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Centerstone receives $2.1M grant from Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation

Centerstone, a national provider of behavioral health care, announced it has received a $2.1 million, six-year grant from the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation to improve the mental health of children and communities throughout Southern Illinois.

“Children’s Mental Health Initiative 2.0” aims to enable Centerstone to implement a “system of care” that comprehensively supports child and family mental health. The system has been named “Building Compassionate Communities”.

“The vision of BCC is to strengthen child and family resilience through a trauma-informed system of care by addressing community compassion and wellness, creating more prevention services, improving access to mental health care, increasing resiliency, and enhancing the overall mental health service array,” said Niki Grajewski, clinical manager at Centerstone (shown).

In 2018, Centerstone was awarded a 13-month, $200,000 planning grant from the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation to develop a plan that enabled collaboration among the mental and physical health providers, schools, parents, youth and other community organizations. Centerstone and collaborators submitted a unique plan as part of their application for the six-year grant to implement its system of care.

“Supporting all children within our region, regardless of insurance source or diagnosis, remains a focus of BCC,” Grajewski said. “Creating mechanisms to support children and families outside being Medicaid–insured, and ensuring parents have support through peer provided services, support groups, and parent education groups will be highlights of the implementation project.”

Centerstone will continue to collaborate with many community partner groups to execute the plan to address mental health issues facing children in Perry, Jackson, Williamson, and Franklin counties.  The community partners include:

  • Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
  • Southern Illinois University System
  • Southern Illinois Healthcare
  • Shawnee Health Services
  • Jackson County Health Department
  • Southern Region Early Childhood
  • School Districts 99
  • Unity Point, Marion Unit 2 and Christopher school districts
  • Regional Offices of Education 21 and 30
  • Parent and youth partners

“By implementing educational opportunities during our planning phase, we have enhanced our belief that strengthening the community through awareness and learning opportunities strengthens the mental health system overall,” Grajewski said. “We will continue to offer education and innovative approaches to strengths-based and trauma-informed care that will benefit the overall system.”

Amy Starin, ILCHF senior program officer for mental health, said: “We have been so impressed with the way the partners have come together to focus on children’s mental health in each of these communities. Each community is taking a unique approach to this work that reflects their local needs, values and resources. We are excited to see what they create over the next six years.”

“Parent and youth participation in both the planning and implementation of these community changes is a vital aspect of this work.  As with our earlier system of care projects we hope to see a decrease in stigma related to mental health and an increase in mental health screening and services for youth,” said Heather Alderman, ILCHF’s President. “We are optimistic that through these projects these communities will move closer to fulfilling the Foundation’s vision ‘that every child in Illinois grow up healthy’.”

Centerstone was among five organizations receiving funds from ILCHF that totaled $10.5 million in implementation grants to enable behavioral and physical health providers, schools and other community organizations to develop plans to improve mental health of children throughout Illinois.

About Centerstone

Centerstone is a not-for-profit health care organization that provides mental health and substance abuse treatment, education and support to communities in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee and additionally offer individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities life skills development, employment and housing services. Visit

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