Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

Nexus-Onarga Family Healing has been part of the Onarga community since the early 1990s as a residential treatment facility for children struggling with emotional, behavioral, and mental health to help them find a path forward. Our experienced therapists and staff are trained specifically in mental health trauma and recognizing the unique needs of every child and family.

The youth we help have experienced multiple traumas in their short lives, and we provide them the tools to manage and move forward.

All of this takes place on the historic campus of the former Onarga Military School which was originally the Grand Prairie Seminary. We have modernized the beautiful structures from the past and added new residential and educational facilities.

We are passionate about bringing hope to the most challenging situations with trauma-informed care and restorative practices in our residential setting in a community of just over 1,200 people.
You are an expert in your field! What do you help people with? What kinds of questions do you receive most frequently? What should people know? What problems does your organization “solve”?
There has been an alarming increase in mental health issues in young people. A recent Surgeon General Advisory and other sources have called this a crisis. At Nexus-Onarga, we do all we can to support youth in need and we do this through not only our residential services but through our Therapeutic Foster Care program.

And, because May is National Foster Care Month, we’re focusing on raising awareness for those who may be interested in fostering and making a difference in the lives of these youth. As a licensed foster parent in our Therapeutic Foster Care program, I (Tyler) help youth and their families in the transition and reunification process after completing a Nexus-Onarga Residential Treatment program. These services are currently only available for youth who are placed at Nexus-Onarga through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Our two licensed foster care homes are located near Nexus-Onarga’s campus, and each home serves 2-3 male youth at a time. These homes provide a therapeutic, community-based home setting that supports and encourages a youth’s continued treatment progress. We work closely with the youth’s family to support frequent family interaction, establish strong family communication, and involve families in day-to-day care, activities, and treatment decisions. Our goal is to help create positive family experiences and memories.

Nexus-Onarga is unique in that it has its own foster homes only a block from campus, and the foster parents are employed by Nexus-Onarga so that they have all the resources and training that are available to other campus employees. This includes a professional and compassionate interdisciplinary team including a therapist, caseworker, transition specialist, and program supervisor. Plus, there are comprehensive benefits and rent-free living for our therapeutic foster parents.

At Nexus, we believe that every child is worth it-and every family matters. We understand each time we help a child change the course of his or her life, we create the potential for healthier families, stronger communities, and a better world. Simply put, changing one life changes everything.

We are hosting an open house on Sunday, May 15th from 1-3 pm at our Treatment Foster Family Home to give people the opportunity to learn more about the Therapeutic Foster parent position and to see firsthand the welcoming environment that is part of the restorative and healing experience at Nexus-Onarga.
A second open house will be held on Thursday, May 19th from 5:30-7:30pm to provide another chance to explore this unique and rewarding position. For more details, visit or