Up next in our Feature Friday series is TASC Smart Start! TASC stands for Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities and this organization got its start in 1976. Today, TASC’s many programs serve all counties in Illinois, but the Smart Start program is specific to Peoria county.
What They Do
TASC Smart Start is a program specifically designed to support pregnant individuals and those with young children. They provide access to high-quality resources for health, social issues, education, and child development. Some services related to families and children include providing formula, bottles, clothing, wipes, car seats/car seat vouchers.
Since TASC offers so many services in addition to those they provide with Loving Bottoms, they complete various assessments for clients and can help connect people from all walks of life to the services they need. One of TASC’s main goals is to keep communities informed and knowledgeable about substance use disorders, mental health, and family services. They believe substance use disorders, mental health, and family services should be accessible for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, income, geography, religion, gender identity, language, sexual orientation, and disability. In line with this, TASC advocates for ADA compliance, language access, and effective communication in all areas of service delivery.
TASC also prides themself on making decisions based on the best available empirical evidence and data. They always operate with a sense of urgency because gaps in care can have serious impacts on people’s lives.
Trials and Triumphs
One of this agency’s biggest challenges is trying to provide consistent services to clients. Many clients can be hard to find and follow up with, but TASC has still enjoyed significant success in helping individuals get the services they need. They point to the instances in which clients have healthy babies, are successful in substance abuse and mental health treatment, and/or reach their personal goals as their biggest successes.
A story that this organization wished to share is about one of their clients who was pregnant and in need of support. She was homeless and lacked a support system. After losing her first child in an accident and struggling to care for her second child, she began dealing with a drug addiction. One of TASC’s long-time case managers worked with this client to help her regain control of her life. She now has access to community resources which provide health care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, free legal counsel, parenting classes, and education.
How to Help
Those interested in becoming TASC clients can seek assistance in a variety of ways, including self-referral, referral from another client, and/or referred by the state. TASC also has a Facebook page specific to TASC and specific to TASC-Smart Start.
Individuals who want to get involved with TASC should follow their Facebook pages or call their office at 855-827-2444 with questions. Staff are more than happy to arrange meetings and explain all that TASC has to offer.