Mission and Vision
The mission of JPA is to improve the social and emotional well-being and functioning of vulnerable children so they can reach their fullest potential at home, in school, and in our communities.
This is accomplished by providing therapeutic counseling services to at-risk children and families, conducting research, sharing knowledge, and providing expert consultation and guidance to others serving these children and families.
The vision of JPA is vulnerable children and families will have access to the highest quality of services.
Take a look at our latest Fact Sheet!
Celebrating our 115th year
Founded in 1901 by Jane Addams and her colleagues at Hull House as the Juvenile Protective League, JPA provided the first probation officers for the first Juvenile Court in the United States until this became a government function. From 1907 until the 1940's, JPA engaged in many studies examining such subjects as racism, child labor and exploitation, drug abuse and prostitution in Chicago and their effects on child development.
Beginning in the 1940's, as a result of the Welfare Council's attempts to encourage voluntary agencies to collaborate, JPA chose to concentrate on direct service and to help the most resistant clients with a strong outreach (home visiting) component.
In the 1960's, JPA participated with other Child Welfare agencies in
establishing the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
(DCFS). In 1990, JPA made a strategic decision to focus on serving
high-risk and vulnerable families with young children (age 0-5) to
reduce the risk of maltreatment and provide help to vulnerable children
and families early in life to maximize the impact of intervention on
their developmental trajectory.
Departing somewhat from its traditional work of providing therapy at its own site, ten years ago JPA began working in schools in North Lawndale, one of Chicago’s most challenged neighborhoods, in a small school-based pilot. From that initial pilot providing therapy to children in a school-based setting, JPA has grown this approach each succeeding year. Today, virtually all of our therapy is provided in schools and through local community partners. This model has allowed JPA to grow to serve more than 2,000 vulnerable children and their families.
As a leader in research impacting the lives and well-being of abused and neglected children, in 2015, JPA updated a federally funded research project that followed 200 at-risk families for two decades. This extraordinary longitudinal research has produced numerous scholarly articles by JPA and others that have contributed to improving child abuse and neglect prevention policies and practices across the nation. In spring 2015, JPA presented research in Washington, D.C. on the time it takes for services to reach sexually abused children in Chicago. This research, part of a larger effort of the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, calls for specific improvements in coordination of services to reduce an unacceptable lag time between an incident and care.
Because we know that a percentage of the children we work with in the schools have been subjected to sexual abuse, we are sharing our recommendations with schools to assist teachers and administrators as they strive to work more effectively with this target population.
For more than 100 years, JPA programs and services have evolved even as it has stayed true to its mission to improve the social and emotional well-being and functioning of vulnerable children and families.