The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has awarded One Hope United a $111,250 grant that will help it change its role in the type of young people it is serving.
Executive Director Melissa Webster says the changes will allow One Hope to better serve a DCFS need in the state.
“Most recently the shortage has been in the ability to serve young ladies, to serve girls. So the Centralia campus is now going to be able to expand our capacity to serve almost all girls. We will serve young ladies 14 to 18, and the enhancement allows us to put some additional security and to make the homes where the girls live, more secure and safer.”
Webster expects the employment level at One Hope United to remain about the same at 70 employees or a slight increase.
“So we’re just serving a heartbeat fewer youth we’ll be able to have some additional staff members. So our staff size will remain the same, our budget actually increased, and the design is that the girls will receive more services, they’ll receive more comprehensive trauma-informed services, so they can step down from our facility more quickly and get back into the community.
Webster says they expect to have about 31 youth. She hopes the work can be completed by next June.
Male residents are in the process of being transitioned out of the program or being relocated.
Webster says they are always hiring and welcome applicants. She notes this type of work is not for everyone, but many employees have been there for years. Webster is also thankful of the Centralia community and churches for their support.