Cornerstone is an effective, nationally-recognized initiative that helps young people integrate into their communities and lead productive lives as they transition to adulthood. Participants learn the life skills they need to be successful and independent.

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Cornerstone is designed for youth ages 15 to 21 who live in Wayne County, are diagnosed with a Severe Emotional Disturbance (SED), need intensive therapeutic services, and are interested in gaining life skills and being independent.

What makes Cornerstone unique and especially effective is the enhanced attention to integrated, consistent and continuous care. Cornerstone Facilitators are actively involved in helping each young person in the program transition to adulthood and adult services, even after the young person has “aged out” of a system of care. The Facilitators, who are also the youth persons’ primary clinicians, help coordinate a broad range of services to make the transition successful.

The primary focus of Cornerstone is to help participants develop the skills of self-determination. These skills involve setting goals to improve one’s quality of life, formulating strategies to achieve these goals, evaluating progress toward personal goals, sound decision-making, maintaining hope and a positive approach, managing stigma, and more.

A group of people in red graduation gowns

Cornerstone topics include:

  • Planning for the future
  • Making good choices
  • Learning and applying situational skills
  • Resolving conflicts and developing healthy relationships
  • Job readiness
  • Recovering from mental illness

Participants develop a strong sense of camaraderie as they learn together, support one another, and suggest and plan fun activities and outings.

Transportation is available for participants.

To obtain a copy of the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN) Member Handbook and the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN) Provider Directory, follow this link. This information can be found under Member Resources or under Customer Service Resources.


Studies of the Cornerstone model show that it improves education and employment prospects.

Research indicates that participants have a higher likelihood of achieving future employment that provides a livable wage and career due to the higher percentage of young adults who continued into postsecondary education.

70% of Cornerstone participants report progress on their personal goals.
When compared to young people with similar disabilities who did not participate in the Cornerstone-type model, national studies show that the Cornerstone group had postsecondary outcomes more closely approaching the levels of the comparison group of young adults with no disabilities classifications.

In light of the success of the Cornerstone model, peer-support programs for young adults aging out of systems-of-care are gaining support nationally.

After a suicide-prevention training for Cornerstone youth, 90% of the youth said they now know the warning signs and 100% of the youth felt they could help a friend exhibiting such signs.

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