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LOCAL WELLNESS POLICY – Revised February, 2020


The Detention Center is a 102-bed facility which houses pre-adjudicatory youth.  The average length of stay for a youth is 23.5 days.  Statutorily, the Detention Center maintains strict adherence to confidentiality regarding Residents confined in the facility.  There is 24/7 on-site medical services and mental health services.  The River Valley Detention Center has year-round school on site.  Joliet Township District 204 teachers are assigned to the Detention Center.  River Valley Detention follows the school calendar for District 204 for school breaks (excluding summer break) and Teacher Institute Days.  As such, the Detention Center has adopted parts of District 204’s School Wellness Policy and incorporated additional parameters site specific to the Detention Center.  Please note that while Residents are in the custody of the River Valley Detention Center, the Superintendent is designated by statute as “parent in loco parentis”.


Resident (Student) Wellness, including good nutrition and physical activity, shall be promoted in the Detention Center’s educational programs, school activities, and meal programs.  This policy shall be interpreted consistently with Section 204 of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004.


River Valley Detention is accredited with the American Correctional Association and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care.  The Detention Center also abides by Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice standards.


Oversight of the Local Wellness Policy is the responsibility of the Facility Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent, as well as the Programs Manager.  This Policy is reviewed and updated annually by a collective meeting including these individuals, stakeholders, teachers and food service personnel.  Tenets of the policy are stringently reviewed for any changes and/or revisions.  Special attention is given to any newly implemented processes or educational elements.


River Valley Detention is under the Judicial Branch.  The Chief Judge and the Director of Court Services are primary stakeholders and are included in the distribution and completion of River Valley’s Local Wellness Policy and any revisions.  Notifications of review timelines are provided to these individuals as well as others involved in the process.


River Valley Detention’s Local Wellness Policy is also available at:






The goals for addressing nutrition education include the following:


·       River Valley Detention will support and promote good nutrition for the Residents;


·       River Valley Detention has school classes on the premises.  While River Valley is different than a regular school, Residents still have unimpeded access to water;


·       River Valley Detention will foster the positive relationship between good nutrition, physical activity, and the capacity for the Residents to grow and learn;


·       Nutrition education will be part of District 204’s comprehensive health education curriculum;


·       River Valley Detention does not provide food-based commissary items, does not have vending machines in the secured portion of the facility where Residents are housed, and does not generate and/or sponsor any fundraisers;



·       Health and Wellness Week which took place in January to kick off the New Year.  River Valley Detention partnered with the Will County Health Department and Joliet Park District to promote and facilitate a successful, informational, and fun learning experience for the Residents.  Components of the week included education on health and nutrition, fitness classes, diabetes, tobacco prevention, sex education, as well as learning about CPR and how to properly perform it;


·       The Joliet Park District Dietician frequently creates presentations for the Residents based on the benefits of eating healthy and also brings with props to demonstrate the differences foods can make in one’s body (fat –v- muscle).  The dietician, at time, will also engage the Residents with making and sampling a healthy snack option like a Yogurt Parfait made with plain vanilla yogurt, granola, blueberries, and strawberries.  The Residents see and taste healthy options, while learning more about the benefits of a nutritious lifestyle;


·       The Detention Center has its own vegetable garden which began in Spring, 2019.  The garden will be ongoing and will include not only Residents as part of the process, but also actively involve Juvenile Detention Officers who sign up to contribute to the daily maintenance of the garden.  In the Fall of 2019, Residents got to see, and taste, the benefits of home gardening by making and enjoying homemade salsa with ingredients straight from the garden;


·       The vegetable garden idea became so popular that in 2019, the Programs Manager started two indoor raised gardens which were maintained by the Residents;



·       The River Valley Detention Center endeavors to have the event “Feed My Starving Children” each year.  The Detention Center has already hosted the event in 2018 and 2019 with great success.  The event has taught Residents about the importance of community service and the extension of that altruism to starving children in other regions of the world. 


“Feed My Starving Children” is a non-profit organization tackling world hunger by sending volunteer-packed, nutritious meals to nearly 70 countries.  This event has been held at River Valley Detention for two years.  In August, 2019, Exelon donated funds to support the event and Exelon representatives were also on site to do a presentation on energy for the Residents. The donated funds were used by “Feed My Starving Children” to purchase the materials and food needed for meal packaging preparation.  The event spans an entire day.  Residents were able to work together to prepare enough food packages to serve 22,896 meals. Residents learned that their community service enabled 62 children to be able to have a meal a day for an entire year.  Participating in an event like this allows the Residents to feel a sense of giving back, while at the same time realizing how precious of a commodity a meal can be for some children;


·       In addition to physical activities, River Valley Detention also promotes and encourages mindful exercises including weekly creative writing programs, book clubs, team-building activities, and other games;  



·       River Valley Detention believes in sound mind and body.  As such, the Detention Center addresses mental and social wellness via weekly on-going programming geared toward Early Intervention Drug Programming in group/individual settings.  Besides drug topics, the programming includes, but is not limited to:  Stress Identification and Management; Values, Norms, and Rules; Teen Stress Screenings; Recognizing Anger, the Anger Cycle, and Triggers; Communication; Worries, Wants, and Needs – Acceptance; as well as Self Esteem; and




·       Residents made Restorative Justice Peace Circles focusing on values based around integrity:  Hope; Trust; Confidentiality; Honesty; Order; Equality; Empathy; Participation; Respect; Relationships; as well as Humor and Listening;






The goals for addressing physical activity include the following:


·       River Valley Detention will support and promote an active lifestyle for Residents, even during non-classroom hours;


·       Physical education will be taught to all Residents and shall include a developmentally planned and sequential curriculum that fosters the development of movement skills, enhances health-related fitness, increases Residents’ knowledge, offers direct opportunities to learn how to work cooperatively in a group setting, and encourages healthy habits and attitudes for a healthy lifestyle;


·       Unless otherwise exempted, all Residents will be required to engage daily during the school day in a physical education course;


·       The curriculum will be consistent with and incorporate relevant Illinois Learning Standards for Physical Development and Health as established by the Illinois State Board of Education; and


·       River Valley Detention will provide various physical activities during non-school hours and normal school breaks.  There is indoor and outdoor recreation available to youth.  A Program Manager aligns physical activities for Residents with Juvenile Detention Officers, including, but not limited to:

Basketball and volleyball tournaments; and Flag football tournaments.


·       River Valley Detention continues its partnership with fitness trainers from Joliet Park District to conduct high intensity workout sessions and yoga classes for the Residents.  This program has been met with such excitement from the Residents.


·       Community service is also a focus of Resident care at River Valley Detention.  Residents are encouraged to consider the “wellness” of others in the community - those who may be less fortunate than them, even as they are detained in the facility.  The Residents make fleece tie blankets for cancer victims, homeless shelters, veterans’ homes, and other charities to give something back and hoping to enhance someone’s day.  The Residents also create holiday cards throughout the year for the Sunny Hill Nursing Home Residents.


·       The Programs Manager and Juvenile Detention Officers also play a major role in programming conducted at the River Valley Detention Center.  Staff conducts weekly fitness, creative writing, movie nights, and fun gaming activities.  These programs promote teamwork, discipline and allow the Residents’ minds to be taken off of their current situations. 


·       Juvenile Detention Officers also create and conduct their own programming activities three times a year at a minimum.


·       The employees of the Detention Center also participate in the County of Will’s Employee Wellness Program which includes, but is not limited to: 

Biometric Screenings; Myriad health, nutrition and wellness education seminars; Encouragement of ownership of one’s health including Fit Bit usage, membership to a gym, 5K runs or other marathons/walking exercises; Water ingestion tracking; Mammograms; Prostate exams; and Other general preventative measures to secure one’s best health, nutrition, and wellness prospects;





River Valley Detention promotes nutritious foods and beverages to Residents consistent with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Food Guidance System published jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.  River Valley Detention also abides by the rules of the Illinois State Board of Education and the Child Nutrition Programs.  River Valley Detention serves the highest age/grade group meal plan as part of the USDA’s meal pattern requirements. For more information about the meal pattern requirements, please go to:

or call the Detention Center at 815-730-7070 to speak with someone about what the meal pattern requirements entail.





Reimbursable school meals served shall meet, at a minimum, the nutrition requirements and regulations for the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program.  River Valley Detention does claim reimbursement for breakfasts and lunches served. 





The Illinois State Board of Education has a Summer Meals program for children in the general public.  The Detention Center is committed to making sure no child goes without a meal.  During the summer months, when a Resident has been released from custody of the Detention Center via Court Order, and subsequently brought out to the lobby for release to Resident’s parent(s) and/or legal guardian, a notification regarding where, in this area, Summer Meals are provided and can be followed up on once home.





The Superintendent, or his designee, shall meet with the Assistant Superintendent, and Local Wellness Advisory members, as applicable, to review this Wellness Policy not only to monitor progress, but to also adjust the policy or guidelines if necessary.  The Wellness Policy and goals are evaluated as a whole every three (3) years.  Yearly goals will also be part of the Superintendent’s assessment.


On December 18, 2018, the Detention Center’s Wellness Policy was evaluated for its Triennial Assessment.  The Policy was found to be compliant and the goals/objectives were in alignment with practice.  The evaluation was posted on the website at the time.  The next Triennial Assessment will be in December, 2020, and will cover the years of 2018, 2019, and 2020.




The Superintendent, or his designee, shall periodically monitor the policy’s success by reviewing and collaborating with the Assistant Superintendent, Program Manager, Detention Officers and others involved in the implementation of the Wellness Program.  As cited earlier, the Superintendent is “parent in loco parentis” – he is the legal guardian of the Residents while they are detained.  As such, Residents’ parents are not their guardians during detention and cannot participate in a Wellness Board for that reason, nor for confidentiality purposes as specific instances regarding a Resident may be addressed or other causes for concern may be discussed regarding those specific instances.  For parental input, the Wellness Board is comprised partially of facility individuals who have children and who can better understand the strengths and weaknesses that accompany trying to teach children how to eat better, to make good, healthy choices, and to become more physically active in a sedentary, technology-infused world.




Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, PL 108-265, Sec. 204


Child Nutrition Act of 1966, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1771 et seq


National School Lunch Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1758


42 U.S.C. Sec 1779, as implemented by 7 C.F.R. Sec 210.11


105 ILCS 5/2-3.139


23 Ill. Admin. Code Part 305 Food Program


ISBE’s “School Wellness Policy” Goal, adopted Oct. 2007


Cross Ref. 4:120 (Food Services)


Joliet Township District 204 & River Valley Detention Center







TRIENNIAL ASSESSMENT (2015, 2016, 2017)

Completed:  December 18, 2018


I. Introduction

The primary duty of the Local Wellness and Food Advisory Board is improving how River Valley Detention collectively aligns itself with the tenets of the Local Wellness Policy by demonstration with the Residents, and assessing the usefulness of content.  Evaluating the Policy on a three-year rotation allows Administration, Line Staff, Joliet Township High School District 204 Teachers, and Food Services staff to better serve Residents and highlight the Board’s commitment to Wellness.

At its Local Wellness & Advisory Board Meeting concerning Resident food as well as the Local Wellness Policy Goals, the Committee conducted a Triennial Assessment of the Local Wellness Policy as mandated by the U.S.D.A.  The Assessment included compliance with the Wellness Policy requirements as part of the general areas of the Administrative Review every three years.  This Assessment includes the Goals for Nutrition Education and Physical Education as part of the River Valley Detention Center’s Local Wellness Policy for the

Years of 2015, 2016, and 2017. 



II. Process

The Local Wellness and Food Advisory Board’s evaluation process is an important step toward increasing Resident and staff participation in the process and improving River Valley for everyone.  River Valley strives to inform the public, staff, and the student culture of its Wellness Policy.  It is encouraged by Administration and encouraged as follows:

        Residents and staff need to recognize their roles in the success of the Local Wellness Policy;


        Residents have a clear understanding of wellness in many forms, including, but not limited to:  Nutrition Classes; PE Classes; Dietician presentations; Line Staff programming geared toward healthy eating and/or exercise; and 


        Residents have shown an appreciation for said programming and understand myriad concepts through effective teaching and programming.


III. Considerations for the Local Wellness Policy

        The Policy has been updated regularly when there have been new additions to Programming, or other facility-driven protocol.


        The Policy is promulgated to the stakeholders, facility staff, and the public.


        The Policy continues to realign its goals and objectives as Illinois State Board of Education/USDA regulations dictate.


        The Policy includes verbiage about the County’s Wellness Initiative which further enhances and enforces the tenets of the facility’s Local Wellness Policy.



IV.  Evaluation Component


Consideration was given to the following three questions based upon direction from the U.S.D.A.’s Summary of the Final Rule.


1.       Does the River Valley Detention Center’s Wellness Policy comply with the U.S.D.A.  requirements?


The Committee reviewed the Wellness Policy and compared it with the requirements and the Detention Center’s Wellness Policy encompasses all of the pertinent points, plus additional information.


Opinion:  Compliant




2.       How does the Detention Center’s Wellness Policy compare to other model wellness policies?


          The River Valley Detention Center’s Policy encompasses tenets of Joliet High School District 204’s Wellness Policy.  Teachers from District 204

          educate the Residents at the facility.  The Detention Center is unlike a regular school since it is considered a Residential Child-Care Facility.

          The Detention Center houses pre-adjudicatory youth and operates differently than a public school.  Some of the facets of the Wellness Policy had to be streamlined or modified to align with the USDA requirements.


          Primarily, the Wellness Policy does address everything that is required and the facility makes every attempt to meet and exceed those requirements by adding additional programming activities, or inviting other presenters to meet with Residents to keep the Residents informed regarding health and wellness, as well as physical activities.


          Opinion:  Compliant




3.       Has there been progress made toward attaining the goals of the Wellness Policy?


          The Detention Center’s Program Manager regularly evaluates programming activities or presenters that will align with the goals of the facility as well as the School Breakfast and Lunch Programs.  Goals are fluid and constantly evolving.  From the outset, though, the primary goals set forth for the Wellness Policy relative to Goals for Nutrition Education and Goals for Physical Education have been exceptionally met.  The Program Manager also collaborates with the educators from Dist. 204 to ensure that goals are met not just on the Detention Center side, but also on the school-day side of the ledger as well – it is a joint effort.  However, the goals that have been met are not met solely during the school day, but rather on a 7-day a week basis since the Detention Center is a 24/7 operation.  There are post-school programming activities and weekend activities that meet the goals as well.


          Opinion:  Compliant




V.  Conclusion


The Committee has determined that after completing the Triennial Assessment

for the River Valley Detention Center’s Local Wellness Policy, the Wellness

Policy is, in fact, compliant and the goals have been achieved.  The intent behind

the development of the Local Wellness Policy at River Valley Detention has been

met and is compliant.


The Board concludes that when comparing the Detention Center’s Local Wellness Policy to other such policies in Detention Centers and/or high schools, the Detention Center’s Wellness Policy continues to conform to all regulations and maintains the efficacy of the promoted goals and objectives with vigor.