Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Announces Justice Advisory Council Grants to Provide Services to Justice-Involved Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is pleased to announce that the Justice Advisory Council has awarded two grants of $250,000 each to Catholic Charities and the McDermott Center, D/B/A Haymarket Center, to provide comprehensive services to justice-involved pregnant and postpartum women and their young children. The grants fund services including counseling, parenting skills, drug treatment, job placement and medical care. 

Catholic Charities and Haymarket have a long history of serving women in the justice system. The overriding concern is that justice involvement must not prevent a woman or her children from receiving the best possible health care. In turn, this health care must be supported by substance abuse treatment, housing, counselling, education and employment services. Services will be provided countywide. 

“We are fortunate to have providers with extensive experience enrolling and serving members of a traumatized, marginalized, and very vulnerable group of women,” said President Preckwinkle. “Expecting a child is a unique opportunity to engage a troubled woman in services. Pregnancy and childbirth provide intense motivation for change.”

Commissioner Bridget Gainer, a longtime advocate for pregnant women in the criminal justice system pointed out, “This is the beginning of a new life and it would be a tragedy to miss the chance to help a child and a mother lead a healthy and productive life.”

“We know that children whose parents are involved in the criminal justice system are at greater risk of following the same path. These grants allow the county to start on day one to tackle recidivism as an intergenerational occurrence,” said Gainer.