In an effort to provide improved coordination in the delivery of mental health services to youth, Illinois developed the Screening, Assessment and Support Services (SASS) program for children and adolescents experiencing a mental health crisis. This initiative rolled out on July 1, 2004, as part of the implementation of the Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003 (pdf) (html) (Public Act 93-0495), which was signed into law on August 8, 2003.
The SASS initiative is a cooperative partnership between the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and the Department of Human Services (DHS). The development of the tri-department SASS program created a single, statewide system to serve children experiencing a mental health crisis whose care will require public funding from one of the three agencies. This program features a single point of entry (Crisis And Referral Entry Service, CARES) for all children entering the system and ensures that children receive crisis services in the most appropriate setting.
If you have questions or comments regarding the Screening, Assessment and Support Services (SASS) program, please Contact Us. If you are in need of SASS Services or experiencing a mental health crisis, please contact the CARES line at 1-800-345-9049.
More information on the creation of the SASS program, as well as information on the Children's Mental Health Partnership, is available at the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority Web site.