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CHICAGO, IL, NOVEMBER 19, 1997 -- "Protecting Children, Treating Families, Rebuilding Lives," a partnership between Chicago’s Juvenile Protective Association and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, today garnered one of two Honorable Mentions in the competition for Mutual of America Life Insurance Company’s 1997 Community Partnership Award.
The annual award is given to nonprofit organizations nationwide that have created partnerships with the private, public and social sectors that aid in the development of cohesive communities.

Since 1994, the Juvenile Protective Association has been collaborating with DCFS to help create a model treatment program for abused and neglected children and their families, and to institute a Best Practices model for child welfare.

Today, a Model of Practice has been formed on the premise that the clients are responsible for their own actions and are the persons who need to be engaged if change is to occur.

"The Award Selection Committee was impressed by the ‘Protecting Children, Treating Families, Rebuilding Lives’ program’s impact on the lives of the children and families it serves," said Thomas Gilliam, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mutual of America Foundation. "The program is an excellent example of how government in partnership with the social sectors can work in a positive, creative and more efficient manner."

Under the program, clients receive an individualized assessment and treatment plan that ranges from assistance with food, shelter, employment and education, to various forms of counseling and psychotherapy.

"Through this partnership, JPA and DCFS have redefined how child welfare professionals treat clients beyond a child abuse investigation and court action," said DCFS Director Jess McDonald. "The model’s basic premise is that clients must be empowered to take responsibility for their actions, rather than social service providers doing the work for them. As a result, DCFS is redesigning its training to enhance direct service workers’ skills in helping families define their own goals and desirable outcomes."

The Juvenile Protective Association is one of only a few agencies which provides extended counseling for as long as it is needed, and services are provided free of charge to those who cannot afford them.

"The new Model of Practice explicitly defines dysfunctional areas of family life and how families can be engaged in healing and changing those areas," said Richard Calica, Executive Director of the Juvenile Protective Association. "Our success demonstrates that the negative effects can be remedied when child and adolescent victims are responded to swiftly with care and compassion."

The criteria for the Mutual of American Community Partnership Award are the duration of the partnership (a minimum of one year), a demonstration that the partnership has made a difference, the ability of the partnership to be replicated and to stimulate new ideas in addressing social issues, and the partnership’s commitment to the mission and principles of the organization.

The Community Partnership Award winner for 1997 was the ACORN Clinic of Brooker, Fla., for its "A Level Playing Field" program, which operates in partnership with the University of Florida in Gainesville.



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