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Engaging the Power of ‘Community’

Working with youth and families in their homes and communities with the intention of reducing crises, connecting families to community resources and helping young people and their families work together to resolve challenging and often times destructive patterns of behavior is at the heart of Allendale’s new Community Support Services Program (CSSP).

Allendale sees a need and develops a program to serve.

We are proud to offer this new community-based program for individuals and families who are struggling with severe mental and behavioral health challenges by assisting them in identifying, accessing, utilizing and when needed, creating formal and informal community resources and supports.

CSSP operates within a team framework embracing a family-centered approach that focuses on empowering families to overcome challenges, instill hope for recovery and build resiliency enabling them to address and meet future struggles more effectively. Services include mental health assessment, case management, individual and family counseling, family peer support and 24/7 crisis intervention which are provided in the home and community with a flexibility designed to meet the individual needs of the child and family.

“The benefits of intensive in-home services allow families to remain together while navigating issues related to mental health, such as suicide ideation or aggressive behaviors,” says Elizabeth Quijada Fuentes, LCSW, Director of Allendale’s Community Support Service Program.

Ms. Quijada Fuentes highlights that “being in the family’s home and local community better equips the family to build their individual support system, and to develop coping skills to manage a youth’s emotional or behavioral challenges more confidently.”

Others saw the need and offered support.

This program became a reality with help from both the Jackson Kemper Foundation and the McGraw Foundation whose partnership with a three-year gift has enabled us to begin this important service. Additional funding from the Junior League of Evanston-North Shore, Inc. provides support for translation services to better connect all Lake County residents with available resources and guidance.

This program offers something unique that other in-home services don’t typically offer.

Allendale’s CSSP has a Family Support Specialist as part of the therapeutic team that serves as an advocate for the parent, providing extra support and guidance designed to enhance a parent’s capacity to manage their child’s behavioral health needs through the development of skills, knowledge, and parenting techniques based on their own personal experience as a caregiver of a child with special needs.

“When parents have a partner in the treatment process, they are more likely to feel less alone and less critical of themselves with regard to their past efforts to helping their son or daughter,” shared Ms. Quijada Fuentes, who believes this role is paramount to stability in the home. This validation and listening ear help reduce the stigma families fear when seeking help in keeping their child, or others in their home, safe.

Melissa Romanek, Intake Specialist at Allendale for over 25 years, concurs. “I talk with parents daily, who are eager to find help for their son or daughter. Hearing their desperation is so disheartening. I am proud to work for an organization that hears families and works alongside them to support children and adolescents.”

Ms. Romanek welcomes the new Community Support Services Program and recognizes the need for this service in Lake County.

It is the goal of CSSP to work with families and youth as long as medically necessary to ensure the safety of the child and other family members. Families receive trauma-informed treatment interventions through a Clinical Case Manager who provides assessments and services to develop an individualized treatment plan with the parent and child. Individual and family therapy is offered, as well as time for the youth to receive one-on-one services with a Community Support Specialist who aides the youth with life skill, social skill and self-regulation/coping skill development to decrease risk-taking behaviors.

Interested in this important work and joining our team?

Allendale is looking for a Community Support Specialist to complete our team; interested candidates can apply online here!

Looking for referral information for CSSP Services?

Referrals for Lake County youth to CSSP are received from local school districts, individual therapists in the community, the Department of Human Services, or Allendale’s Residential Treatment Center. Calls to Allendale for CSSP are managed by Allendale’s Intake Department who assesses the youth and family for service needs, and then refers potential youth and families to the Director of CSSP. Currently, CSSP accepts Medicaid or the Medicaid-affiliated plans of Meridian Health, Molina, YouthCare, Aetna, and Blue Cross Community.

Please contact Allendale’s Intake Team at 847.245.6327 or via email at Intake@allendale4kids.org to learn more about services.

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.