Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY) believes all youth should have the essential elements needed to build and maintain their physical, emotional, and economic well being. Unfortunately, not all children and youth have the safe, stable environment they need to thrive, putting them at greater risk of involvement with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
Rising. Elevating. And. Leadership. (R.E.A.L.) Youth Initiative:
Rising. Elevating. And. Leading. Youth Initiative (R.E.A.L.) is an unassociated group facilitated by previously incarcerated young people. It is a youth-led, peer-mentor resource hub which addresses the trauma and PTSD of incarceration and post-incarceration community re-entry. R.E.A.L. founders Denzel Burke and Destine Phillips work with young people to address these issues with community education, professional development, the arts, and the use of peace circles for conflict resolution. ICOY is supporting and working with them to ensure they can become a successful standalone 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the future. Find out more about Denzel and Destine on our Staff page.
Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)
To prevent youth from engaging in risk-taking behaviors that increase their likelihood of entering the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, ICOY works in collaboration with IDHS to provide training, technical assistance and other valuable support to family-serving organizations who implement the following IDHS programs that support the following youth prevention, intervention and diversion programs:
Illinois Youth Investment Program (IYIP):
To address youth unemployment, poverty, and violence in Illinois' neediest communities, IYIP is a year-round grant opportunity sponsored by IDHS that helps youth secure and sustain employment and/or achieve higher education, ensuring a greater likelihood of success and self-sufficiency. In an effort to foster healthy, safe, well-educated, and self-sufficient transition-age youth in Illinois, IYIP sites provide youth with (1) educational enhancement opportunities, (2) full- and part-time job placements and (3) case management services.
Community Youth Services (CYS) Program:
CYS is an IDHS grant program that implements a systematic community planning approach for preventing violence and delinquency among Illinois youth (ages 11 to 24 years). To strengthen communities and ensure youth reach their greatest potential, the approach seeks to improve the health and safety of youth by addressing underlying risk factors and conditions that increase the likelihood of youth engagement in unhealthy or risky behaviors. Community residents are organized into committees and charged with developing and implementing strategies, activities, and services intended to prevent delinquency and violence. CYS sites provide youth with (1) life skills development, (2) college and career preparation, and (3) connections to existing health, employment, and human services.
Training is tailored to meet the needs of IDHS providers while incorporating culturally sensitive, developmentally appropriate materials and best practices. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available for qualifying licensed professionals who attend.