Summary of Youth Services

Here is some background information on the services provided by the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services Youth Services Division:

  • The Summer Youth Employment Program operates during the summer months to help provide youth ages 14-24 with career-oriented summer employment to help them develop transferable skills to increase employability through job readiness training. It also provides them with guidance, training, and supervision to help create a meaningful and quality summer job experience.
  • Through the One Summer Chicago initiative, DFSS helps coordinate summer opportunities for along with other City departments, sister agencies and Cook County government.  Many of these opportunities are summer jobs combined with additional support programs and learning opportunities.  During the Summer of 2013, One Summer Chicago provided more than 190,000 activities and 18,000 summer jobs. For more information visit
  • DFSS coordinates and manages the One Summer PLUS initiative that focuses on assisting high-risk youth who attend Chicago public high schools in high crime area. The program provided 1,000 youth in 2013 with enhanced summer jobs or summer jobs with social-emotional learning, and is part of an ongoing evaluation being conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab. One recent finding released by the Crime Lab is that PLUS participants in 2012 experienced a 51% decrease in incidents of violent crimes. So solid data supports our efforts to help many of Chicago’s at risk youth turn their lives around.
  • The Out of School Program provides structured, age appropriate activities for youth (6-18 years old) that develop their social and emotional skills and help build self-confidence, responsibility, awareness, and a sense of safety and belonging. Physical activities are also included to promote the well-being of participants.
  • The Mentoring Program safely connects youth between 6-18 years of age with adult mentors who share their knowledge and experience. The program provides participating youth with accessible role models to help guide them and maximize their developmental potential.
  • The Counseling Program provides group, individual and family counseling sessions for youth ages 6-18 to help overcome obstacles with education, socialization and family stability. Counseling sessions are offered at schools, homes and at delegate agencies.
  • The Gang Intervention and Prevention Program provides case management, home visits, outreach mediation, prevention workshops, life skills, sports and recreational activities for youth 6-18 years old. Case management includes assessment, referrals, court and school advocacy. Agencies provide outreach services a minimum of four evenings a week to engage youth in supports.
  • The Juvenile Intervention and Support Center Program operate in collaboration with the Chicago Police Department in Police Area 1 to provide youth with an alternative to entering the juvenile justice system.Youth are provided with case management to connect them with social services and to address youth and family needs that may be creating barriers to youth success.

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