Guest column: Metzger

Health insurance marketplace

The DeKalb County Health Department is one of 82 local health departments in Illinois selected to participate in the outreach and enrollment effort for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The grant for local health departments was awarded to the Illinois Association of Public Health Administrators by the Illinois Department of Public Health in coordination with the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace.

In-person counselors will help consumers understand coverage options, determine eligibility and enroll in new affordable health insurance options. They will also provide unbiased information about the health insurance marketplace, qualified health plans, tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, as well as Medicaid.

Enrollment in the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace began on Oct. 1, with coverage to start Jan. 1. The marketplace is accessed through a website where individuals can compare health care policies and premiums and purchase comprehensive health coverage.

Health department staff will take part in an intensive training program designed to prepare them to educate consumers about the ACA and their health insurance options.

According to Jane Lux, public health administrator, the countywide outreach and enrollment initiative Enroll DeKalb County will involve the collaboration of many organizations in all sectors of our community.

“Through this grant, we have a unique opportunity to work with our partners to reach the uninsured persons in our community and help connect them with the benefits of health insurance coverage under the new health care law,” she said. “Already, consumers can find answers to common questions and learn about the Illinois marketplace."

Go to, and, or call the 24/7 Consumer Call Center at 1-800-318-2596.

Juvenile Justice Council

As part of the DeKalb County Juvenile Justice Council, I am pleased to present you with our 2014 – 2017 Strategic Plan. I want to share with you how this plan was created, and how we plan to utilize it in the coming years.

Early in 2013, a group of persons gathered who are interested in bettering outcomes for youth who are either involved in the juvenile justice system or at risk of becoming involved. These persons set out to create a plan that can be used to guide our work.

We began by hosting a series of community focus groups, gathering information from people involved in and working with the system. We then integrated that information with research on best practices in the field and requirements set out in the statute governing community juvenile justice councils.

We determined that we wanted a plan that is user-friendly, and wouldn't just be placed on a shelf. We wanted the document to be something that can be utilized by workgroups, as they determine what specific projects need to be recommended in the future.

The result is the strategic plan detailed below.

Juvenile Justice Council

Strategic Plan: 2014 – 2017

Community Collaboration

Goal: To develop and implement a system of collaboration to address the needs of individuals involved in the Juvenile Justice System.

Rationale: A unified system of collaboration will increase positive outcomes for youth without duplicating services, therefore reducing costs to the community.


  1. To educate community members and service providers on the causes of delinquent behaviors and what research shows works effectively to prevent and reduce those identified behaviors.

  2. To institute the use of formal cooperative interagency agreements.

Juvenile Delinquency

Goal: To reduce delinquent behaviors in DeKalb County as measured by risk/protective factors.

Rationale: Reducing delinquent behavior increases the quality of life for youth and families while increasing community safety and reducing costs to the community.


  1. To encourage the use of a standardized risk assessment tool by all youth agencies and schools who provide services geared towards prevention and reduction of delinquent behaviors.

  2. To focus resources on programs that are proven by research to decrease delinquent behaviors.


Goal: To improve school attendance for all K-12 students.

Rationale: Increased attendance improves academic achievement, increases employability, decreases juvenile delinquency and reduces costs to the community.


  1. To explore and encourage the adoption of a county wide attendance policy

  2. To review and revise, as necessary, the procedures for truancy intervention including referrals, pre-court hearings, diversion and court referrals.

The next step is for individual workgroups to begin meeting and setting up action plans that will lead to the achievement of the overall goals and objectives.

If you are interested in being a part of this process, please contact Peggy Carey, who is the Coordinator of the Juvenile Justice Council. She can be reached at 815-895-7199.

We look forward to working together to improve the lives of youth in our community.

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