CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named Kurt Friedenauer as the director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) to continue the department’s goal to help the state’s young offenders get on the right track. Friedenauer was named as acting director of IDJJ when the department was created in 2006.
“Today I am pleased to name Kurt Friedenauer, a man with a deep dedication to those that he serves, as director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. In his time as acting director, he has led the agency to make systematic changes in the way that Illinois treats our juvenile offenders,” said Governor Blagojevich.
Under direction of the Governor, Friedenauer has made it the new agency’s top priority to change the culture of incarcerating juveniles in the State of Illinois. He and his staff revised policies and directives that had been traditionally geared towards adults in the prison system.
Over the past two years, IDJJ has made great strides in rehabilitating juvenile offenders, including:
· Reducing the use of adult oriented discipline by significantly reducing the use of confinement without compromising the safety and security of staff and youth;
· Implementing a youth oriented receiving and classification process;
· Hiring a superintendent for School District #428 as well as appointing members to the district and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board;
· Developing new job classifications and responsibilities to better reflect the agency’s mission;
· Placing more emphasis on programming and education; and
· Developing a model for the Aftercare Program.
“I thank Governor Blagojevich for his confidence in my work and his support of our agency. At the Department of Juvenile Justice, we have the opportunity to change a teen’s life by putting him back on the right track. Although we have come a far way since the department was created, there is still an opportunity to change the way we treat our young offenders, and I am eager to keep on working,” said Friedenauer.
Before becoming acting director of the department, Friedenauer served as Deputy Director of the Juvenile Corrections Division in Illinois from October 2004 to May 2006. From October 2001 until October 2004, he was Vice President of Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Services at Rosecrance Health Network in Rockford. He also served as Assistant Secretary of Probation and Community Corrections in the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice from August 2000 until October of 2001.
During his tenure in Florida, Friedenauer was directly responsible for helping implement a major restructuring of the Department of Juvenile Justice while managing a diverse workforce of over 1,700 employees and an annual operating budget of $140 million.
In November 2005, the Governor signed legislation creating the IDJJ that provides individualized treatments and educational, vocational, social and emotional services to the state’s young offenders to help them turn their lives’ around. It also provides transitional and post-release treatment programs for juveniles, including counseling, mental health and substance abuse services.