Project SUN is a Strong and Unified Network dedicated to strengthening Kankakee County’s behavioral health system of care so that children and their families flourish. The network aims to connect all the parties involved with the well-being of children - prenatal through high school and beyond. This project focuses on promoting healthy social and emotional development and life transitions, as well as, facilitating easy access to children’s behavioral health services in Kankakee County. The goal is to develop a youth-guided and family-driven system of care that promotes wellness and offers all children and their families multiple avenues to access a comprehensive, integrated behavioral health care system that meets the needs of the whole child. Project SUN is currently in a planning phase to develop a six-year implementation plan that will make the proposed system of care a reality.
A system of care is: A spectrum of effective, community-based services and supports for children and youth with or at risk for behavioral health or other challenges and their families, that is organized into a coordinated network, builds meaningful partnerships with families and youth, and addresses their cultural and linguistic needs, in order to help them to function better at home, in school, in the community, and throughout life. Core values for systems of care specify that they are a community based, family driven, youth guided, and culturally and linguistically competent. Guiding principles call for a broad array of home- and community-based services and supports, individualized care, evidence-informed services, and coordination across child-serving systems. (Pires, 2010, Building System of Care: A Primer)
Complete online surveys to help guide what will be done to help children flourish by having greater access to behavioral health supports and services in Kankakee County.
Who are the surveys for?
The Kankakee-Iroquois HELP Network is a comprehensive community information system designed to connect the residents of Kankakee and Iroquois counties, in east central Illinois, with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and a wide range of human services.
Parents, caregivers, teens, and individuals providing behavioral health services and supports are encouraged to become involved with one of the Project SUN Workgroups. Teams are responsible for helping to implement activities to enhance access to behavioral health services for youth and adolescents in Kankakee County. We currently have six teams:
To join a team, contact us at (815) 304-5933.
Project SUN is guided by a Community Planning Team and several Work Groups. Teens, parents, and other family members are working alongside representatives of mental health, primary healthcare, early childhood, schools, courts and law enforcement, child welfare, faith-based institutions, civic organizations, and governmental agencies to enhance the current community-based system of care. Project SUN will take advantage of the best components each has to offer - referring, serving, and supporting youth and families as individual situations dictate.
This initiative is funded by a seven-year grant to the Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley from the Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation. This is one of five Children’s Mental Health Initiative 2.0 projects in Illinois funded by the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation. Visit the ILCHF website to learn more about the work they are doing.
Nicole Smolkovich, Executive Director, Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley
Jackie Haas, President & CEO, Helen Wheeler Center for Community Mental Health
Debra Mayconich Baron, PhD Augustina Rios
Mariah Garratt, MBA Theresa Mitchell, CFPP