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Vision21 Linking Systems of Care (LSOC) for Children and Youth in Illinois has developed Illinois HEALS (Helping Everyone Access Linked Systems). Illinois HEALS leverages federal, state, and community resources and partnerships 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. 


Strategy highlights include completing a 15-month planning process that culminated with a detailed statewide plan that is guiding a multipronged statewide implementation effort. During 2019, the project entered the implementation phase and is piloting the Illinois Heals model in a five-county region of southern Illinois that has a high level of need and pre-existing community based agencies with experience supporting systems of care. The Illinois HEALS pilot is applying a relational approach to engage, connect, and recognize young victims. Project staff are convening existing health care networks across the region to identify service needs, assisting young victims and their families with navigating screening, providing advocacy while appropriate clinical services are being identified, making service referrals to high-quality services and providing regular follow-ups to ensure the appropriate services are being provided.

Funded Agency

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) serves as the lead agency for the Vision 21: Linking Systems project. The mission of ICJIA is to improve the administration of justice through grant funding, research, policy and planning, and information systems and technology. ICJIA’s mandate was recently expanded to include strategic planning and technical assistance in the area of trauma services for victims of crime. ICJIA brings together key leaders from the justice system and the public to identify critical issues facing the criminal justice system in Illinois, and to propose and evaluate policies, programs, and legislation that address those issues. For more information on Illinois' state project visit their LSC State Agency Website.


  • Reshma Desai
    Project Director | Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority
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  • Paola Baldo
    Research Analyst | Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority
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Illinois: Project Roadmap

Research/Planning Phases



  • Conduct victim interviews (young adults ages 18-25 and caregivers of children under 18)
  • Perform secondary data analysis of a survey of service providers.
  • Conduct a thematic analysis of meeting notes

Anticipated Challenges

  • Procurement process issues relating to hiring translation and transcription services to expand study participants and prepare interview data for qualitative analysis Mapping service delivery that reflects actual practice



  • Assemble Leadership Network \consisting of statewide stakeholders
  • Convene community-level key stakeholders, providers, and residents to gather
  • Survey service providers that screen, identify, and refer victims to services
  • Develop project messaging language – Illinois HEALS – Helping Everyone Access Linked Systems
  • Conduct a comprehensive gap analysis

Anticipated Challenges

  • Capturing information from all regions - rural, suburban, urban
  • Creating a shared vision among many stakeholders


Improve responses to child and youth victims and their families by providing consistent coordinated responses that address the presenting issues and full range of victim needs.

State Data FAQs

What do we know about children and youth from the Census?

What are the racial and ethnic demographics for children and youth populations in the state?
According to 2017 population estimates, White youth comprise 53% of the population ages 0-24 in Illinois, with Hispanic children and youth comprising 24%; Black 17%; Asian 6%; and American Indian less than 1%.

How are children and youth populations changing?
Between 2000 and 2017, white children and youth, ages 0-24 within the state general population, decreased 18% followed by the population of Black youth that decreased 16% and American Indian 11%. In contrast, Asian children and youth increased 44 % and the Hispanic population of children and youth increased 24%.
Puzzanchera, C., Sladky, A. and Kang, W. (2018). "Easy Access to Juvenile Populations: 1990-2017." Online. Available:

What do we know from national surveys of youth behavior in schools?

How prevalent is bullying at high school?
About 1 in 5 high school students report being bullied while at school and about 1 in 7 (15%) report being subject to electronic bullying. Overall, 6% of high school students reported that they did not go to school because they felt unsafe.

How prevalent is dating violence among high school students?
About 1 in 10 (11%) of all high school students reported experiencing physical dating violence (i.e, being hit, slammed into something, or injured with an object or weapon on purpose), and 1 in 10 (11%) reported experiencing sexual dating violence (i.e., kissing, touching, or being forced to have sex when they did not want to by someone they were dating).

What do we know from national data collections concerning child abuse and neglect?

How many children who received an investigation were substantiated as victims?
In 2016, there were 176,169 reports of maltreatment involving 140,480 unique children. More than half (54%) of these reports were unsubstantiated, and 28% resulted in no finding of maltreatment. Nearly one-fifth (18%) of all reports were substantiated, resulting in 29,059 unique child maltreatment victims in 2016.

What is the most common type of child maltreatment?
Neglect (64%) was by far the most common form of maltreatment. Comparatively, physical abuse (20%) and sexual abuse (14%) were less common.

How many children die as a result of maltreatment?
In 2016, there were 64 reported fatalities representing less than one half of 1% of all child victims. The child maltreatment fatality rate of 2.19 (per 100,000 children) in Illinois was below the national rate (2.36).

What is known about child maltreatment perpetrators?
Parents and other family members are the most common child maltreatment perpetrators. In 2016, parents accounted for 76% of reported perpetrators and 7% were other relatives. Unmarried partners of a child’s biological parent accounted for a 5% of perpetrators.