|This website is dedicated to
the raising of awareness of
the Plight of our Veterans
trying to get help through the
VA system! And to educate the
American Public to the
existence of the Vet Center
program with the intent of
procuring additional funding to
Save Our Veterans!!!
Vet centers are staffed with professionals experienced and
trained in working with veterans. Counselors come from many
disciplines including psychology, social work, nursing and
rehabilitation counseling. Many staff members are military
Vet Centers are a place of action. Because Vet Center counselors
are expert in psychological impact of trauma, in recent years they
have been called upon to assist not only military veterans, but
also to consult regarding those affected by earthquakes,
hurricanes, airline disasters and criminal violence.
Vet Centers are a place of learning. Counselors receive ongoing
in-service training from experts in the field.
* Individual counseling
* Group Readjustment Counseling
* Marital and family counseling
* Spouse/Significant Other Group
* VA benefits assistance and referral
* Substance abuse counseling and referrals
* Pre-employment assistance, job referral and employment
* Discharge upgrade information
* Community, social service and medical referrals
* Liaison with VA Facilities and Community Agencies
* Sexual trauma/harassment counseling (veterans of both sexes ~
Although the Vet Center provides a broad range of
Readjustment services, it does have a specialty - the
treatment of war trauma. Such traumas often, but not
always, result in a condition called Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD)... Family members and
significant others are also eligible to receive
readjustment counselling services when related to
the resolution of the veteran's readjustment
difficulties. All services are free to eligible veterans
and their families and significant others.
Trauma Counseling: To ensure the highest quality of counseling for postraumatic
stress disorder symptoms delivered in accessible community settings.
Special Populations: To reach out to disenfranchised and unserved veterans.
Networking: To establish working relationships with local, state, and federal
organizations to assist veterans who are readjusting from military to civilian life.
Wellness: To promote wellness activities with veterans to help them reach quality
health and life goals and diminish the need for more intensive health care.
Leadership: To serve as the leaders in provision of treatment and outreach for
veterans suffering from war trauma and connect veterans to appropriate resources to
compassionately heal that trauma.
Management :To provide a cost effective system of community based Vet Centers
bringing services to eligible veterans.
Transitional Assistance: To assist trasitioning military personnel with
professional readjustment services.
Vet Center Mission:
Vet Centers serve veterans and their families by providing a continuum of quality care
that adds value for veterans, families, and communities. Care includes professional
readjustment counseling, community education, outreach to special populations, the
brokering of services with community agencies, and provides a key access link
between the veteran and other services in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Home » Hearings » Current Hearings
“Is the VA Prepared to Meet the Needs of Our Returning Vets?”
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
Readjustment Counseling Service
155 S. Oak Park Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302
From: Jeanne A. Douglas, PhD, Team Leader, Oak Park, IL Vet Center
To: Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs
Subject: Testimony pertaining to Oak Park, Illinois Vet Center Operations Panel,
My name is Dr. Jeanne Douglas, PhD, team leader of the Oak Park, Illinois Vet Center. Thank
you for taking my testimony, I am honored to be here and provide testimony pertaining to the
operations of the Oak Park, Illinois Vet Center.
The Department of Veterans Affairs, Readjustment Counseling Service (Vet Centers) was
established in 1979 under Public Law 96-22 to address the readjustment needs of Vietnam
veterans. Additional legislation extended program eligibility to veterans of other combat theaters,
and to veterans who experience sexual trauma as a result of their military service. Vet Centers are
traditionally located in communities to provide access to veterans in a setting that is as stress free as
possible. There are currently 207 Vet Centers in the United States and Puerto Rico.
The Oak Park, Illinois Vet Center was opened in January of 1980 and offers services to veterans
who live on the Westside of Chicago and Cook county extending through the far western
communities in Kane, DeKalb and DuPage Counties. Our staff consists of five mental health
professionals including veterans from Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm. Currently located at
155 South Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois 60302, our Vet Center provides direct clinical
services to combat veterans and veterans who have experienced sexual trauma and harassment
during their time in the military. These clinical services may include individual, group, marital or
family therapy. In addition, we provide outreach to homeless veterans, employment assistance to
underemployed and unemployed veterans, referrals to veterans seeking disability, education for
community mental health professionals, pre-release planning for incarcerated veterans,
bereavement counseling for family members, and we are present at programs for returning OIF
veterans and their families.
Our catchment area covers an array of ethnic and racial compositions, and includes a wide variety of
social economic conditions. It is our intent to understand the needs of veterans from different
backgrounds so our services reflect our efforts to engage our clients
with openness and sensitivity. Therefore, we have worked hard to become a part of a network of
agencies that reach veterans in our community, creating a continuum of care that provides
medical, dental, optical services; employment, legal, and housing assistance; benefits and
educational information and a full range of psychological and trauma counseling. We have
collaborative relationships with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the Veterans Benefits
Administration (VBA), County Health Departments, County Veterans Assistance offices, and
veteran's service organizations to help us as we work to ensure a quality lifestyle for all returning
In addition, there are four other Vet Centers in the Chicago Metropolitan area (Beverly, Evanston
and Chicago Heights in Illinois; Merriville, Indiana). The staff at all five Vet Centers work well
together planning city wide events such as the upcoming Supermarket of Veterans Services,
Standdowns, and various educational opportunities for our staff. We are able to share tasks when
we need representation at National Guard and Reserve events or to providing a presence at job
fairs, health fairs, or school programs. This Vet Center team effort makes it possible for us to
direct veterans to the most convenient and appropriate facility to meet their needs.
Since the Oak Park Vet Center opened, we have served over 12,000 veterans and their families.
In fiscal year 2004, we provided over 4453 visits, and in fiscal year 2005, we have provided over
3612 veteran visits. We are actively serving service members who are returning from the Global
War on Terrorism and their families by providing briefings and materials upon their unit request.
Returning soldiers are briefed on programs provided by the Vet Center, and about the potential
impact of deployment on individuals and families. We provide monthly briefings to the 88th RRC
(Forest Park, IL), to General Jones Armory, to Northwest Armory, and to North Riverside
Armory. We also facilitate monthly support groups to family members of deployed service
members. Our collaboration with family support representatives ensures that the Oak Park Vet
Center is involved in addressing the readjustment needs of returning service members.
Again, thank you for taking my testimony pertaining to the service delivery of the Oak Park,
Illinois Vet Center.
Jeanne A. Douglas, PhD
"Keeping the Promise"