Calls grow in Illinois to help kids manage their mental health

There is a new push in Illinois to help kids manage their mental health.

Calls are growing to address kids being stuck inside the revolving door of a mental health crisis.

On Thursday, a state Senate committee heard from people on the front lines of the crisis.


The Juvenile Justice Center in Kane County has reported seeing an increase of kids with significant mental health disorders.

Operators say the issue has contributed to how long kids are in detention centers, going from 13 days in 2019 to 25 days in 2021. They say when kids threaten to take their lives, or do harm themselves, they can't find a bed at a mental health facility.

"In most cases, a mental health facility willing to accept them is never found. The youth is then reassessed by the emergency room after 72 hours and despite having received no mental health services, they are most often no longer found to be in need of in-patient treatment and are returned to my facility," said Michael Davis, Kane County Juvenile Justice Center superintendent.

Detention center operators also say that mental health facilities are private agencies and can't be ordered by the courts to accept juveniles in custody.