SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today 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 that 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 division from within the Department of Corrections and makes it its own agency. The legislation was approved during the Fall Veto Session and was signed into law by the Governor on November 17, 2005.
After the Governor signed the law, he assembled a transition team of elected officials and advocacy groups that was 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,” said Governor Blagojevich. “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.”
There are approximately 1,400 juveniles incarcerated within the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) 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, 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 that return to the juvenile system.
In addition to the services provided inside of 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 its funding, approximately $125 million, will simply be transferred from IDOC’s existing budget.
“The creation of a new Department of Juvenile Justice by Governor Blagojevich puts Illinois in the forefront of fighting crime and preventing juvenile delinquency. 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,” said Sen. Carol Ronen (D-Chicago), a member of the transition team.
“The excellent work produced by this transition team provides a superb roadmap 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 1st, 2006.
“I think that the selection of Kurt Friedenauer is a fantastic idea. 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,” said Rep. Collins, sponsor of the legislation creating the new agency and co-chair of the transition team.
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 workforce 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 include:
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. Patricia Lindner
Rep. Robert Molaro
Rep. Brandon Phelps
Sen. Kwame Raoul
Sen. Carol Ronen
House Democrat staff
Senate Democrat 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 Defenders 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
League of Women Voters of Illinois
Little Village CDC
Metropolitan Family Services
Voices for Illinois ChildrenYMCA Street Intervention Program