Merger between nonprofit organizations finalized

Merger between nonprofit organizations finalized

DANVILLE — The Center for Children's Services and Aunt Martha's Vermilion Area Community Health Center finalized a merger between the two nonprofit organizations.

Under the merger, which took effect on Sunday, the center will operate as a division of Aunt Martha's. The merger will not affect the center's programs and services or its staff.

"The services available to the community will be enhanced by the closer integration of health care and social services," said Ed Michaels, the center's chief executive officer. "And the consolidation of administrative responsibilities will enable the organization to make a greater investment in services."

The center at 702 N. Logan Ave., Danville, provides a wide array of services to youths and their families including individual, group and family counseling, psychological evaluations, crisis intervention, education programs for teen parents and pregnant teens, therapeutic youth mentoring and advocacy, parenting and in-home support services, a doula program, an intensive outpatient program and job training, among others.

Michaels said it serves nearly 2,000 people a year.

Aunt Martha's at 614 N. Gilbert St., Danville, provides primary and preventative health care, dental care and behavioral health care, medication assistance, family-planning services and family case management services, primarily to the uninsured and underinsured. It typically serves more than 5,000 people in the Vermilion County a year.

Since the two agencies began working together several years ago, they have been able to significantly increase psychiatric and mental health services to youth, Michaels has said. He said the organization's boards have been discussing the idea of a merger for close to a year.

Raul Garza, chief executive officer of Aunt Martha's Youth Service Center headquartered in Olympia Fields, called the merger a "strategic move that goes beyond the balance sheet." He added the merger positions the organization to succeed as part of Illinois' emerging coordinated-care system.

"There isn't another organization in the region with the capability to seamlessly integrate health care and social services in the way we will be at Aunt Martha's as a result of this merger," Garza said.

Michaels added the organization will be better positioned for future revenue streams, which are likely to emphasize the integration of primary and behavioral health care.

"The vision we've created with Aunt Martha's is very exciting, and it will provide long-term benefits for our clients, our staff and this community," he said.