JOLIET – Joliet Township High School District 204 board members approved a partnership with a Bloomington-based nonprofit organization that provides addiction treatment services.
At Tuesday’s meeting, board members unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding between Chestnut Health Systems and District 204. The school district plans to work with the organization to provide substance abuse assessment and addiction counseling services for students.
“We think Chestnut will be a perfect partnership,” said Superintendent Cheryl McCarthy.
Under the memorandum of understanding, Chestnut Health Systems services will be billed according to regulations set by the Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and will not be the responsibility of District 204.
Chestnut Health Systems reached out to District 204 officials in May to form the partnership, district officials said. Elizabeth Helton, Chestnut Health Systems outpatient coordinator, said at the meeting the organization identifies areas in the state where its services are needed.
“Will County is definitely one of those areas. We were not able to find services within 25 miles of Joliet,” Helton said.
Chestnut Health Systems has locations in Joliet, Belleville, Edwardsville, Granite City, Maryville, Peoria and Lincoln, district officials said.
Under the partnership, students will be able access Chestnut Health Systems services at its Houboult Road location, as well as West and Central campuses.
Jo Wooten, West high school assistant principal, wrote in a memo to McCarthy adolescents in need of addiction treatment services without transportation are not able to receive addiction services.
Adolescents placed for residential treatment are “not afforded accessible aftercare upon returning to the home environment,” she wrote.
“This partnership is going to be able to provide on-campus support for our families in the area,” Wooten said at the meeting.
District officials said Chestnut Health Systems use an evidence-based program called Adolescent Community Reinforcement.
This approach seeks to replace external causes of alcohol or drug use among adolescents with “prosocial activities and behaviors that support recovery,” according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.