Centerstone officials announced Tuesday that Illinois’ state budget crisis has forced the nonprofit organization to take measures to consolidate its operations to preserve behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services for 16,000 clients in Southern Illinois and the Metro East.
These measures follow an eight-month budget impasse, during which the state of Illinois has amassed approximately $4.5 million owed to Centerstone for services provided under contracts and other funding agreements.
“Centerstone’s board of directors and executive leadership have been forced to make program, staffing and facility decisions that are painful to our organization and the communities we serve,” said John G. Markley, chief executive officer of Centerstone’s Illinois operations. “We have warned our lawmakers for months that we could not sustain our operations and ensure our most vulnerable citizens have access to the services and support they need while providing millions of dollars in state services without payment. Unfortunately, our concerns have not been heeded, and we have no options left but consolidation that will help us ensure the continued viability of our organization.”
Centerstone is consolidating its operations to focus most of its resources on life-saving services. Measures taken include:
- A strategic consolidation of offices. An office in Jerseyville will be closed, effective April 1, and its services relocated to Alton. A transition plan to support affected clients is in place. Centerstone will continue to provide residential, crisis, community and school-based services in Jersey, Calhoun and Greene counties.
- The closure of Centerstone’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Illinois, impacting youth, volunteers and supporters in Jackson, Franklin, Union, Perry and Williamson counties.
- The elimination of several open administrative positions; and
- Reviewing the sale of under-utilized facilities.
Staff in affected programs will be offered other open positions in the organization.
“These were difficult decisions for our board to make,” said Sally Sheahan, president of Centerstone’s Illinois board of directors. “For the long-term sustainability of Centerstone’s operations, we cannot continue to mount losses related to state contracts any longer. This consolidation will protect jobs and the most essential, life-saving services we offer, but even these measures will not sustain us if this budget impasse is not resolved. We urge our lawmakers to take action now to halt the damage occurring to the fragile behavioral health system in Illinois.”
Centerstone provides comprehensive behavioral health care, serving communities in the Metro East and in Southern Illinois. Centerstone’s compassionate professionals work with children, adults and families to inspire hope and personal growth. Last year, more than 16,000 people sought to change their lives for the better through Centerstone’s mental health counseling, substance abuse services, life enrichment programs and services for adults with developmental disabilities. Visit centerstone.org for information.