Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Melissa Merz
877-844-5461 (TTY)
January 5, 2006


The Office of Attorney General Lisa Madigan is scheduled to conduct a training session at the Illinois Chiefs of Police winter training conference on Saturday, January 7, in St. Charles, to alert law enforcement from across the state about a resource available to help in providing crisis mental health services to youth.

The training session will focus on the SASS/CARES (Screening, Assessment and Support Services/Crisis and Referral Entry Services) program, which serves youth experiencing a mental health crisis. SASS/CARES is provided to eligible Illinois residents through a collaboration with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Department of Human Services (DHS) and Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS).

The program is one tool available to law enforcement to help families obtain needed services and avoid contact with the juvenile justice system, if appropriate. Law enforcement and parents can report an at-risk child or connect with mental health service providers in their areas by calling the SASS/CARE hotline at: 1-800-345-9049 (voice) or 1-773-523-4505 (TTY).

According to a recent survey of law enforcement leaders from across the state, youth with unmet mental health needs often end up in the juvenile justice system. The survey, conducted by Fight Crime Invest in Kids, revealed that more than 67 percent of the law enforcement leaders surveyed felt there were not enough youth mental health treatment services available in their communities. However, more than 96 percent of respondents believe that stronger collaboration between law enforcement, schools, child welfare agencies and county mental health programs would help kids with mental health problems.

The SASS/CARES training session at the Illinois Chiefs of Police winter training conference will be conducted by Diann Marsalek, Policy Advisor for Madigan’s office; Patricia Roy, M.D., Acting Deputy Director, Illinois Child and Adolescent Services, DHS; Jane Hastings, Statewide Manger for the SASS program, DCFS; and Toni Rozanski, Manager, Federal and State Medicaid Monitoring, HFS.

The training session is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at the Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles .


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