North Shore Family Services, LLC–Chicago Northwest Suburbs/Mom Around Town

mom around town palatine illinois

Welcome to our second Mom Around Town feature this year!   I will try to post them every other Friday this year if I can.  Last time I posted an interview with Joanne Fortuna, a birth doula who provides childbirth education, placenta encapsulation and labor support to expecting mothers.   Today I have an interview with Dori Mages of North Shore Family Services, LLC.

Since many of the business owners I will be interviewing work directly with children and expecting parents, I think it is important to get to know them well. Our Mom Around Town feature will help you do that! Make sure you check out our other Mom Around Town posts!

Name: Dori J. Mages, MSW, LCSW
Business Name: North Shore Family Services, LLC
Website: http://www.northshorefamilyservices.com
Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/northshorefamilyservices  We post helpful articles and posts for parents to help their children and teens.  You can also find Dori Mages on Linked In.
Erika:  When was your business established?

Dori:  I have been working with children, teens, parents, and families since 1994.  When I completed college at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, I began working with teenage boys in foster care.  I then went on to earn my master’s degree in social work.  I worked in the public schools for 7 years, worked in private practices, clinics, in-patient, and out-patient psychiatric programs, as well as conducting psychiatric assessments in the Emergency Departments.  My current practice opened in 2012.

Erika:  What services does your business provide?  

We offer individual, group, and family therapy sessions and always provide feedback to parents, so the work can continue at home and school.  We also work closely with schools and other providers to collaborate and provide consistent, helpful services.  Because our staff has more than 10 years of experience working in the public schools, we know the services and accommodations that can help kids and teens have successful school days and we strive to help them achieve their goals.  We often attend school staffings and meetings with parents to help them through the process as well.  Many of these services are also covered by insurance.

We also love speaking engagements with parent groups, school staff (from preschool to high school), and parent, child, or teen focused groups.  We can present on any topic that your school or group would find helpful.  Previous speaking engagements include:  bullying prevention, internet/social media safety and privacy, sibling rivalry, tools for ADHD success in the classroom, Because I Said So (how to get your kids to listen to you), and many more.

Erika:  How does your business benefit the families in the Chicago area?    

Dori:  North Shore Family Services has two locations:  Deerfield and Lincoln Park.  We help parents, children, and teens in:  managing undesirable behaviors, creating and enforcing meaningful consequences, following directions, listening, learning and utilizing positive organizational strategies, executive functioning, decision-making, and social skills.  We work with parents and children to reduce anxiety, sadness, distractibility, sibling rivalry, hyperactivity, and frustration.  We also address family changes such as death, divorce, and moving/  Parents and children are given the tools to learn how to utilize positive problem-solving skills We make therapy a productive, engaging, and relaxing place for kids, teens, parents, and families, so everyone works hard and makes the improvements they want.

We at North Shore Family Services know that it is a big step to come to therapy.  Insurance issues can make the process more complicated, so we take care of that added stress for our clients by submitting all claims to insurance on a weekly basis.  We are an in-network provider for Blue Cross Blue Shield.  We also submit claims for reimbursement to our clients who have out-of-network providers, so you can be reimbursed in a timely manner.

Erika:  How did you get the idea to start your business?

I have always enjoyed helping kids, teens, and parents improve their day-to-day lives, but realized that many “clinics” were not focused on what they should be focused on:  the clients.  Staff weren’t treated as independent thinkers who could improve both the clinic and the clients’ situations.  This resulted in high turnover rates for staff members, leaving clients with multiple therapists during the course of their treatment and more transitions for children who already struggle with adapting to new situations.  It was important to me to make the clients’ needs first priority.  I love the work I do and so do the therapists who work alongside me.  We can be true leaders who make our office productive and FUN for our clients.

Erika:  What did you do before you started your business?

Dori: When my children were little, I was a stay at home mom who started a personalized gift business called Little Piggies & More to foster my creative side (and also have gifts when my friends had babies or when my kids’ friends had birthday parties). I had mentioned all the different areas of social work where I previously was employed, but before I knew I wanted to pursue a career in social work, I thought I wanted to be an attorney:  helping kids.  I worked for a law firm the summer before my sophomore year in college and realized it was not the field where I was meant to be.  I watched attorneys fighting with other people on the phone, clients being dissatisfied because they paid a lot of money, but didn’t get the ideal result because they were at the mercy of the courts at times.  I also learned this when I had my internship in grad school as a case manager, where I attended court to fight for the rights of the children I worked with in the foster care system.  The child advocates would agree with me and we would go in front of the judge to present our mutually agreed upon position and the opposite usually occurred.  It was quite frustrating.

Erika:  Do you have children yourself?  Feel free to tell us about them.

Dori:  Yes, I have three children:  a 13 year-old daughter, a 10 1/2 year-old daughter, and an 8 1/2 year-old son.  My 13 year-old is a very independent girl who strives to do her best in school and loves the arts:  dance, theater, music, drawing.  We describe her as “literal girl” who, though she does so well in school, often misses the big picture or deeper understanding of life.  My 10 year-old daughter is a thinker who comes up with her “deep thoughts” at the oddest times.  She has my husband’s sense of humor and my quick wit.  She is also a strong student, but can come up with the logical answers to questions without having to over-do it on her school effort.  She also loves to sing, dance, and do craft projects.  Both of my girls are intrigued by HGTV shows like “Love It or List It” and are currently planning my husband and son’s “man cave” in the basement.  My son eats, drinks, breathes, and lives basketball.  He loves math, but not such a big fan of reading, unless it’s about his favorite athletes or sports teams.  He is the most empathic kid who just knows when someone needs a hug and a kiss.

Erika:  Do you have anything you would like to tell us that is new for your
business in 2014?  

Dori:  Yes!  We have lots of exciting news at North Shore Family Services!  We are moving our Deerfield office to a larger suite within the same building.  We are excited for our “living room” feel of our waiting room and the warm, inviting, non-therapy feel of the space.

Erika:  Is there anything else you want to tell us about your business or yourself?

Dori:  North Shore Family Services doesn’t feel like a place for therapy to kids.  They just feel like they are coming to talk to and work with their neighbor or adult friend.  Kids, teens, and parents are given strategies, so they can no longer need us and can tackle their current struggles and any future ones that come along without needing us.

Erika:  Do you have any unusual talents or what is a fun fact about yourself? 

I had taken private voice lessons in high school, college, and as an adult and performed in many plays and musicals.  I still love to sing (much to my kids’ dismay) and am using my talents to help my kids and their friends with their auditions for school plays and musicals.  I also LOVE scrapbooking, though I need to get back to catching up in my kids’ books.  I’m also an excellent hula hooper and this talent was passed down from my mother to me and now to my daughters!



Dori J. Mages, MSW, LCSW, of North Shore Family Services, LLC at 420 Lake Cook Road, Suite 114 in Deerfield, Illinois, earned her Master of Social Work from The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Jane Addams College of Social Work in 1997. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dori has worked with children, adolescents, and families since 1994 in several areas of social work including: foster care, schools, hospitals, and private practice. She earned her Type 73 school social work certification in 1997 and has worked with children of all needs in the public schools for 7 years. She knows the importance of collaborating with parents, teachers and school staff (with parental consent) to provide the most beneficial services. Dori has also been interviewed on ABC and NBC news as an expert discussing therapeutic topics and articles she has written. As a wife and mother of three, she understands the challenges and rewards of raising children and is compassionate about helping children and families navigate the difficult times. Dori prides herself on being a valuable coach and “cheerleader” to the families she serves and strives to give families the tools they will need to improve their quality of life long after therapy ends.


Thank you so much for doing this interview with me!  I’m sure Dori is happy to give you more information about the services North Shore Family Services, LLC can provide!  She is super friendly and easy to talk to!  You can also find out more information on their website!


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