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Centerstone Awarded Nearly $2 million from Administration for Children and Families

Centerstone was awarded a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau, an office of the Administration for Children and Families, to increase well-being, improve permanency, and enhance the safety of children who are in an out-of-home placement or are at risk of being place in an out-of-home case as a result of a parent’s or caretaker’s substance use.

“This grant will help Centerstone continue to deliver care that changes people’s lives,” said John Markley, regional CEO of Centerstone. “Children with parents or caretakers who experience substance use issues remain in out-of-home placements for longer periods of time, are three times more likely to experience abuse, four times more likely to experience neglect and more than twice as likely to develop a substance use disorder (SUD) as an adult. With the help of this grant, Centerstone will work to improve the outcomes for these children and their families.”

With the grant, Centerstone will launch Centerstone Partnership to Help Children and Families Flourish (Flourish) for families in Madison County.

“Flourish will help prevent family separation or quickly reunify families with children who have been placed in out-of-home care as a result of parent/caretaker substance use,” said Stephanie Terry, Centerstone Clinical Services Director and Flourish Project Director.

Flourish will deliver services including:

  • Activities for children that address child well-being and trauma
  • Quality and timely substance use disorder treatment, including concurrent mental health services that meets the needs of the entire family
  • Services designed to specifically address violence and trauma symptoms and reactions
  • Services for parents and children that improve parenting capacity and family functioning

Flourish services will also include screening, assessment, case management, individual and family counseling, peer support services, cross-training activities, outreach and engagement, and linkages to support services, including transportation and childcare.

“Flourish’s strategies and activities will address child well-being by facilitating healing and recovery from maltreatment and exposure to violence or trauma,” Terry said. “Flourish staff will provide trauma-focused therapy and interventions, increase parent/caretaker knowledge of child development, teach resilience strategies, and interface with school personnel and other significant people in the children’s lives.”

Flourish aims to improve permanency outcomes of children by working with high-risk families to remove the risks to children rather than the children themselves.

“Flourish activities will promote permanency via strengthened parent/child relationships and evidence-based treatment,” Terry said. “Flourish will also teach crisis intervention strategies that can be utilized by the whole family.”

To enhance the safety of children, Flourish will prioritize treatment of parent/caretaker substance use and mental health conditions.

“We will not only promote safety by increasing protective factors, such as resiliency, but also reducing risk factors, such as criminal behavior and negative child behaviors,” Terry said. “Additionally, crisis intervention and intensive services will be available 24/7 to further ensure the safety of participating children.”

Flourish will establish and coordinate regional collaboration among child- and family-serving agencies, including the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), as well as criminal justice agencies, health departments, school districts, etc., and will provide culturally competent, trauma-informed, tailored service plans to address child well-being and trauma.

“Flourish will establish an advisory council with representation from DCFS, project partners, as well as parents and caretakers, key community professionals, leaders, stakeholders and more to guide implementation, progress, collaboration and sustainability of the project,” said Terry. “Anyone who would like more information on joining this council, is welcome to contact Centerstone.”

Data-sharing protocols will be established across participating agencies to monitor outcomes.

“Flourish’s comprehensive evaluation will include documentation of fidelity, process, outcomes, cost effectiveness, and follow-up data, and development and dissemination of a thoroughly documented service model for replication across the state and nation,” said Terry.