‘Leading Change: Illinois Innovations Series’ Highlights Mental Health Initiatives in Illinois Courts

Illinois Supreme Court

The Leading Change: Illinois Innovation Series will share presentations on “Illinois-based” approaches and strategies for mental health accommodations in the legal and justice systems.

Developed by Scott Block, the Illinois Supreme Court Statewide Behavioral Health Administrator, and the Special Supreme Court Advisory Committee for Justice and Mental Health Planning’s Education Subcommittee, the series highlights initiatives that support strategic initiatives within the Illinois Mental Health Task Force Action Plan.

Each of the presentations will take place from 12:15 to 1 p.m. on the first Friday of each month. There are currently presentations scheduled for each month throughout 2024, except June and July.

To view and register for the upcoming sessions, please visit the Illinois Supreme Court website. These educational events have not been approved for CLE credits.

What to expect from the Leading Change: Illinois Innovation Series

Presenters include court administrators, assistant state’s attorneys, probation services professionals, and other courthouse and legal professionals.

These presenters will cover topics such as how court programs can benefit the behavioral health, mental health, and wellness of individuals in the court system, intervention strategies, and reducing recidivism.

For example, the first installment in the series was presented by Kevin McCall, McLean County’s Director of Behavioral Health Coordination, on January 5, 2024.

He shared how McLean County has adopted the FUSE model, “a signature initiative of the Corporation for Supportive Housing designed to ‘help communities break the cycle of homelessness and crisis among individuals with complex medical and behavioral health challenges.’” Watch a recording of the presentation here.

The next session will be held on February 2. Judge John T. Gibbons and Deputy Court Administrator Emily Behnke from the 17th Judicial Circuit Court, will present on the Misdemeanant Wellness Track.

Illinois Mental Health Task Force

The Illinois Mental Health Task Force’s Action Plan was announced in November 2022.

The plan serves as a guide for the Illinois courts, communities, agencies, institutions, and organizations to improve the justice system’s response to individuals living with mental illness and cooccurring substance use disorders, according to the Illinois Supreme Court Annual Report.

It was developed with the National Center for State Courts, judges, court professionals, government and state agencies, and behavioral health and social service providers.

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