Founded in 1977 as the Illinois Caucus on Teenage Pregnancy, our organization has accomplished much in the fields of adolescent welfare, workforce development, health, and parenting.
The 1960s introduced the birth control pill and the potential for women to gain greater control over their reproductive lives. In 1967, Cook County Hospital began dispensing birth control, and within 10 years the hospital’s birth rate dropped by a third. In 1969, a new state law legalizing family planning services for unmarried adolescents of any age passed after an 11-year-old gave birth to twins.
In the 1970s, the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union worked tirelessly to set up grassroots health programs for women. When CWLU demobilized, activist Jenny Knauss continued organizing around health care system reform on behalf of Illinois young people, and in 1983 she became the first executive director of the Caucus. In 1991, we changed our name to the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health to reflect the organization’s broadening agenda.
For more than three decades, ICAH has organized and trained young people to advocate for issues that directly affect their lives and communities. ICAH has conducted statewide research, developed resources, changed public policy, and hosted frequent events and training sessions for youth and service providers, always with an emphasis on building youth leadership skills and serving marginalized populations, including low-income, immigrant, homeless, LGBTQ, and pregnant and parenting adolescents.
Today ICAH continues to work in partnership with youth, advocating policies and practices that promote a positive approach to adolescent sexual health and parenting.
On behalf of ICAH’s youth, board of directors, staff, and volunteers, we want to convey a warm thank you to ALL of the contributors for the unceasing support. Each donation is critical for advancing ICAH’s mission and ensures that we remain a vital and vibrant institution for Illinois youth. The partnership between young leaders and ICAH is not possible without donations from contributors like these. Without your support, this work would not be possible.