With many program changes in place, Adler University’s Adler Community Health Services (ACHS) Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has been renamed to the Division of Teen Wellness and Opportunity (TWO).
The program formerly known as ACHS DJJ began over 20 years ago working with over 350 youth in the juvenile justice system, specifically at the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles. Today, that number has significantly decreased due to programs that were put into place using a prevention-based model focused on deferring youth from detention. The decrease in the population led to Adler University’s partnership with the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) to end on August 31, 2021. ACHS TWO will now focus primarily on youth deflection from the juvenile justice system.
Dr. Cara Murphy, Director of Training for the program, states “Despite what seems like an end to working with youth in the juvenile justice system, we’re looking at it as an opportunity for growth and change. We look forward to working with youth in the community who need that same support”
Adler’s program began to shift into a hybrid model several years ago: serving both the IDJJ, as well as several community-based organizations such as Youth Outreach Services (YOS) and After School Matters (ASM). Adler practicum students, doctoral interns, and post-doctoral residents will continue to serve these community organizations through ACHS TWO, providing individual and group counseling, as well as training workshops for embedded instructors.
ACHS TWO is dedicated to providing psychological services to those who might not otherwise receive them. Since starting their partnership with After School Matters in summer 2020, the ASM organization has seen an 805% increase in services accessed by young Chicagoans.
“I love this rebranding because I think it shifts the conversation of risks with young folks, to just the possibilities of young folks,” says Emily Nott, Senior Manager of Learning Communities at ASM, “It’s beyond preventative, it’s transformative.”
In addition to providing counseling services, Adler students lead workshops for ASM’s instructors ranging in topics such as addressing trauma, COVID fatigue, navigating community violence, and bullying.
Adler University Division of Teen Wellness and Opportunity exemplifies a new way to combat youth detention: from the ground up.