708 Mental Health Boards Coming to Dundee and Elgin
On March 17, Elgin Township and Dundee Township voters saw a referendum question on their ballot: “Shall Elgin (or Dundee) Township establish and maintain community mental health facilities and services including facilities and services for the person with a developmental disability or a substance use disorder and levy, therefore, an annual tax of not to exceed 0.15%?”
Thanks to a lot of hard work by a team that included members of NAMI Kane County North, the answer was a resounding “YES” from residents, so a 708 Board will be established in each community. The purpose of a 708 Board, named for the House of Representatives Resolution 708 that created such entities, is to respond to the local mental health, substance use disorder, and developmental disability needs of their constituents. These 7-member volunteer boards are appointed by Township Supervisors, governed by the Illinois Community Mental Health Act (405 ILCS 20) and are accountable to the citizens of their community.
Some of the services that are funded by 708 Boards include: mental health services in schools, substance use prevention services for young people, in-home mental health support for seniors, mental health services for domestic violence survivors, co-response crisis services in conjunction with law enforcement, in-home therapy for youth with Autism, and many others. These services allow a community to support people where they live, work, learn and play.
708 Boards also become an avenue to build awareness for mental health, substance use, and developmental disabilities in a community. They are aware of local issues and can identify local solutions that often bring unlikely partners together.
As per the referendum question, a small tax of up to 0.15% of the assessed value of a home (about $80 – $90 per year on average) is collected. The 708 Board is then responsible for putting out a request for proposal that will stipulate who is eligible for funding. At a public meeting, the 708 Board determines the amount of funding that will be provided to each respondent based on how well it meets the request for the proposal’s parameters. After funding is allotted, the 708 Board monitors progress toward the goals.