Durbin Announces $750,000 For UCAN's Trauma-Informed Violence Prevention Programming

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today announced $750,000 in new Congressionally Directed Spending—also known as an earmark—in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 omnibus appropriations bill for UCAN to expand its trauma-informed violence prevention and intervention program to more communities.  Programming includes individual and group coaching, mediation, planning and case management, and mental health services to individuals who have experienced trauma and are at risk of being involved in the cycle of violence. 

“Every shooting leaves ripple effects across the community for the kids who witness the violence, who endure the loss of a loved one, or who live in constant fear they might be the next victim.  Often, this trauma ends up fueling the cycle of violence,” said Durbin.  But if we help children cope with traumatic experiences, we can work to break the cycle of violence—which is precisely what UCAN is working to achieve with its trauma-informed violence prevention and intervention programs.  This additional federal funding will go to help even more kids and individuals break that cycle.” 

UCAN serves more than 21,000 at-risk youth across Illinois with a full continuum of trauma-informed services.  Programs include a therapeutic youth home, a K-12 day school, clinical and counseling services, violence prevention programs, and workforce development.  One key program is UCAN’s Summer Youth Employment Program, which is funded through the City’s “One Summer Chicago” effort and provides job placement to more than 200 young people ages 16-24.

Last month, Pres. Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which includes several new gun safety reforms and mental health resources.  Notably, the law provides more than $3 billion in additional appropriations for school-and community-based mental health and trauma-informed care. This new funding will build upon more than $500 million in American Rescue Plan funds that Chicago, Cook County, and the State of Illinois are dedicating toward violence prevention.