The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC) Probation Services Division sought and received funds from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to implement initiatives to support the development of a statewide training and technical assistance program to address the training needs of new Problem-Solving Courts (PSC) and the ongoing training needs of experienced PSC. AOIC Probation Services Division has accomplished these goals through a multi-pronged approach including data collection, curriculum, courses, and training workshops for the PSC of Illinois.

The AOIC Probation Services Division formed the PSC Curriculum Committee in early 2020. The overall PSC curriculum, individual courses, workshops, and workshop faculty, were proposed, developed, and vetted over the past two years by the PSC Curriculum Committee, and approved by the Supreme Court of Illinois Judicial College Board of Trustees, the Committee on Probation Education (COPE), and the Committee on Judicial Education (COJE), as well as the Special Supreme Court Advisory Committee for Justice and Mental Health Planning (JMHP), which includes Mr. Scott Block, the AOIC Statewide Behavioral Health Administrator. In addition, AOIC Probation Services Division has utilized technical services from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) for advising, curriculum development, professional development, and training.

The Supreme Court of Illinois Judicial College Board of Trustees approved the following 17 courses (and faculty), representing a wide range of topics pertinent to PSC in Illinois:

  • Introduction and Definition
  • Planning and Administration
  • Team Members and Team Dynamics
  • Referral, Assessment, and Entry
  • Case Supervision, Treatment, and Case Plans
  • Phases
  • Drug Testing
  • Sanctions, Incentives, and TA
  • Certification and Recertification
  • Ethics
  • Confidentiality
  • Technology in the PSC
  • Mental Illness
  • Substance Use Disorders and MAT
  • Co-Occurring Disorders
  • Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care
  • Secondary Trauma

These PSC courses are intended for all Illinois PSC, including 68 Drug Courts, 19 Veterans’ Courts, 29 Mental Health Courts, and 2 DUI Courts. Faculty are composed of a variety of professionals including judges, attorneys, probation officers, coordinators, and treatment providers. Faculty are experienced with PSC operations and the challenges that PSC face. Faculty, with the support of AOIC, can bring these training opportunities to the courts in their local jurisdictions.

In addition, trainings may be used to earn Continuing Education (CE) credits for judges, probation officers, and other eligible participants, as well as general PSC training requirements for PSC courts. AOIC anticipates a November 2022 start date for PSC trainings.