Child Wellness – DCFS Programs

Building families, healing trauma, and protecting children from risk and harm

Some of the children, youth and young adults served by our child wellness programs come to Aunt Martha’s having been removed from their birth families because of abuse or neglect. Aunt Martha’s provides comprehensive child welfare services to give these children the chance at a real childhood through safe living environments, caring families and access to quality health care. Other programs aim at preventing the families from becoming involved with the child welfare system. Our child wellness integrated services provide attention to and minimize trauma that youth have encountered through our therapeutic and psychiatric. services in a safe, and caring environment. These services helps the youth in our care get a second chance at a happy, healthy, and supported life.

Integrated Care Center (ICC)

The Integrated Care Center (ICC) represents the continued evolution of services that respond to the needs of abused and neglected youth. What was originally a “traditional” residential shelter setting and intake hub for DCFS youth in Cook County has – through advocacy and innovation – transformed into a physician-led, trauma-informed treatment setting specializing in caring DCFS youth with the most significant mental health needs.

The ICC’s innovative design incorporates Aunt Martha’s extensive experience working with the DCFS youth population, as well as the evidence-based, value-driven best practices that serve as the foundation for our industry-leading integrated care model.  In short, there is no other organization in Illinois with the depth of knowledge, scope of services, or proven ability to provide the level of care available at the Integrated Care Center.

ICC Step Down

ICC Step Down is a living facility for youth transitioning from the ICC who are working on readying themselves for long term care placements. They continue receiving educational and vocational support as life skills to help prepare them for the possibility of independent living or less restrictive living placements. Throughout this process, we provide continuous primary and behavioral health care, addressing their social determinants of health.

Interim Support Center (ISC)

The Interim Support Center (ISC) provides short-term shelter housing and services to youth in the custody of the Department of Children and Families Services (DCFS).  Youth in care referred and admitted to the ISC, have been removed from their families of origin, been discharged from hospitals, or when a foster home is no longer an option.  ISC shelter services include room and board, milieu management oversight, medical, behavioral health, recreation, meals, and support as well as assist the assigned caseworker in the coordination of educational services, visitation, and referrals. 

ISC services promote permanency by maintaining, strengthening and safeguarding the functioning of families to (1) prevent substitute care placements, (2) promote family reunification, (3) stabilize foster care placements, (4) facilitate youth development and (5) ensure the safety, permanency and wellbeing of children.  Youth in care may reside at the ISC for up to 21 days, until a long-term living arrangement is identified by DCFS/POS.

Child Welfare Services (CWS)

Part of Aunt Martha’s role is to help support families in order to keep youth from going into the child welfare system. The families who participate in the program are provided short-term assistance, receiving education and linkage to community support and services.

Families must be referred by Department of Children and Family Services, and are only eligible to participate in the program if it is determined that the child’s health and safety will not be endangered by allowing them to remain with their family.

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