complementary statewide volunteer organization, the Juvenile Justice Research Consortium.109
Chaired by faculty from three of Illinois’ leading universities, the Consortium identifies and shares
policy and practice-relevant research, sponsors a regular statewide forum for juvenile justice
researchers and data managers, and helps develop and support an annual research agenda.110 The
Consortium’s work in turn aids members of the Leadership Council to better understand and assess
the effectiveness of reform initiatives taking place across the state.
IV. WITHER THE FUTURE?
As the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative draws to a close after a
decade of work in Illinois, there is reason for optimism that the climate of change that has built up
over the last several years will remain a potent force in the ongoing need to produce better
outcomes for victims, offenders and communities. Success in this regard, however, is not assured.
For one thing, Illinois is in the midst of an historic financial and political crisis. As a consequence,
in the last few years there has been steady erosion in the capacity of community-based agencies to
provide high quality, evidence-based services to children and youth in the justice system.111 Many
agencies have been forced to reduce programming and some have closed their doors.112 Others are
on the verge of bankruptcy. In addition, rumors of public agency consolidation continue to swirl
amid growing worries that the overall budget for human services will be significantly reduced.
These concerns overlap with chronic concerns about Illinois’ patchwork of community-based
programming which relies on diverse funding streams and which too often operates without
significant accountability or evaluation. To make matters worse, Illinois’ deteriorating financial
situation is also threatened by the steady decrease in federal funding to support state and local
juvenile justice reform initiatives.113
The reduction in community-based services is of particular concern to the juvenile justice
system, where much of the impetus for reducing reliance on secure confinement has been
motivated by research indicating that community-based alternatives are preferable to
incarceration.114 If community corrections and treatment services continue to disappear, will
111 Letter from Hon. George Timberlake’s, Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission Chair, to Illinois governor and
members of the legislature expressing concern over cuts to community-based services,
112 See, e.g., LISA CHRISTENSEN GEE, LACK OF BUDGET IS DISMANTLING CRITICAL STATE SERVICES (Voices for Ill.
Children ed., Sept. 2015) http://www.voices4kids.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Lack-of-Budget-Dismantling-
Critical-State-Services-Final.pdf (discussing the impact of a loss of nearly $6 billion in annual state revenues and
identifying categories of affected services, including youth incarceration reduction programs). See also Shia Kapos,
Big Lutheran Social Agency Cuts 750 Jobs Among Budget Impasse, CRAIN’S CHI. BUS. (Jan. 22, 2016),
amid-budget-impasse (discussing budget-fueled cuts to a wide range of agency services, including those affecting
113 Between 2002 and 2015, federal appropriations for juvenile justice declined by more the half, raising concerns that
some states may no longer see a benefit in accepting funds that require compliance with federal policies. See Gary
Gately, Federal Juvenile Justice Funding Declines Precipitously, JUVENILE JUSTICE INFORMATION EXCHANGE (Feb.
12, 2015), http://jjie.org/federal-juvenile-justice-funding-declines-precipitously/.
114 See Public Act 99-0258 (2016) (to be codified as amended at 705 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 405/5-805). Supra note
49 and accompanying text. Acting on this bipartisan support, members of Congress recently introduced the federal