Fairfax Va. Families Worried About Fate Of Small But Important Recovery Program

My Reasons I want CRSP to remain open:

It helps me regulate my emotions.

It’s structural and continuance.

Its grouping and socialization structure

improves my mental health.

Its classes help my physical health.

— written appeal from client to Fairfax Officials

Dear Pete,

For the third time in less than four years,  an excellent service here in Fairfax County called the CRSP, Community Readiness and Support Program, is being threatened with “REALIGNMENT” from public health provider, the CSB, to an outside mental health contractor.

CRSP is a day support program that offers psycho-educational, pre-vocational and group treatment methods for adults with serious mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders. The program “focuses upon assisting the consumer to improve living skills needed for successful community living.”

The Fairfax County Falls Church Community Services Board  (CSB) is considering transferring the services that CRSP provides clients to an outside mental health service provider – PRS (Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services.) 

In the past CRSP clients and their families succeeded in stopping such a move. In 2015, CRSP Clients and parents convinced the CSB to maintain CRSP, but two years later, CSB executives tried again.

CSB would not answer any questions asked by clients and family members, but stated it was a budget issue.  Upon research, the advocates for CRSP, which included the Northern Va Chapter of  NAMI, found that the program would cost more with less services at PRS.

CRSP clients and advocates were able to present this evidence when they spoke during a public hearing before the Fairfax County Supervisors.  The Supervisors reworked the county budget to keep CRSP in the CSB.  They understood the value of CRSP in the lives it affects.  The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors also fully understood that CSB was transferring a program under the title of saving County funds, when the PRS program would cost taxpayers more.

In 2018, CRSP’s offices were moved from the Springfield location to the CSB Merrifield Building.  The move was done in a transparent manner with input by clients and their families.  We applauded the process of the move.  CRSP clients are  now in a spacious location with views of the surrounding areas.  Other than losing their immediate McDonalds in Springfield, VA, CRSP clients are thriving in the Merrifield location.

That should have been an end to the turmoil, but it wasn’t. We’ve discovered CRSP is being “realigned” and this may again mean moving CRSP to PRS.  Daryl Washington, the executive director of our Community Service Board, acknowledged that  a realignment is being considered but would not answer further questions.  Mr. Washington stated CSB is in the midst of the procurement process, so they legally can’t answer the CRSP advocates questions.

On February 2020, a CRSP parent wrote to her County Supervisor and to Chairman Jeff McKay:

           “There are many rumors that the CRSP program is closing, and its services are being rolled into PRS (Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services), ending its many years of successful launching of many Fairfax County citizens to more productive and healthier lives –truly the mission of the CSB. 

This is puzzling, because my son has not been informed of any closing and there has not been, to my knowledge, any outreach to those most impacted by a possible closing. It is a small program with only 4 staff members, and yet, because of each of the staff members’ devotion to the CRSP population, CRSP clients have thrived.

CRSP serves an interesting population, and if you visit the third floor at the Merrifield CSB, you will see Fairfax County Citizens who share a need for community, a support for each other and a diversity of needs, all with exceptional abilities.

My son, for example, has been diagnosed with Autism, Developmental Delay, Bipolar, Schizoaffective Disorder and other mental health issues. He does not fit easily in any category, which is the uniquely wonderful thing about CRSP. It has been a support service with flexibility to meet the needs of its clients where they are. 

I am concerned that the CSB will lose this valuable resource –CRSP– and the wonderful people who staff it. It probably saved my son’s life. I ask that you please look into why CRSP is closing, if it is. And if it is closing, why has there been no time provided for those impacted to comment or question this move?”

My husband and I are calling attention to the plight of CRSP because our beloved son told us that CRSP gave him “hope.” Our son, Thomas Michael Jaeger, age 47, died of a heart attack on Memorial Day, 2019.

In Memory of our son, we are asking for support that CRSP remain in the able hands of the experienced and competent counselors of the Fairfax Falls Church CSB.   Please support CRSP, not only for current clients and those on the waiting list, but also for future sons and daughters in need of the CRSP program’s “hope.”

If you live in Fairfax County, VA, please call or send an email to your Fairfax County Board of Supervisor and to Chairperson McKay,  703-324-2321, and ask the Board of Supervisors to support CRSP remaining in the CSB.

Thank you,

Helen and Tom Jaeger

Here is a copy of the email that we sent to Daryl Washington:

To:  Daryl Washington

From:  Friends of CRSP

Ref:  Possible Transfer of CRSP to PRS

  1. What is the reason for reassessing CRSP, CSB’s Shining Star program to PRS?This is the 3rd time in less than 4 years CSB is reassessing to move CRSP.  We feel the clients and their families need to know why.
  2. What will the level of services be at PRS compared to the level at CRSP?  Ex.  CRSP staff to clients 1:4. Will the staff at PRS have the same level of experience as the CRSP staff; education, experience with SMI clients and dual diagnosis clients?  
  1. What will the cost and level of services be at PRS compared to CRSP?  Plus what will the startup cost be to move CRSP?  In other words what are the budget/contract details of the possible plan of moving CRSP to PRS?  What will be in the contract with PRS?   
  2. What will happen to the clients who can’t be serviced by PRS? 


CRSP Friends

    Gordon Dean

    Helen Jaeger

    Reed Scarce

    Jane Thatcher


Here is how Daryl Washington responded when I emailed him an advance copy of this blog and asked him about the writers’ concerns:

Dear Pete,

We are in the procurement process, so can’t get into too many details.  This is the executive summary:

  • The level of care currently provided by this program will continue.
  • There will be no reduction in services or capacity.
  • The staff to client supervision ratio won’t change significantly.
  • The CSB will be able to serve more individuals at no increased cost or reduction in quality by making this move.
  • The provider is licensed by DBHDS and has CARF Accreditation. 

I am happy to provide a greater degree of detail to everyone as soon as it is appropriate.



About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.