Stepping Stones for Rockford opens their first outreach counseling center

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – A major stepping stone for one Rockford non-profit as they celebrate the opening of its first counseling center geared for children.

Stepping Stones has built strong roots in Rockford, providing housing and rehab services to children six and older and their families since 1969 and now Stepping Stones is stepping out, opening the nonprofit’s first outreach counseling center. 80 people have enrolled since late February.

“The suicide rate has dramatically increased and been able to get people in quickly who are in need of care and not having to wait for weeks to be able to get an appointment is essential,” says CEO Sue Schroeder.

There is a two-week waiting list for care, but Schroeder says bringing on more therapists should speed up treatment opportunities. Funding for the center was made possible thanks to a half-cent tax increase for mental health services.

“These services are so needed, especially coming out of the pandemic, especially for youth. I would say that mental health services are critical to addressing so many challenges we face in this community and this is a start,” says State Senator Steve Stadelman.

The tax hike brings in almost $16 million thanks to a referendum led by State Senator Steve Stadelman.

“There are some counseling services in school but what happens after school’s out… To be able to provide especially trauma-informed care to these younger individuals is huge,” says Schroeder.

The center primarily serves those with Medicaid or other Managed Car Insurance, though resources are available to anyone who qualifies for treatment.

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