Read the LCCN News (2012)! or LCCN News (2013)!

Listen to a new Community Forum podcast which aired on 09/02/2014 which describes Resource Link and provides an update on the LCCN collaboration.  There are also two Community Forum podcasts that aired back-to-back on 09/09/2013  & 09/10/2013 which give an overview of the initiative.

The Livingston County Children’s Network was launched with funds provided by the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF).  In the spring of 2009, our community submitted a proposal for developing a system of care for children’s mental health in Livingston County.  We received financial support for a 15-month planning year during which time we developed a five-year plan. The LCCN 5-year plan was submitted to The Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation in May, 2011. On August 16, 2011, we received word that we, along with three other communities in Illinois, were selected for funding.


Harvey Saver, MSW, ILCHF program officer, Rich McGourty, PhD, & Ira Chasnoff, MD, NTI Upstream Consultants, visited the community to discuss the successful first steps taken by the LCCN.

The following information is taken from the ILCHF website (http://www.ilchf.org/childrensmentalhealth.html):

The ILCHF has a single vision: to ensure every child in Illinois has the opportunity to grow up healthy. The Foundation’s philosophy is that health care must address the whole child, and that the healthcare system in Illinois must be responsive to the needs of all children.   The Foundation is also committed to the concept of a medical/dental home where a child and his/her family can receive high quality and consistent care informed by knowledge of the child and family, has a primary focus on prevention, and facilitates a strong relationship between those who come in contact with a child.

ILCHF is committed to changing the way we look at the development of a child and how to provide children’s mental health services.  To do this, we must first define what we mean by children’s mental health.

Children’s mental health encompasses the broad spectrum of age appropriate social and emotional, cognitive, motor, behavioral, learning, speech and language development.  Through appropriate development, a child is able to manage behavior and can adapt to an ever-changing internal, domestic and community environment.  Through this process, the child grows into a competent, functioning adult who can care for self and others, as well as be a productive member of society

The major challenge in Illinois’ children’s mental health arena is the growing volume of children in need of services and a system that is unprepared to meet that need. The system limitations are varied.  Financial barriers are a major challenge with only 16% of psychologists and psychiatrists taking Medicaid recipients. While there is a workforce shortage throughout the State, some counties, particularly rural counties, have more severe shortages than others. Most children’s mental health service is focused on treatment of the most severe mental illness. Attention needs to be paid to developing capacity to intervene earlier, to assess, diagnose and refer for less severe conditions. Certain populations have more pressing needs than others. Special populations needing attention include the youth who age out of the foster care or juvenile justice systems but who are still in need of counseling and support.

The systems serving children are not integrated.  This means that the mental health provider, the child care provider, the school counselor or teacher, the health care provider or even the early intervention provider do not know what services the other can provide or how to find and then link children to them.  This results in families wasting time floundering between systems, duplicate assessments being conducted and children eventually falling through the cracks.

There is shortage of trained professionals. A surge is needed in the workforce to create a comprehensive, coordinated children’s mental health system. The workforce in child-serving systems like child care, health care or education, is not trained to provide mental health assessment and diagnosis. They can, however, be trained to conduct simple yet validated screenings to detect problems early and refer children to appropriate services. Additionally, the capacity of the mental health system to provide treatment is limited by dollars to fund staff in general and those trained to serve younger children in particular. Consultation and training within the mental health system is needed, as is an increase in resource funding to serve the newly found children.