Youth Violence Prevention Engagement/LEAD Drop-In

The Police Department focus on providing youth services includes what was formerly the Saturday morning Community Service program. Since 1998, the Village of Park Forest has used its M-Court to defer minor juvenile offenders from the Cook and Will County Juvenile Court systems when appropriate. In 2017 this program, which formerly had juveniles found liable in municipal hearings partake in restorative justice community service programs, was transitioned to become the Youth Violence Prevention Engagement (YVPE). This program, which is implemented in partnership with the Urban Youth Trauma Center (UYTC) of the University of Illinois, Chicago, provides curriculum-based, trauma-informed education and mentoring to juvenile offenders for 4 hours on Saturdays for a total of 16 hours. The goal of this program is to provide needed services to at-risk youth to prevent further delinquent behavior. A result of this program has been the implementation of a drop-in program for youth who have completed the YVPE. The Law Enforcement Adolescent Development Drop-In (LEAD Drop-in) arose organically after youth expressed a desire to remain connected with structured adult mentoring. A UYTC employee and police officer engage with youth on Wednesday evenings in this voluntary program which involves both structured and unstructured activities, mentoring, and continued education.