Friday, June 2

Gov. Blagojevich names acting director of new Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice          Send a link to a friend

New department to provide treatment and services to juvenile offenders

[JUNE 2, 2006]  SPRINGFIELD -- On May 26, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich named Kurt Friedenauer as the acting director of the new Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. Last fall, the governor signed legislation creating the new department, which will provide treatment and educational, vocational, social and emotional services to the state's young offenders to help them get on the right track. Friedenauer currently serves as the deputy director of the Juvenile Corrections Division within the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Senate Bill 92, sponsored by Rep. Annazette Collins, D-Chicago, and Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, separates the juvenile justice operations from within the Department of Corrections and makes the division its own agency. The legislation was approved during the fall veto session and was signed into law by the governor on Nov. 17, 2005.

After the governor signed the law, he assembled a transition team of elected officials and advocacy groups to be responsible for gathering and evaluating information and making recommendations on key programmatic and organizational issues that will confront the new Department of Juvenile Justice. The transition team broke into several work groups and focused on four key areas: administration and organization, services, training, and evaluation.

"The new Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice will give troubled kids the help they need to make sure a brush with the law in their youth doesn't lead to a lifetime of crime and incarceration," Blagojevich said. "I believe Kurt Friedenauer is equipped to lead the new agency through such an important transitional period. While the search for a permanent director will continue, Kurt understands his mission and the mission of the new Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. I would like to thank all the members of the transition team that helped mold the vision for the new department."

Approximately 1,400 juveniles are incarcerated within the Illinois Department of Corrections, and nearly 47 percent of juvenile offenders return to the system. By creating a separate Department of Juvenile Justice, young offenders will receive individualized services, including educational, vocational, social and emotional services that will help enable them to become productive adults. It's expected that the new department will help reduce the number of juvenile offenders who return to the juvenile system.

In addition to the services provided inside juvenile facilities, the new department will also provide transitional and post-release treatment programs for juveniles, including counseling, mental health and substance-abuse services.

Eight juvenile facilities and the Department of Corrections School District will move from the Illinois Department of Corrections into the new department. The new department is "budget-neutral," meaning that its funding, approximately $125 million, will simply be transferred from the existing budget of the Department of Corrections.

"The creation of a new Department of Juvenile Justice by Governor Blagojevich puts Illinois in the forefront of fighting crime and preventing juvenile delinquency," said Sen. Carol Ronen, D-Chicago, a member of the transition team. "The recommendations that have been made by the transition team will ensure that this new department will function smoothly and efficiently. We know that the best way to keep juveniles from lives of crime is to intervene early with effective strategies, services and punishment."

"The excellent work produced by this transition team provides a superb road map for the development of the new department," said Paula Wolff, senior executive with Metropolis 2020 and co-chair of the transition team. "Expectations and opportunities are high for a system that will reduce crime and lead youth to good jobs and productive citizenship."

Illinois joins 39 other states that currently separate their juvenile and adult corrections systems. Implementation of the new agency will begin on July 1.

"I think that the selection of Kurt Friedenauer is a fantastic idea," said Rep. Collins, sponsor of the legislation creating the new agency and co-chair of the transition team. "As the current deputy director of the Juvenile Corrections Division within the Illinois Department of Corrections, he has served on the transitional team with pride and dignity in helping to develop this new department. He will lead the new agency into the 21st century, making Illinois once again the leader in juvenile justice."

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Friedenauer has served as deputy director of the Juvenile Corrections Division in Illinois since October 2004. From October 2001 until October 2004, he was vice president of Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Services at Rosecrance Health Network in Rockford. He also served as assistant secretary of probation and community corrections in the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice from August 2000 until October of 2001. During his tenure in Florida, Friedenauer was directly responsible for helping implement a major restructuring of the Department of Juvenile Justice, while managing a diverse work force of over 1,700 employees and an annual operating budget of $140 million.

"I am pleased and honored that the governor put his faith in me to lead this new agency through such a critical period," said Friedenauer. "I'm confident that by working with all the leaders and groups that were instrumental parts of the transition team, that the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice will be a success. I look forward to the challenge and thank Governor Blagojevich for the opportunity."

Members of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice transition team:

  • Sen. John Cullerton, co-chair

  • Rep. Annazette Collins, co-chair

  • Paula Wolff, co-chair

  • Rep. Patti Bellock

  • Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie

  • Rep. Julie Hamos

  • Rep. Patrician Lindner

  • Rep. Robert Molaro

  • Rep. Brandon Phelps

  • Sen. Kwame Raoul

  • Sen. Carol Ronen

  • House Democratic staff

  • Senate Democratic staff

  • House Republican staff


  • American Academy of Pediatrics, Illinois Chapter

  • Chicago Metropolis 2020

  • Chicago Police Department

  • Child Care Association

  • Community and Residential Services Authority

  • Cook County Hospital

  • Cook County Juvenile Court Clinic

  • Cook County Public Defender's Office

  • Cook County State's Attorney -- Juvenile Justice Bureau

  • Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois

  • Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police

  • Illinois Balanced and Restorative Justice Initiative Board

  • Illinois Collaboration on Youth

  • Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority

  • Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

  • Illinois Department of Corrections

  • Illinois Department of Human Services

  • Illinois Latino Research Institute

  • Illinois State's Attorney Association

  • Illinois State Board of Education

  • Illinois Violence Prevention Authority

  • Inner City Teaching Corps

  • John Howard Association

  • Judicial Advisory Council

  • Juvenile Justice Initiative

  • Kaleidoscope Inc.

  • League of Women Voters of Illinois

  • Little Village CDC

  • Metropolitan Family Services

  • Northwestern University

  • Safer Foundation

  • TASC

  • Voices for Illinois Children

  • YMCA Street Intervention Program

[News release from the governor's office]

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