Founded in 1947 as an agency of the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, today Caritas Family Solutions provides an array of social services to meet the social and emotional needs of people from all backgrounds throughout Southern Illinois.
Initially, the agency services consisted of family support for Catholic immigrants that settled in the diocese, particularly the Belleville area. In 1947, Monsignor Albert Zuroweste built upon these humble beginnings and established Catholic Charities. In 1968, Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Belleville became incorporated as Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois (CSS).
What began as a small organization with one office has grown to include four regional offices serving Central and Southern Illinois. The initial office opened in East St. Louis and later moved to Belleville. In 1980, the agency responded to an increasing need for family services and opened the Marion, Mt. Carmel and Breese offices. The Marion office later combined services with the Carbondale office when it opened in 1995. In continuing to meet community needs, services for families and children began at the Mt. Vernon office in 1989.
In 1992, CSS opened the St. John Bosco Children’s Center in Belleville to serve abused or neglected children (ages 6 to 12 years) through a short-term residential treatment program – the only one of its kind south of Bloomington. In 2006, CSS added the management of Fox River Assisted Living Center in Olney and in 2010 the management of St. John’s Daycare and Preschool in Belleville, both as extensions of the agency mission in action.
On February 1st, 2012, Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois became Christian Social Services of Illinois. In an agreement with the Diocese of Belleville, CSS chose to become independent of the diocese in order to adhere to the new State of Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act and to avoid closing the agency. Also in 2012, offices were opened in East Alton and Effingham.
In June 2013, the CSS Board of Directors decided to change the name of the agency to Caritas Family Solutions. This change became effective on January 1, 2014. Also in 2013, the Carbondale office relocated to Carterville and the Mt. Carmel office was moved to Mt. Vernon. St. John’s Daycare and Preschool closed in 2014 and that same year the agency opened it’s first Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) for developmentally disabled adults. All of these changes occurred in order to better meet the needs of those we serve.
Caritas Family Solutions is currently financed by several income sources. The largest portion of the budget relies on state funds from the Department of Children and Family Services. United Way also provides a significant annual allocation. In addition, corporate and foundation grants, fundraising events, and individual contributions account for the remainder of our funding.