New police social work partnership project gets major boost

Local News

The Center for Youth and Family Solutions (CYFS), a nonprofit counseling and child welfare social work agency in the Quad Cities, has announced that Heidi Huiskamp Collins has made a major transformation gift of $100,000 to the newly developed Police Social Work partnership project created in conjunction with the City of Moline Police Department.

The project was designed as a response to address and better serve the large number of non-law enforcement calls and service requests police receive daily from the community so as to screen and refer and provide service that better meets the needs of youth, adults, and families in these situations, a news release says.

It is also designed to establish an increased culture of service and partnership with dignity and respect for all community members in their interactions with law enforcement in this very challenging societal context which we are seeing throughout the nation. Offering a social work service option for families, when appropriate, as well as a traditional community safety, security, and protection function is an expansion of police engagement and a progressive model of servant leadership.

The project was conceived by Darren Gault, chief of police for the City of Moline, after analysis of thousands of police contacts and discussions with various community leaders and advocacy groups. Moline Police already had been managing in the field emergency mental health and victim services
referrals, wellness checks for seniors, interventions with troubled youth, homeless support, and child trauma referrals, but saw the need as much greater than they could effectively manage on their own and wanted to do more to serve the community.

Gault reached out to CYFS and the partnership began in the late summer of 2020 and has already
identified hundreds of contacts that could potentially benefit from social work services. Engaging these families has been an ongoing challenging task to meet the extraordinary identified need.

The Huiskamp Collins gift will enable the project to dedicate more resources for embedding social
workers at the station to respond and be dispatched quickly in the field, to allow more time for social worker ride-alongs with police in the field, to expand social worker time with Police School Resource Officers(SRO) in the schools, to increase community relationship building activities in neighborhoods with the new Police Community Outreach Mobile Unit , and to conduct enhanced quality assurance research and outcome analysis in cooperation with an expert consultant faculty from St. Ambrose University.

Huiskamp Collins, a Quad-City area philanthropist and community leader, was motivated to
support the project after hearing of the initiative last year.

“This collaborative program between the Moline Police Department and the Center for Youth and Family Solutions checks all the boxes for me,” she said. “It addresses our neighbors suffering from insecurity around basic needs, advocacy for better mental health outcomes, inequity among diverse and disenfranchised groups and homelessness. I applaud the leadership and creativity of Chief Gault and Tony Riordan and am so humbled to play a very small role in this signature project that I hope will become a blueprint for community policing and outreach around our country.”

The project is ongoing and will expand services this summer with the transformational gift support. The hope is to be able to implement this type of response collaboration community wide in the future.

CYFS is a not-for-profit human services agency that works with those who have been impacted by trauma, grief and loss, abuse and neglect, and other significant family life challenges. The organization provides foster care and adoption services; behavioral health counseling; crisis pregnancy counseling; intact family intervention; residential services for youth; senior services; and youth, family, and community outreach services.

Its mission is to engage and serve children and families in need with dignity, compassion, and respect by building upon individual and community strengths to resolve life challenges. CYFS has 11 offices across Illinois, and annually serves more than 20,000 individuals statewide.

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