Stepping Stones: Building Will County’s first Recovery Home for women with children

February 08, 2023 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Grant funding from Edward-Elmhurst Health’s Community Investment Fund will help a local treatment center build a Recovery Home for women with children – the first of its kind in Will County and one of only a handful in Illinois.

In July 2022, Edward-Elmhurst Health awarded $3,994,000 to 14 organizations across Cook, DuPage and Will Counties with the goal of advancing health equity and supporting local economic growth.

Stepping Stones Treatment Center was born more than 50 years ago out of a halfway house for men in recovery from substance use disorder. Today, the Center provides professionally licensed residential and outpatient treatment programs for hundreds of people. 

“Our growth has been driven by the need in the community for substance use disorder and related mental health services,” said Paul Lauridsen, Executive Director of Stepping Stones. 

The Center currently has 50 beds for patients in residential treatment, as well as an office building with counseling rooms for those in outpatient treatment. Stepping Stones provides substance use counseling, integrated mental health services, case management and advocacy to ensure patients have access to services outside the Center.

After someone leaves treatment, the Center provides ongoing monitoring and support.

“We treat substance use disorder as the chronic condition it is by providing support services on an ongoing basis,” said Lauridsen. 

Stepping Stones currently has two recovery homes, one for men and one for women, but there are no recovery homes in the state specifically for women with children. Mothers having to leave their children is often a major barrier to seeking treatment and long-term recovery. 

Thanks to the Community Investment Fund grant from Edward-Elmhurst Health, Stepping Stones is seeking to remove that barrier by constructing Will County’s first Recovery Home for women with children. 

The new building will house eight two-bedroom apartment units, seven for women in recovery and an eighth for a house manager to ensure someone is always on-site to provide supervision and support. In addition to recovery support groups and counseling sessions, the Center will continue to provide integrated mental health services, assistance finding employment and education in areas such as budgeting, parenting and stress management.
The Center will refer and coordinate care with partner organizations for additional services like daycare, healthcare for the children and primary medical care for the mother in addition to assisting the family in securing safe, recovery-based, long-term housing.

In addition to helping mothers who are entering treatment stay with their children, the Recovery Home program will also help mothers reunite with children who have been removed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Mothers in the residential treatment program can get supervised visits with their children at the Center. After moving into the coming recovery home, they will become eligible for increased visitation including overnight stays, which are the steps required by DCFS before the children can be returned to the mother’s custody.
“Our goal with this Recovery Home is to help reunite families,” said Lauridsen.
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