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Illinois undergoes statewide cutbacks in substance abuse, mental health services

January 28, 2016
by Julia Brown, Associate Editor
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Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI), a faith-based nonprofit and state provider of social services, has announced program closures and staff cuts as a result of the state's inability to pass a budget for seven months. It is now owed more than $6 million from the state for services delivered. 

As a result of the stalled budget, LSSI has not received payment for programs reimbursed through the state's general revenue fund and other agencies, including residential rehabilitation for adult drug and alcohol treatment, mental health counseling and community counseling services. LSSI has relied on a bank line of credit and available resources from its foundation to compensate.

According to the nonprofit, the budget impasse has forced the organization to cut back programs and restructure services. In all, more 30 programs are closing, and more than 750 positions are being eliminated—43% of LSSI's total employees. As a result of these closures, approximately 4,700 people will no longer be receiving services from LSSI. The programs that saw the largest cuts were those helping seniors.

“For substance abuse treatment, cutbacks are impacting 912 clients and 53 staff associated with those services,” says LSSI spokesperson Barb Hailey. “We continue to have a number of programs for those individuals, but it’s important for those dealing with substance abuse to be in a situation where they’re not tempted by what brought them in to begin with. And for those individuals, it will be a challenge.”

Community-based counseling and school-based counseling programs were also cut, which Hailey says will impact 276 clients and 10 staff.

“These programs are at the very base of getting at problems like depression early on, so they’re very important," Hailey says. “We’re still providing outpatient services and will do what we can for referral.”

Substance abuse, mental health and counseling programs affected:

Residential rehabilitation for alcohol and drug treatment 
Behavioral Health Housing Opportunities, Chicago 
Elgin Residential Rehab, Elgin 
Men's Residence North, Chicago 
Men's Residence West, Elgin 
Social Detox, Chicago 
Women's Residence, Chicago

Mental health counseling for children, youth, adults and families 
Community-based Counseling, Berwyn, Des Plaines, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Mendota, Prospect Heights, Wheaton  
Dixon General Counseling, Dixon 
West/Northwest Suburban Counseling, Villa Park

Youth services 
School-Based Counseling Services, Sterling 
Youth Emergency Shelter, Nachusa 

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