Since 1870, we've served the changing needs of the Kansas City children and families.
Our mission is to help at-risk children and families reach their potential through education, counseling, and social services.
The vision of Gillis is that all children and families will live in emotionally stable, safe and nurturing environments.
Gillis...Serving Children & Families Since 1870
Words from the President & CEO: Growth and Change Ahead for 2015
Monday, March 09, 2015

With the new year in full swing, I’m reminded of all the great strides made and challenges overcome in 2014 that have brought us to this point.  Over the past 12 months, Gillis has experienced significant shifts and changes.  Yet as we have done for over 140 years – and with your help, our Gillis family of supporters – we have again answered the call to innovate and adjust so we can better serve the changing needs of the children and families in our community. 

In 2014, Gillis expanded our key services out in the community.  We renewed our outpatient efforts, bringing therapy programs to our clients where they live, work and play throughout the Greater KC area.  Gillis also increased focus on our Treatment Foster Care Program, where we license and train specialized foster homes and better equip parents to provide a home for a child who may typically require an institutional level of care.  This often results in less trauma because we can limit repeated foster care placements, and I am proud to announce that Gillis is currently serving 37 children on this program

In October, Gillis opened the doors to its new Intake and Assessment Center (GIAC), which helps stabilize children and families in short-term care.  Our GIAC team of therapists and clinicians then work to identify what the next best step for long-term success might be and provide every child or family with a comprehensive assessment and list of recommendations to support that success.  Our hope is that we can shorten residential stays and quickly help children and families find or create the long-term home that is right for them.  We’ve already seen our efforts pay off for many children, including John*.  John overcame significant trauma and successfully transitioned back into a supportive foster home after both he and his foster parents received support, education and the tools necessary to thrive together from the GIAC program. 

We are positioned for a successful 2015. Through our many programs, and in partnership with our Cornerstones of Care Family of Agencies, we will continue to find new and innovative ways to improve the quality of community for our children and families.

I invite you to take a tour of our Agency to see the great work you help support each day.  I welcome an opportunity to connect with you directly at 816-508-3501 or Stephen.O’neill@gillis.org.  I wish you the best this 2015 and thank you for all you have done and will do for Gillis.

Profound Regards,

Stephen O’Neill
Give Joy to Gillis Families
Thursday, November 20, 2014

Every day in our community, more children and families find themselves in crisis and in need of assistance.  That need is often magnified during the holidays when the cold and lack of resources can dampen their holiday spirits.


But with your help and support in stocking our Gillis Gift Gallery, together we can bring extra joy and light to these needy children and families on our programs.  


The Gillis Gift Gallery provides donations such as toys, clothes, household items and more from generous community supporters like you to our families, offering something for everyone to make the holidays a little brighter.  This event gives our families an opportunity to ensure all their loved ones have something special to open during this most joyous season.  

We hope you will consider donating to the Gillis Gift Gallery. Your donation of any item on our Wish List will truly bring joy and smiles to the children and families we serve.

Baby items - crib sheets, blankets, bottles, formula, baby towels, wash cloths, soap and shampoo, lotion, thermometers, diapers, wipes, sleepers, socks, bibs, clothes, infant toys, etc.
Children items - board games, UNO, puzzles, Legos, Silly Putty, Hot Wheels, books, remote control cars and helicopters, action figures, dolls, Playdough, Nerf Balls, creative arts and crafts, watches, gloves, hats, winter coats, backpacks, clock radios, clothing, etc.
Women's items - beauty products, perfume, household items, clothing, candles, etc.
Men's items - cologne, electric razors, tool sets, watches, grill accessories, dart boards, etc.
Family items - family board games, small appliances (popcorn maker, cake pop maker, toaster), family movies (G or PG), etc.
Gift cards - Target, Wal-Mart, Price Chopper, HyVee, QuikTrip, Restaurants, etc.

Renovate a Room. Renovate a Life.
Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Over the last 86 years, the Gillis intensive residential program has provided a home to more than 4,000 boys. Throughout our history in serving these desperate children, these cottages have come to need some serious rehabbing. Several individual donors just like you have already stepped up to make that change.

We know that physical living space truly makes a significant difference in how the children receive their time in treatment, so we not only want to renovate these rooms we want these renovations to have a direct impact on these children’s lives. When they come to Gillis, they will see a beautiful room, complete with beautiful walls; new, comfortable, kid-friendly beds, posters and decorations along with a complete, matching bed set that will be theirs to take with them when they go.

When children come to Gillis we want them to find love and acceptance – for most the first time they’ve felt these emotions. We want them to have an experience that they’ve never had: Something that has been created for them. Just them.

We are still in need of help to ensure the completion of this project! Contact Jennifer Hurst,

at Jennifer.Hurst@gillis.org for information on how you can help.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Gillis board of directors, Gillis staff and Cornerstones of Care are pleased to announce Stephen O’Neill as the President and CEO of Gillis. Stephen brings with him over 10 years of experience providing and managing a spectrum of social work services including: mental health, substance abuse, housing, case management and residential treatment.

Stephen is a mission driven leader who believes that the key to creating innovative and impactful services is to allow service participants, families, staff and the community, etc. to participate in the process of generating ideas and designing service delivery systems. He believes that the organizations who find success in the future will be those organizations that are able to think in terms of what isn’t or might be rather than what is.

"I am very pleased to welcome Stephen O'Neill to the Gillis team, and believe he will bring strong leadership, energy, and empathy to the children and families we serve in our community" said Cindy Mahoney, chairman of the Gillis board of directors.


O’Neill began his new role as President and CEO on May 20. Gillis supporters are cordially invited to tour the Gillis campus and meet our newPresident and CEO. If you would like to set up a tour, please contact Gillis at 816-508-3500.

Centurions Gift Gillis with a new Deck
Thursday, May 01, 2014

Members of the Greater Kansas City Chamber Commerce’s Centurions leadership program are leaving a lasting impression on not only the children living at Gillis today but those who will live at Gillis in the future through their legacy program. The Centurions built a custom deck on the historic Gillis campus large enough to accommodate 20 children at once. The deck will be completed on April 26th with custom landscaping and a new barbeque grill.

Cody, a 14 year old boy living at Gillis, shared his excitement about learning how to grill a hot dog alongside a Centurion volunteer, "I always wanted to know how to do that!" Centurion volunteers are teaching Gillis children how to have fun outside and grill a hotdog while helping them to find new hope for their future. Gillis Volunteer Manager, Jennifer Hurst, shared that "the quality time and attention that the Centurion volunteers gave our kids was the biggest gift of all from the legacy project. The volunteers created great memories for our children.

Since 1976, the Centurions Leadership Program has earned a reputation as an unequaled training ground for future Kansas City leaders. The mission of Centurions is to prepare a representative cross-section of the community's emerging leaders for their role in shaping the future of greater Kansas City. The Legacy Project is a tradition Centurions began in 2007 to leave a lasting impact on the greater Kansas City community.

Gillis Pies for a Purpose are on sale now!
Campus-Based Treatment
When provided a structured environment with safety, boundaries and compassion, our troubled boys can work to overcome the trauma in their pasts. Confident that they are safe and cared for, the boys learn to trust again. Our hope is that through healing therapies, each of the boys will be able to live in a loving home where he can flourish.
Community-Based Intensive Family Counseling
These programs increase opportunities for children, youth and families to improve and strengthen relationships that will have a positive impact on their lives athome, school and in the community. Each of the programs offered represents a blend of therapeutic interventions to meet the unique needs of each individual and family served.
School-Based Day Treatment
Students in Gillis Day Treatment School have an opportunity to experience success in a classroom setting. Educational services at Gillis are integrated with a comprehensive plan of care that includes pre-vocational or vocational skills development, and activity services such as art, music and recreation.
Community-Based Social Services
Historically, children coming into contact with the child welfare system for abuse and/or neglect were often removed from their parents care and placed in foster care. With proper support and education, many of these children can remain with or be reunited with their parents or caregiver.