Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Justice Director: Jennifer Larrabee, League of Women Voters Glen Ellyn

Latest Report: September 2019

I had the opportunity to meet with Shannon Hartnett, who is the Executive Director of the Northeast DuPage Family and Youth Services (please see her full bio below) on August 27th to collaborate on the LWVGE’s November 21st Community meeting topic of Juvenile Justice. Having worked with justice involved youth in surrounding counties; I was particularly struck with how progressive and proactive DuPage County’s approach is with youth who are often labeled “juvenile delinquents/JD.”

Ms. Hartnett has an extensive understanding of the juvenile court process as well as the diversion services frequently offered to youths involved in JD court. Below is the proposed summary of what Ms. Hartnett and I discussed as the suggested topic for our November Community meeting.

Issues and Trends in Juvenile Justice

Illinois is a pioneer in the field of juvenile justice having established the first juvenile court in 1899.  This court recognized that youth are different than adults and require a distinct legal, policy, and program response.  DuPage County has many model programs and practices that reflect this founding principle. This presentation will cover state and local trends in juvenile justice and highlight several innovative and effective programs being implemented throughout DuPage County.

Shannon Hartnett, M.A. is the Executive Director of Northeast DuPage Family and Youth Services (NEDFYS).  Ms. Hartnett is leading the agency’s efforts to engage police departments, the court system, schools, and other community-based agencies to ensure individuals and families from diverse and underserved communities throughout DuPage County have access to quality mental health services.  Shannon has a strong background at the state and county levels in the areas of violence prevention, mental health promotion, and criminal and juvenile justice policy and practice. She previously supervised the Juvenile Diversion and Victims Services Unit for the 18th Judicial Circuit Department of Probation and Court Services.  During her time with DuPage County, Shannon also revived the DuPage County Juvenile Justice Council (JJC) and managed several federal, state, and local grants. In 2015, Shannon co-authored the Adolescent Domestic Battery Typologies Tool Manual published by the John D. and Catherine T. Foundation and has spoken at several national and statewide conferences on this topic.   Shannon holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Loyola University-Chicago. 

Respectfully submitted,

Jennifer Larrabee, Juvenile Justice

October 9, 2018

Juvenile Justice Report

Our last LWV program on Juvenile Justice in 2016 had Betsy Clark, the President and Founder of the Juvenile Justice Initiative, present on current policy. Therefore, Michelle Thorsell, Sally Fairbank and I thought it would be a nice complement to have a program that presents what is being done directly in our community to assist troubled youth in DuPage County.

 Shannon Hartnett is the Executive Director of Northeast DuPage Family and Youth Services (NEDFYS).

 Jennifer Hess is the DuPage County Juvenile Probation Program Manager. (waiting on confirmation)

 Kathy McNamara is a Senior Juvenile Probation Officer in DuPage County.  (waiting on confirmation)

 Here is a summary of discussion topics being considered which are relevant to DuPage County:

 -Scope of the issue: how many youth in the system now compared to in the past.

-Youth who are dually involved in the system

-The role of the Juvenile Justice Council in DuPage County

-Services for youth on probation

-The emphasis on deflecting and supporting youth vs. detaining youth

-New federal grant received to address the issue of girls in the juvenile justice system                   for domestic violence.


Submitted by:

Jennifer Larrabee


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