While Aunt Martha’s scope of services and impact in the community continued to grow, partnerships developed to improve our access to necessary resources and ensure we were able to perform the best work possible in an ever-changing environment. Organizations like Children’s Home and Aid were incredible collaborators in ensuring proper licensing for foster homes.
Elected officials have always been a thoughtful partner, going back to the early 1980’s and the introduction of Comprehensive Community Based Youth Services legislation. Founder Gary Leofanti built a relationship with then Senator Aldo DeAngelis, and was able to garner his support for Senate Bill 623 taking youth out of the court system and transitioning them to community-based services instead.
Aunt Martha’s led this CCBYS legislation with the Illinois Collaboration On Youth and the Youth Network Council, changing the perspectives of many from a focus on punishing youth to one based on systems of support. Later on in the 1980’s, Congressman George O’Brien was instrumental in earmarking funds for Aunt Martha’s from the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure funding for adoption services.
We continue to establish and celebrate thoughtful and dedicated partnerships across organizations, agencies, and officials. Without their support and guidance, Aunt Martha’s would not be able to continue expansion and innovation to support the children, youth, and families across Illinois today.