Teens housed at Chicago’s troubled Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center would receive better medical and mental health care under a comprehensive and detailed set of reforms released yesterday, the Chicago Tribune reports. The wide-ranging, 129-page agreement codifies many changes activists and experts have demanded, while detailing how the county will satisfy a court agreement reached last year with the American Civil Liberties Union.
The plan calls for staff members to write a report on any incident that jeopardizes the safety of staffers or residents by the end of that shift and for copies to be provided to county officials, parents or guardians, and attorneys within 24 hours. A court-appointed official will have full access to the facility–a point of some contention. The county and the ACLU have been in and out of federal court for years over a lawsuit the organization brought in 1999 alleging poor treatment of the children in the facility. One of the plan’s most significant changes will bring new leadership for medical and mental health services. The plan comes at a time when the county is directing all department heads to cut spending by 17 percent.