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Gov. Pritzker and DCFS Join Groundbreaking on Expanded Youth Care Facility

Press Release - Thursday, July 27, 2023

DCFS Capital Program Funds more than 50% of New Residential Facility at Hoyleton

Hoyleton—Governor JB Pritzker joined Hoyleton Youth and Family Services today to break ground on a once in a generation construction project that will provide a new model of care for vulnerable youth 9-18 years old living in residential care. The new residential campus will allow youth, who are both developmentally and intellectually delayed and have experienced trauma, to heal and grow in a therapeutic environment.

"Every child deserves an opportunity to be equipped with the tools they need to reach their full potential," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Coupled with the superior therapeutic treatments provided by Hoyleton, this expansion will enable more of our vulnerable youth to receive these outstanding services as well as provide them with modern physical and outdoor spaces encouraging full wrap around services in this unique setting."

The new facility, which will cost $16 million, has had more than 50% of its project costs funded by Illinois DCFS through its capital development program. Remaining funds will come from federal programs as well as a capital campaign supported by both private and corporate donors.

The project will allow for the creation of seven brand new homes, increasing residential capacity from 36 to 42 youth. Each resident will have a private bedroom, semi-private bathroom, sound and sensory appropriate space, art spaces and planned outdoor areas. Each home will be equipped with solar panels and there will be electric vehicles as well as two charging stations with the capacity for a total of up to six. The housing portion of the project will be completed by January 2024 and none of the residents will be displaced during the construction.

"In recent years Illinois has lost more than 500 residential beds which served some of our most vulnerable youth, and rebuilding that capacity is imperative as the need for high-quality care for our children and young adults in care continues to grow," said Illinois DCFS Director Marc D. Smith. "Partnerships with agencies like Hoyleton are crucial to our mission of ensuring every youth in our care receives the best possible treatment in a setting that matches their unique needs. Our thanks to Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly for their continued investment in the lives of our most vulnerable youth in care."

"Hoyleton is excited to be building a campus that better meets the needs of youth in care who have been traumatized by life experiences," said Hoyleton Youth and Family Services President and CEO Chris L. Cox. "We are honored to have the support of Governor Pritzker and Director Smith who have truly demonstrated the benefits of a public-private partnership. Without the State of Illinois' financial support, a project of this scope would not be possible."

Hoyleton Youth and Family Services has hired Impact Strategies as the design builder of the project. TWM Engineering and Hurford Architects were also utilized during the planning and design stage of the project. Solar power and EV capabilities will be utilized throughout the new campus.

Governor Pritzker's administration has made generational investments into behavioral and mental health, particularly for youth. Last November, the IDPH-led Illinois Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Expansion was rolled out. The federally funded program is designed to help pediatricians and other providers meet children's mental health needs by strengthening mental health services in hospital emergency departments and schools. The FY24 budget signed by the Governor also includes over $200 million to serve Illinoisans with disabilities, as well as almost $23 million to begin implementing the new Children's Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative.

About the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Founded in 1964, DCFS is responsible for protecting children from abuse or neglect by responding to calls received on the Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873). With the goal of keeping children safe, DCFS strengthens and supports families with a wide range of services. When keeping a child safe means removing them from the home, DCFS makes every effort to reunite them with their family. When the best interest of the child makes this impossible, DCFS is committed to pursuing adoption by loving families to provide children with a safe and permanent home. DCFS is also responsible for licensing and monitoring of all Illinois child welfare agencies.

About Hoyleton Youth and Family Services Hoyleton Youth and Family Services is the largest service provider in southern Illinois for children in foster care who also suffer developmental and intellectual delays. Hoyleton Youth and Family Services has been part of the Hoyleton community for over 128 years. In 1895 the Zion Evangelical Church was deeded property and partnered with a newly formed Orphan's Home Association to create Hoyleton's Orphan's Home in the building on campus that functions as our administration building today. Restoring families, preparing young adults to make positive life decisions, helping parents and guardians be better parents, and providing wellness education are some of the ways we're working to build stronger communities.

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