3, 2003)--Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Maryville Academy and the Illinois
Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) today announced a plan
that will convert Maryville's Des Plaines Campus into the state's first
center for academic achievement serving children in Illinois' child welfare
Of the 3000
wards aged 17 to 19, only one-third graduate from high school. Currently,
there are over 500 wards in college programs. The Department of Children
and Family Services is proposing the creation of the academic center to
serve this important group of youth in state care in ways that have never
been available before.
As proposed, the Maryville Des Plaines Campus will target DCFS wards aged
17 and older in an academic setting. This includes children finishing
high school who wish to do college prep work, college students in the
DCFS system who need a home for vacations and holidays, and college students
who are on summer break and wish to participate in internships, summer
jobs or other corporate opportunities. In addition, the center will serve
high school graduates who prefer vocational training. This center for
academic excellence will enhance the achievements of the most talented
and capable children in state.
There will be an application process to gain admission to the program.
DCFS and the Maryville staff will jointly review the applications. The
admissions committee will consider both the ward's accomplishments as
well as potential. In order to be eligible, the child must have no recent
history of violence, runaway or major acting out. The admission committee
can consider a ward's history of delinquency or treatment in deciding
whether to admit that candidate.
would be on Maryville's open campus, staffed by providers with expertise
in secondary and higher education. It will have an on-campus school available
to assist in tutoring, advance placements and vocational training. Staff
will also include guidance counselors and a school psychologist. Corporate
sponsors and community agencies will be recruited to help in the vocational
work, summer jobs and permanent jobs for the wards completing the program.
come from foster homes, relative placement or any other DCFS-funded institution.
The process will be similar to receiving a scholarship. Relatives, friends
and foster families will still be involved with the wards. Events, such
as graduations and holidays, will be open, inclusive events.
As the Des
Plaines campus transitions from primarily a residential treatment center
to an academic excellence center, Maryville and DCFS will work together
to transfer some of the current wards to other programs. Maryville will
have a period of eight weeks to complete their program reforms and initiate
the transitioning of the Des Plaines Campus to a center for academic achievement.
transition period, the majority of youth at Des Plaines will remain at
the campus until they are able to complete their treatment programs during
the coming year and move into community placements. A group of current
wards at the campus that are eligible for the academic program will be
enrolled in the program when it starts up.
Maryville will also complete a clinical treatment plan for every child
on the campus, detailing the exact care each child will receive, and the
timeframe for remaining on the Des Plaines campus. The average length
of stay for a child living on the Des Plaines campus is intended to be
eleven months. As the children who currently live on the campus receive
the care they need and move on to the next appropriate level of care,
DCFS will begin sending children to the campus who wish to participate
in the academic achievement institution.
for academic achievement will be the first of its kind in the country.
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Illinois Department of Children and Family Services