Rosecrance renames downtown building to honor the late Frank Ware, merger between Rosecrance and Janet Wattles complete
Online Staff Report
Rosecrance President/CEO Philip W. Eaton announced Sept. 2 that the downtown Janet Wattles Center building will be renamed the “Rosecrance Ware Center” to honor the agency’s longtime director, Frank Ware, who died unexpectedly in February.
At an event held outside the newly dedicated Rosecrance Ware Center at 526 W. State St., Eaton also announced that the mental health services agency has formally merged into Rosecrance, effective Sept. 2.
The innovative merger makes Rosecrance the state’s most comprehensive network of behavioral health services, delivering treatment for individuals with substance use and mental health disorders.
“It feels right to name this building in honor of Frank Ware, who dedicated his entire career to improving the lives of people with serious mental illness,” Eaton said. “When Frank died in February, we already had linked our agencies and we were working on the steps that have led to the official merger.
“The goal is the same now as it was then — to be at the forefront of integrating services in order to improve care for individuals who need treatment for addiction, mental illness or both conditions,” Eaton said.
Eaton emphasized that, under the merger, Rosecrance will continue the mission of serving individuals with serious, chronic mental illness.
“Our intent is not only to continue that mission, but to grow it,” he said. “For 22 years, Frank was the conscience of our community when it came to providing respectful care to people who are too often stigmatized and pushed to the margins.
“When others didn’t want to see them, Frank looked them in the eye, sat down beside them and listened to what they needed,” Eaton said.
The two organizations began combining operations on Jan. 1, 2011, under a formal “affiliation.” Although Rosecrance became the parent company at that point, each entity retained separate corporate status. Now, the former Wattles organization is part of Rosecrance.
The new organization will have one board of directors. Members of the former Janet Wattles Center Board of Directors will join the Rosecrance Board.
Since the affiliation went into effect in January, the two organizations have made strides in merging some functions of their operations to improve efficiency, including Human Resources, Information Technology and Finance. Already, Eaton said, there have been savings in purchasing and in negotiating for services such as insurance.
In addition, the organization has made progress toward integrating programs and creating new services to treat people with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.
The event at the Rosecrance Ware Center featured several speakers who gave tributes to Frank Ware. All spoke of his passion for improving access to treatment and reducing stigma for people with mental illness.
Ware died Feb. 13, 2011, 22 years to the day from when he took over leadership of Janet Wattles Center. At the time of his death, he and Eaton were in the process of integrating the two companies’ operations to better serve the community.
Rosecrance is a private, not-for-profit organization offering behavioral health services for children, adolescents, adults and families. Rosecrance provides addiction treatment through inpatient and outpatient programs in Rockford and offers services at five satellite offices in the Chicago area. In addition, Rosecrance provides community mental health services in Rockford and Belvidere. Rosecrance and its affiliates serve more than 13,000 families each year.
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