The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority was awarded a Linking Systems of Care for Children and Youth Demonstration grant from the Office for Victims of Crime. This six-year initiative seeks to improve the identification, connection, and service engagement of children, youth, and families impacted by violence in Illinois. Informed by a 15-month planning process, the Illinois HEALS Action Plan will guide the future work of the project to implement policies, practices, and programs that strengthen the capacity of Illinois’ communities to recognize when victimization has occurred and connect and engage young victims and families in needed services.
A large number of children and youth in the United States experience multiple forms of violence in their homes, schools, and community. These experiences can impact a child’s personality development, mental health, academic success, and interpersonal relationships. This article presents data on the prevalence of childhood victimization and exposure to violence in Illinois. Also discussed are the impacts of those experiences and their implications for policy and practice.