Our Mission

At CTF Illinois, we create pathways toward independence, a higher quality of life, and economic prosperity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Our mission is to empower the people we support to live the life they want to live. We believe that together, our Communities can Transform Futures for people with disabilities. We believe in individuality and hands-on learning, and create person-centered plans of service for each person we support.

We serve 620+ people each year throughout the state of Illinois.

Our Vision: To create a culture where people are not defined by their differences, but recognized for the value they bring their communities.

Woman with hair tied back holding a trumpet towards the camera and smiling

Our Values

Your choice, our goal.

Optimize resources with great responsibility and integrity.

Foster a culture of respect through open communication and thoughtful action.

Create a place to learn with room to grow.

Enjoy what you do and share that passion with others

Strive to find ways to continuously improve.

Embrace collaboration to create extraordinary achievements.

Man with developmental disability (I/DD) eating ice cream and smiling.
Woman in tie dye shirt riding a bike built for people with disabilities

Supporting our community since 1971.

It all started in 1971 when Charley Smith a special education teacher, understood the needs of this community. Charley’s family members were having a difficult time finding employment opportunities after being discharged from the Tinley Park Mental Health Center. Charley, with the support of his Tinley Park High School classmate Jerry Meyer, opened the doors to “Southwest Community Services” in 1971.

50 years later, with a name change from several mergers, CTF Illinois now supports 620+ people and families throughout seven counties in Illinois.

We’ve had the privilege of supporting thousands of people since 1971, and will continue to do so with the same passion and commitment that led Charley and Jerry to found our organization.

Our History

Charley Smith and Jerry Meyer partner to open Markham Workshop in Markham, IL.


Southwest Community Services is formed; providing multiple service program to people with disabilities through out Chicago South Suburbs.


Southwest Community services continues to expand its mental health and supported employment programs.


Charleston Transitional Facility opens in Charleston, IL providing day program and CILA services to people with intellectual disabilities. 


Both Southwest Community Services expand their days programs and CILA services, now in 7 counties throughout Illinois.


Our first community-based art program for adults with disabilities opens: an art studio and storefront that teaches people art therapy and gives them a place to showcase and sell their work to earn income.


We launch our advocacy program, where people in our communities rally together to participate in campaigns defending the rights of people with disabilities.


CTF merges with Southwest Community Services & LifeStyles Academy, expanding our reach from the south suburban area of Chicago through the Palos Park area.

Thanks to these mergers, we are able to offer easier access to a huge variety of high-quality services to people with developmental disabilities.


We open ADAPT: behavioral health treatment for people with a dual diagnosis of a developmental disability and a mental health disorder.


In late 2018, we open our second art center: RITA (Realizing Integration Through the Arts). RITA serves as an educational training center for adults with developmental disabilities with a focus on the arts.

We adopt LifeStyles Academy as a new program option, providing a secondary education option to people who are finished with high school.


We open our first vocational training site Crestwood alongside a therapy center in Tinley Park.

Later that year, our THRIVE sensory program opens.


Today, CTF Illinois continues to expand its services and will soon open its largest facility RISE (Realizing Integration by supporting Employment) in Orland Park and our first technology-supported CILA in Lincoln, IL.


Ready to join our community?

Our Community Partners