ABC Counseling & Family Services, Inc. was founded in September of 1992. It is a private, not-for-profit, non-sectarian agency with its home office located in Normal, Illinois. The agency was opened to meet the need for specialized services in adoption and sexual abuse assessments and treatment.
Founder and Former Executive Director, Lynn Willard, came to the agency in 1992 with almost twenty years of social service experience, the last ten of which were spent in adoption and sexual abuse counseling. Lynn Willard had a dream of opening an agency that would specialize in a couple of areas of social service, and one that would be very personalized and not bureaucratic.
Lynn Willard recognized the importance of personalizing client’s needs rather than obtaining notoriety. She had experienced first hand the sorrow of adoptive couples being turned away from agencies because they were too old to adopt or because they would wait longer than couples of a particular religious affiliation. She had worked with older children placed in adoptive homes who had been sexually abused and found there were no counselors specifically trained to provide individual and group counseling.
Since ABC Counseling & Family Services opened, the agency has served over 8,000 clients and families throughout Central Illinois. Our staff has grown from one full-time and one part-time to four part-time staff and fourteen full-time staff with a steady stream of MSW and BSW interns.
ABC has also expanded and opened offices in Champaign/Urbana, Decatur, Springfield, Peoria, and Pekin, Illinois. The agency recruits student interns from Illinois State University along with other universities and trains these bachelor’s and master’s level students in skills from Adoption and Sexual Abuse Counseling to Business and Public Relations.
All children deserve to have a family and that they should be given the best opportunities in life.
In the same way birth parents are empowered to make choices, adoptive parents should be able to look to ABC for guidance and direction, not mandates. We do not have strict requirements like many agencies do.
Successful adoptions are those in which everyone’s needs are met: the child’s, the birth parent’s, and the adoptive parent’s.
ABC believes in allowing the adoptive parents and birth parents as much flexibility as possible in making the adoption plan for the child. While recognize the fact that from a legal standpoint adoptions are handled in a uniform way, each adoption is special and the circumstances surrounding it are unique.