report, the John Howard Association of Illinois says juveniles at the Illinois Youth Center in Kewanee aren't getting proper treatment. But one worker tells us that's not the case. It's the same plot, different story line. State facilities all across Illinois are suffering.
"Quite honestly Juvenile justice hasn't been the great success that it was supposed to have been and that's because the lack of funding" IYC Kewanee Union President Tod Williams said.
Now, the Illinois Youth Center in Kewanee is in the spotlight, criticized for short staff and insufficient care. The watchdog group visited the facility in September and when the report was issued Thursday, it said only eight of 17 mental health positions were filled. But union President Tod Williams said that problem falls in the lap, of Governor Pat Quinn.
"If he wants them fully staffed he should make the money available, do the hiring the correct way. Don't post the Job in August then try and hire in December that's not going to work. People need jobs they're not going to wait around 4 months," Williams said.
The report also states at the time of JHA's visit, youth at Kewanee received approximately 30 minutes of treatment per week, which is far less than youth in other IDJJ facilities While Williams admits they're understaffed he said the center is making progress.
"They will be starting groups again in January. At that time each youth will get two hours a week of group therapy," Williams said.
It's that type of therapy Williams said is crucial for youth with the worst mental disturbances. "One day every one of these kids will be released. You don't want to put them out on the street if they've got issues. If our intention is to heal these youth, then the state needs to have the financial resources available to do it," Williams said.
Williams said since the JHA visited the Kewanee Illinois youth center two more mental health specialists have been hired and says they're hoping to fill the rest of the positions in the near future.