$636,000 Awarded to Boost IL Children’s Mental Health Workforce

(Springfield, IL) – One of Illinois’ top behavioral health advocacy groups has awarded $636,000 to multiple Illinois community children’s mental health providers to help the agencies boost their workforce.

The Community Behavioral Health Association of Illinois (CBHA) today announced that six mental health providers will each receive a total of $106,000 over two years to fund clinical supervision and a stipend for eight, second year master’s degree-level interns.  Funding will also support enhanced supervision for two early career clinicians to improve the clinical skills of staff and enhance the quality of services to youth and families seeking services.

“Community providers across Illinois are experiencing record high staff vacancies, intensified by the COVID pandemic, which have created ballooning waitlists and dramatically decreased access to children’s mental health services,” said CBHA CEO Blanca Campos.

“Additionally, behavioral health interns and new graduates are less prepared than ever to meet the complex needs of youth and families receiving services and require more intensive training and supervision, so our grant program aims to create a workforce pipeline model to provide a concrete approach to training a 21st Century children’s behavioral health workforce,” Campos said.

The CBHA grant will fund a clinical supervisor for each of the six providers to provide clinical supervision and training to four interns and two or more additional license eligible clinicians.

The selected agencies will also participate in an independent evaluation and two learning community sessions each year to determine the extent to which the grant resources have an impact on the training culture of the organizations, according to Campos.

The awardees of the grant, which is funded through the IL Children’s Healthcare Foundation and Polk Bros Foundation, include Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Centerstone IL of West Frankfort, The Josselyn Center of Waukegan, The Kedzie Center of Chicago, Presence Behavioral Health/Nazareth Community Mental Health Center of Chicago, and Sinnissippi Centers of Dixon.

Grant to address “inequity.”“Many students in behavioral health disciplines, particularly those from low-income families, are unable to afford to fulfil the 1,000 unpaid hours to complete an internship thus decreasing the diversity and availability of the workforce,” said Campos. “There is an inherent inequity in the current internship process, so the awardees of the CBHA training grant will include an equity component to assure that qualified interns may also be drawn from low-income families and communities of color.”