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(730 ILCS 5/3-2.7-25)
Duties and powers.
(a) The Independent Juvenile Ombudsman shall function independently within the Department of Juvenile Justice with respect to the operations of the Office in performance of his or her duties under this Article and shall report to the Governor. The Ombudsman shall adopt rules and standards as may be
necessary or desirable to carry out his or her duties. Funding
for the Office shall be designated separately within
Department funds. The Department shall provide necessary administrative services and facilities to the Office of the Independent Juvenile Ombudsman.
(b) The Office of Independent Juvenile Ombudsman shall have
the following duties:
(1) review and monitor the implementation of the
rules and standards established by the Department of Juvenile Justice and evaluate the delivery of services to youth to ensure that the rights of youth are fully observed;
(2) provide assistance to a youth or family whom the
Ombudsman determines is in need of assistance, including advocating with an agency, provider, or other person in the best interests of the youth;
(3) investigate and attempt to resolve complaints
made by or on behalf of youth, other than complaints alleging criminal behavior or violations of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, if the Office determines that the investigation and resolution would further the purpose of the Office, and:
(A) a youth committed to the Department of
Juvenile Justice or the youth's family is in need of assistance from the Office; or
(B) a systemic issue in the Department of
Juvenile Justice's provision of services is raised by a complaint;
(4) review or inspect periodically the facilities and
procedures of any facility in which a youth has been placed by the Department of Juvenile Justice to ensure that the rights of youth are fully observed; and
(5) be accessible to and meet confidentially and
regularly with youth committed to the Department and serve as a resource by informing them of pertinent laws, rules, and policies, and their rights thereunder.
(c) The following cases shall be reported immediately to
the Director of Juvenile Justice and the Governor:
(1) cases of severe abuse or injury of a youth;
(2) serious misconduct, misfeasance, malfeasance, or
serious violations of policies and procedures concerning the administration of a Department of Juvenile Justice program or operation;
(3) serious problems concerning the delivery of
services in a facility operated by or under contract with the Department of Juvenile Justice;
(4) interference by the Department of Juvenile
Justice with an investigation conducted by the Office; and
(5) other cases as deemed necessary by the Ombudsman.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the
Ombudsman may not investigate alleged criminal behavior or violations of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. If the
Ombudsman determines that a possible criminal act has been
committed, or that special expertise is required in the
investigation, he or she shall immediately notify the
Illinois State Police. If the Ombudsman determines that a possible violation of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act has occurred, he or she shall immediately refer the incident to the Office of the Governor's Executive Inspector General for investigation. If the Ombudsman receives a complaint from a youth or third party regarding suspected abuse or neglect of a child, the Ombudsman shall refer the incident to the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline or to the Illinois State Police as mandated by the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act. Any investigation conducted by the
Ombudsman shall not be duplicative and shall be separate from
any investigation mandated by the Abused and Neglected Child
All investigations conducted by the Ombudsman shall be
conducted in a manner designed to ensure the preservation of
evidence for possible use in a criminal prosecution.
(e) In performance of his or her duties, the
(1) review court files of youth;
(2) recommend policies, rules, and legislation
designed to protect youth;
(3) make appropriate referrals under any of the
duties and powers listed in this Section;
(4) attend internal administrative and disciplinary
hearings to ensure the rights of youth are fully observed and advocate for the best interest of youth when deemed necessary; and
(5) perform other acts, otherwise permitted or
required by law, in furtherance of the purpose of the Office.
(f) To assess if a youth's rights have been violated, the
Ombudsman may, in any matter that does not involve alleged
criminal behavior, contact or consult with an administrator,
employee, youth, parent, expert, or any other individual in the
course of his or her investigation or to secure information as
necessary to fulfill his or her duties.
(Source: P.A. 102-538, eff. 8-20-21.)