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Community Support Services Program’s First Anniversary: Connecting Families & Community

One Year In and Going Strong!

Allendale celebrated the one-year anniversary of our Community Support Services Program (CSSP), which launched in January 2022 in order to better respond to families in need of a more intensive and adaptable level of home and community-based therapeutic support. The program initially began as a pilot focusing on supporting youth transitioning back into the community after completing Allendale’s residential treatment program. In May 2022, the program expanded to begin serving youth and families throughout Lake County as an effort to, when possible, prevent families from accessing higher and more restrictive levels of care.

This new program, including its very origin is all about community. It was only made possible through the generosity and vison of community partners who recognized the need and value for such a program here in Lake County. These included the Jackson Kemper Foundation, McGraw Foundation, Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County, Schreiber Foundation and North Shore Junior League, whose generous support enabled the Community Support Services Program to serve 32 clients within Lake County during this pivotal first year.

CSSP is a multi-disciplinary team-based approach providing intensive mental health assessment, 24/7 crisis intervention, individual and family counseling, case management, parent support, resource linkage and service coordination. Services are provided in the home and community-based settings are designed to help stabilize youth and families in their natural environments, which has been shown to be particularly effective as youth transition from residential treatment facilities back home and in the community. The stabilization and support services, combined with the flexibility of CSSP’s team-based approach, has also proven extremely beneficial in helping youth and families at risk for disruption from the home due to chronic mental and behavioral health needs. The emphasis on prevention, family engagement and the comprehensive service array allows for opportunities to engage with families at critical times to offer support as they apply newly acquired skills, so they are able to successfully navigate emerging crisis situations resulting in increased self-worth, feelings of empowerment and greater independence.

The treatment team focuses on overall family engagement to help shape and transform family dynamics and increase their relationships with their communities. The goal of the program is to help the youth and the entire family make meaningful, supportive, and sustainable change.

“What stands out to me as a part of a community social work team is the emphasis on taking a proactive approach that looks to support and stabilize the entire household to comprehensively impact and support the client’s presenting challenges. Mental health and its challenges do not discriminate but there are gaps in supports and lack of access for many of our Lake County families; programs like CSSP bridge siloed services, while filling the gaps with supports, so that families can stabilize and receive the needed tools to thrive. CSSP is blessed with an amazing team that goes the extra mile and is truly making a difference in the lives of those that we serve,” shares Maral Binnebose, In- Home Therapist.

Clients and their families shared what has been most helpful to them in their current treatment experience:

  • “…seeing my daughter work through things with the therapist and the community support specialist and having the space [to do that] which she never had before.”
  • “Team follow-through–and the fact that the family was involved and worked with everyone made a big difference.”
  • “Making an ‘anger box’, family sessions with my brother and sisters, going out with Ms. Lugo.”
  • “I was able to get my child to open up honestly about some issues.”
  • “Getting outside input on how to handle situations differently.”
  • “Social skill improvement”
  • “Persistent meetings”
  • “The support.”

To be able to provide this level of care to clients and their families is only possible because of the dedicated professionals who make up the CSSP treatment team. Each family receives support from an In-Home Therapist, a Community Support Specialist, and a Family Support Specialist to help them work through challenging times and connect them to valuable resources and supports within their communities.

Our Vision for Year Two – Expanding Partnerships!

“CSSP understands the importance of at least ‘one invested adult’ in the lives of the youth we work with. In year two, CSSP looks to develop partnerships with other agencies, groups and community organizations to identify caring adults who wish to make a difference in the lives of youth in their communities and expand the “circle of people” available to support both the youth and the entire family,” says Liz Quijada Fuentes, Director of the CSSP program.

Ms. Quijada Fuentes added, “CSSP is committed to serving more youth and families in the coming year as we continue to evaluate community and family needs and identify ways we can be responsive to those needs.” CSSP recently added a third clinician to reduce overall wait times for families needing access to care, and is now offering internship opportunities for professional staff, to further expand our community-based service capacity.

Interested in learning more about our program?

For program information and intake, please contact Allendale’s Intake Team at 847.245.6327 or via email at Intake@allendale4kids.org.

A tradition of care and service.

For 125 years, Allendale, a private, not-for-profit organization, has led youth with serious emotional, mental, and behavioral health challenges and their families on a journey towards resiliency.

At Allendale, our aim is to offer every chance for healing and growth – through myriad programs and services and a continuum of care including 24/7 therapeutic residential treatment, therapeutic day school programs, outpatient counseling services, foster care and community support services. Allendale is a place where kids and families have the opportunity to restore their lives and discover a better future.