(Springfield, IL) – Recognized for providing solutions in response to addiction, TASC was honored at the Addiction Policy Forum’s Illinois Innovations Now! banquet at the Lincoln Library in Springfield on June 11.
Addiction Policy Forum (APF) is a prominent, nationwide organization focused on addressing addiction and providing support for families and communities.
APF recognized eight Illinois innovations, including awards to TASC for Specialized Case Management services across Illinois, as well as the Family Recovery and Reunification Program (FRRP), which is offered in Cook, Madison, and St. Clair Counties in partnership with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Additionally, the Illinois Department of Corrections’ Moms and Babies program, in which TASC is a partner, received an award for its nursery program at the Decatur Correctional Center.
In a ceremony emceed by Emmy-award winning journalist Kimberly Clapp, APF also presented awards to A Way Out and the Safe Passage Initiative for pre-arrest diversion initiatives. Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim, who chairs the A Way Out program, offered keynote remarks, stating that when working as a prosecutor a decade ago, he observed people struggling with addiction. “I knew that none of these people woke up and said, ‘I’m going to go be addicted to heroin today.’”
Also honored were Operation Snowball
for prevention services, and the Positive Sobriety Institute at Northwestern University and the Chicago Recovering Communities Coalition
for outreach and recovery support.
All eight of the honored programs and services are featured in the Addiction Policy Forum’s report, Illinois Innovations to Address Addiction.
TASC President Pam Rodriguez accepted APF’s award for TASC’s Specialized Case Management, which is a service model that facilitates linkages to community-based treatment. The TASC model was initiated by the White House in the 1970s as an alternative to incarceration, and has since evolved in Illinois, not only in court and prosecutorial diversion settings, but also in community reentry, juvenile justice services, family recovery services, and more.
“We’ve come so far,” said Rodriguez in accepting the award for TASC. “And yet there are still hundreds of thousands of people in the justice system with substance use disorders. And we can’t give up on them.”
Applying TASC’s specialized case management to child welfare services, the Family Recovery and Reunification Program (also referred to as “Recovery Coach Program”) helps families whose children are placed into foster care as a result of substance misuse–related maltreatment. The goal is to reunify families after treatment when the parents can provide a safe and drug-free home for their children.
Rodney Walker, director of TASC’s Youth and Family Services, accepted the award on behalf of TASC. “What’s special about the Family Recovery and Reunification Program is that it’s an opportunity to strengthen families rather than giving up on them,” he said. “We provide not only hope, but the mechanism to make change happen.”
“Illinois saw more than 2,700 overdose deaths last year, but there is hope – this brain disorder can be treated and innovators on the front lines are breaking new ground to treat people struggling with substance use and support their families,” said Jessica Hulsey Nickel, founder of Addiction Policy Forum. “The Innovation Now Initiative recognizes programs transforming the response to addiction and offering solutions in a time of crisis.”
Addiction Policy Forum is a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating addiction as a major health problem. Its national headquarters are located in Washington, DC, with resources and services in every state.
TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities) advocates on behalf of people whose substance use disorders have contributed to their involvement in criminal justice, juvenile justice, or child welfare systems. Offering direct services across Illinois, as well as national and international consulting and training, TASC facilitates linkages from these systems to treatment and recovery support in the community. In FY18, TASC supported more than 13,700 individuals and families in achieving health and self-sufficiency in the community.
Gathered at the Lincoln Library in Springfield to accept Illinois Innovation Awards from the Addiction Policy Forum (l. to r.): Kathy Bettinardi-Angres, Positive Sobriety Institute; John Wright, Chicago Recovering Communities Coalition; Riley Blythe, Operation Snowball; Alison White, Safe Passage Initiative; Jane Moskus and Shelith Hansbro, Illinois Dept. of Corrections; Pam Rodriguez and Rodney Walker, TASC; Bill Gentes, Lake County Opioid Initiative/A Way Out.