How to Improve Children’s Mental Health Service Systems

May 8 Webinar Explores Illinois Model

A webinar to examine how Chapin Hall and the State of Illinois developed a Blueprint for Transformation for youth mental services will be held at 1 p.m. (CDT), Monday, May 8. Registration is now open.

In the Spring of 2022, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker launched the Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative to develop an intentional, coordinated strategy to ensure that families get the help they need. He named Dr. Dana Weiner, Chapin Hall Senior Policy Fellow, to lead the effort and develop a transformational blueprint for behavioral health services for Illinois youth.

In February of 2023, the team released a Blueprint for Transformation that includes clear guidelines for implementation. The goals of this initiative are twofold. First, to ensure that young people with significant behavioral health needs receive the community and residential services they need to thrive. And second, to provide caregivers clarity about how to get help for their children.

To develop the Blueprint, Weiner oversaw the work of a team of leaders from six state agencies and engaged with more than 700 stakeholders from 100 organizations to develop consensus around problems and solutions, surveying residential providers on staffing and capacity and analyzing data to understand the level and distribution of mental health service needs. In the webinar, Weiner and other participants in this process will describe these Blueprint-development steps, which included creating interactive maps to help understand service gaps and analyzing policies related to monitoring, access, and coordination among state agencies.

The project is now in its implementation phase. Given the facilitation of collaboration among child-serving agencies during the planning phase, placements for the highest-need youth have already been expedited and hospital stays beyond medical necessity have decreased.

For this project, Weiner led a Chapin Hall team that included Beth McDanielKya BarounisBrian ChorCody OltmansSam ShapiroMike StiehlKiljoong KimRichard FoltzBob GoergeColin CepuranMary Sue MorschShaun Lane, and Larry Small.

Register for the webinar to learn more about this transformative process.