ILCHF Commits $11.5 Million to Improve Children’s Mental Health in 5 Communities

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At any point in time, one in ten Illinois children suffers from a mental illness severe enough to impair them; yet, in any given year only about 20 percent receive mental health services. ILCHF is investing in five community-based partnerships to create system-wide plans that address children's mental health needs in schools and community settings.

Building upon its successful Children’s Mental Health Initiative (CMHI 1.0), the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation is applying lessons learned to help five more Illinois communities develop a coordinated system of care for children and families. The Foundation awarded 13 month $200,000 planning grants to enable mental and physical health providers, schools, parents, youth and other community organizations to develop a plan to improve the health of their children and communities. If the planning process is successful, in November 2019 each of the five communities will receive a second grant of $2.1 million over six years to implement their plans.

At any point in time, one in 10 children in Illinois suffers from a mental illness severe enough to cause some level of impairment; yet, in any given year only about 20% of these children receive mental health services. Children who are experiencing environmental trauma and stress, anxiety, or depression can be unable to learn or function to their full potential. A coordinated system of care which includes their primary care doctor, school, community mental health provider and other services can give these children and their families the support they need to thrive at home, in school and in their communities.

"As a field, we know the best approaches to caring for children with behavioral and emotional problems, and early intervention is key,” said Amy Starin, PhD. LCSW. ILCHF Senior Program Officer for Mental Health. “Each community in Illinois is unique and these grants will give them the resources to plan together. It is the start of what we hope will be a successful implementation of their plan over the following six years.”

The five communities were selected through a rigorous review process from twenty-nine submitted proposals. “We are applying learning from the first four CMHI communities, and the CMHI 1.0 leadership will serve as mentors for this second round of grantees. Evaluation will be an integral part of this work as we support these five new communities in creating evidence-based models that communities across Illinois can learn from,” explained Heather Alderman, ILCHF president. “Our greatest hope is that these projects will result in real change that helps move the State toward the ILCHF Vision that ‘Every Child in Illinois Grows up Healthy’“.

Funded Communities Include:

Southern IL (Perry, Jackson, Williamson & Franklin Co’s).
Lead Agency: Centerstone of Illinois, Inc, (COI)
Partners: Southern Illinois University School of Medicine; Southern Illinois University System; Southern Illinois Healthcare; Shawnee Health Service; Jackson County Health Department; Southern Region Early Childhood; School Districts 99 & 2; Regional Office of Education; 8 parent & youth consumers

East Central Illinois (Macon ((year 1+)) & De Witt ((year 3+)) Counties)    
Lead Agency: Heritage Behavioral Health Center, Inc.    
Partners: Decatur Public Schools; Crossing Healthcare FQHC; Macon County Mental Health Board; Macon County Health Department; St. Mary’s Hospital; Macon County Juvenile Probation; Child & Family Connections Early Intervention; DCFS; Macon County State’s Attorney; 6 parent & youth consumers

Chicago Metropolitan (Kane County)    
Lead Agency: Kane County Health Department    
Partners: Association for Individual Development; Family Counseling Services of Aurora; Family Service Association of Greater Elgin; TriCity Family Services; Kane County AOK Early Childhood Network; Kane County Behavioral Health Council; Kane County Juvenile Justice Council; Kane County Regional Office of Education; Renz Addiction Counseling Center; VNA Healthcare (FQHC); 5 parent consumers.

East Central Illinois (Kankakee County)    
Lead Agency: Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley    
Partners: Helen Wheeler Mental Health Center; Riverside Medical Center; Iroquois-Kankakee Regional Office of Education; Kankakee First Church of Nazarene; Gathering Point; Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness; Childcare Resource and Referral; Momence Community Schools; 11 additional school districts; Kankakee County Health Department; YWCA; 2 juvenile court judges; United Way; 6 parent and youth consumers.

Children who are homeless in Chicago Metropolitan (City of Chicago)    
Lead agency: Primo Center for Women and Children    
Partners: Catholic Charities of Chicago; Heartland Alliance Health; Illinois Department of Children and Family Services; Family Rescue; New Moms; Governor’s Office on Early Childhood; The Night Ministry; All Chicago Homeless System; Chicago Public Schools; Chicago Department of Family and Support Services; Grant Healthcare Foundation; Ounce of Prevention; Polk Brothers; United Way of Metro Chicago; Cornerstone Community Outreach; SRHAC-Homeless service agency; Institute for Women Today; 10 parent and youth consumers.

About Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation
Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF) is the only statewide private foundation solely focused on improving the health of all children in the State of Illinois. ILCHF was created in December 2002 through an action of then Attorney General Jim Ryan and an Illinois insurance carrier. This action and a settlement of approximately $125 million established the Foundation’s endowment.

From 2002 to 2018, Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation has awarded more than $79 million in grants that have been invested in programs aimed at improving children’s overall health in Illinois, with a focus on oral health and mental health. For additional information about ILCHF, please see http://www.ilchf.org.

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Jennifer Amdur Spitz
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