On June 1st, Children’s Home + Aid joined Northwestern Settlement to officially open the new Family CARES Center. The clinic helps children and families make positive changes in their lives, maximize their potential, and improve their function in society. The center provides mental health services to families with children enrolled at the Settlement’s Rowe Elementary charter school and Early Childhood Education programs.

Children’s Home + Aid provides mental health services at the Center, with clinical coordination from a full-time Settlement employee. Rowe Elementary 4th Grader, Mark, gave the center its name, and was on-hand to cut the ribbon and unveil the Family CARES Center sign.

“Our children confront trauma, anxiety, depression and loss every day. Our new clinic, like all of the services provided by Northwestern Settlement, is designed to disrupt poverty and reverse its negative impact,” said Ron Manderschied, president of Northwestern Settlement.

The Family CARES Center was conceived in 2014, when Manderschied and Dr. Christine Jacobek of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis formed a Mental Health Committee consisting of Settlement staff and stakeholders. The duo assembled a task force to gauge the mental health needs of the Settlement’s community and to identify a partner organization with a strong history of counseling services and therapeutic service capabilities. Children’s Home + Aid got involved in the initiative in 2016, signing a memorandum of understanding with the Settlement to be the strategic partner for the Family CARES Center.

“The Family CARES Center is a natural extension of our vision to provide a better future for children, youth and their families,” said Nancy Ronquillo, president and CEO of Children’s Home + Aid. “It has been a labor of love to work with the team at Northwestern Settlement to launch this clinic so the scholars enrolled at Rowe Elementary receive mental health services right in their neighborhood, free from the barriers of language, paperwork or the high price of healthcare.”

The neighbors who benefit from the services provided by Northwestern Settlement have been involved in the clinic since its inception, providing feedback on how it can best serve their needs, and also giving it the name of Family CARES Center.

Northwestern Settlement – now in its 126th year of service to Chicago – has nurtured, educated and inspired children and families across 86 percent of the city’s zip codes in a quest to disrupt the cycle of generational poverty that plagues many urban neighborhoods. Founded in 1891 by leaders of Northwestern University, the Settlement has operated as a financially independent institution since its inception, from a campus of buildings headquartered at 1400 W. Augusta Blvd. in Chicago. The Settlement operates a food pantry, a childcare center, Rowe Elementary School, House In The Wood Camp featuring the Valerie Hall Outdoor Education Center, a robust AmeriCorps Project YES! program and Adventure Stage Chicago, one of the country’s largest children’s theatre companies dedicated to celebrating heroic stories about young people.