Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, also known as C4, announced it was closing its doors at the end of May. C4 serves over 10,000 clients a year. The announcement late last month worried staff and clients, who said mental health services in the city were already hard to find.
In an email to staff Thursday, C4 President Eileen Durkin said they are working with other organizations to acquire C4 in its entirety. “If this happens,” she wrote, “consumers will continue to receive their services here at C4 without any interruption.”
Durkin explained that because of confidentiality agreements, C4 cannot share specifics about interested organizations. She added that, “In the event that an acquisition does not work out for us, we will continue with a closing transition plan.”
Durkin has blamed the closing of C4 on a botched billing system. Former C4 Chief Administrative Officer, John Troy, said the budget was tight before the billing system was implemented. And he believes the problem began with state cuts--and C4 did not adjust.
“State cuts hurt, C4 was too dependent on them,” said Troy.
Troy said that even before the organization announced the closure, the agency was looking to partner with other providers, but, he said, “No one would partner with them because of high dependency on state.”
Durkin confirmed to WBEZ that C4 was looking at partnerships before announcing its closure. Adding that C4’s dependency on the state, “was off-putting to some [organizations], but not others.”
Illinois State Representative Greg Harris chairs the Human Services Appropriations Committee for the state. He said that as federal and state government budgets have tightened, he believes “non-profits, without other funding sources, have been negatively impacted sooner and harder than those with diversified funding.”
Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed cuts to mental health services in the next budget. In a report released Thursday, the Civic Federation opposed state cuts to community-based mental health as fiscally unsound. The report said, “community-based care is more efficient and effective in the long run than institutional treatment.”
WBEZ will update this story as more information becomes available.
Shannon Heffernan is a reporter at WBEZ. Follow her at @shannon_h.