Maya Hennessey - Women's Addiction Treatment & Recovery Specialist

  • Maya is featured in the Bill Moyers PBS TV series on addiction titled Close To Home, demonstrating the power of collaboration to rebuild the lives of impoverished families in the child welfare system through Project SAFE.
  • July 2010 at the National SAMHSA Women’s Conference, received an award for her progressive advancement of women’s issues, by the Illinois Women’s Advisory Council.
  • Maya is a national consultant and trainer on women and addictions, for federal, state and county government, and national conferences
  • Women’s Specialist for the Illinois Department of Substance Abuse from 1991-2004.
  • Maya was promoted to IDASA Supervisor of Quality Assurance, Technical Assistance and training.
  • Prior to her work in state government Maya was director of successful pregnant and parenting women’s substance abuse treatment programs.
  • In the November 2004 Counselor Magazine, renowned author and researcher William L White, named Maya as one of the women making a difference in the field of addictions.
  • On Radio & TV, quoted in the media, and featured in numerous teaching videos on addictions.
  • Maya has served on policy advisory and advocacy groups, including two of First Lady Hillary Clinton’s subcommittees on restoring healthy families.
  • Is co-author (with William L. White) of a research article on Female DUI offenders
  • Co-developed Gender Responsiveness Curriculum for Cook County correctional officers, co-trained the officers, conducted training of trainers, and is featured in the video.
  • Maya was co-creator and project manager over the development of The Women’s Training manual to train addictions professionals on women’s issues.
  • Maya conducts training for child welfare, family & DUI drug courts, probation, parole, and domestic violence.
  • Maya is author of numerous articles on women and addiction, and drafted the first Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse Best Practices back in l988.
  • See 

Family Caregiving Author & Specialist

  • Former coordinator of volunteers for 9 Midwestern States for the National Family Caregivers Association
  • Authored content development for interactive website for family caregivers
  • On Chicago Mayor’s Daley Caregivers Advisory Council.
  • Maya is Author of If Only I’d Had This Caregiving Book.
  • Has trained for the Illinois Council of Case Coordination Units, Area Agencies on Aging, Pioneer Networks, and conducts workshops on her book, including
    • Communicating Effectively with Health Care Professionals
    • Conquering Your To-Do List

Illinois Department of Human Services from 1992-2004

Maya, the first Women’s Specialist for the Illinois DHS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (OASA), built Illinois’ progressive women’s treatment system. In 2000, Maya was promoted to Supervisor of Quality Assurance, Technical Assistance and Training. Maya continues to collaborate locally and nationally with treatment providers on interagency collaboration to improve treatment access and outcomes. Prior to her work in state government, Maya held positions as Director of treatment programs for pregnant and parenting addicted women and their families. 

Maya is a consultant in the SAMHSA/CSAT federal data base; hired by the feds to conduct compliance reviews, provide training and technical assistance to federally funded programs for pregnant and parenting addicted women across the nation.

Maya's History in the Field of addictions

Maya started working in the field of alcoholism and women’s issues in l976. In l985 drafted the first Best Practices for collaboration between Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Substance Abuse. As project manager for Project SAFE, Maya developed the collaborative award-winning system in Illinois that preserved and/or reunited addicted families torn apart by addictions. The amazing outcomes gained national recognition and has been replicated by other states across the nation. Maya began visiting Dwight women’s prison in l990 to interview incarcerated addicted women, and drafted action steps to improve Illinois’ treatment approaches for women in the criminal justice system.  In 1999 co-created training manual for Women’s Justice Services; trained Cook County Jail officers on gender competence that improved outcomes for women detainees; conducted an officers training of trainers. The training became part of the Cook County Sheriff’s Academy. Maya participated in lay ministry training, applying spiritual aspects of recovery to women’s issues.  Maya has a BA, and 48 master level credits. Maya has extensive study in empowerment approaches such as Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), and certified in a group dynamics/facilitator at the Oasis Center for Human Potential in Chicago, and has presented thousands of experiential skill building workshops on motivational techniques to empower others into recovery. 

Maya chaired the first women’s issues committee of IADDA in l986; and in l991 received the Keith Keisey award for her progressive work in the area of women’s substance abuse treatment issues. Maya was project manager over the development of the Illinois’ Women’s Plans, Outreach Services for women, and the Women’s Training Manual, and has participated on high level policy and advisory boards, task forces, and committees dealing with issues of addicted women and their families, including Governor’s Thompson’s Addiction Advisory Council, and Governor Jim Edgar’s addiction advisory Councils; Chicago Mayor’s Task Force on Women’s Health. Hilary Clinton came to Chicago to meet the Task Force members, where Maya presented a copy of the Women’s Plan.

Technical Assistance Specialist

In 2000 Maya was promoted to Supervisor of Quality Assurance, Technical Assistance and Training for Illinois Dept of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.  As supervisor of newly formed team, Maya developed policies, procedures, and training modules and trained the TA teams to assist providers in improving compliance with federal and state requirements, and improving outcomes for addicted families in Illinois. Maya continues to provide technical assistance nationally to treatment providers and does compliance reviews on a consulting basis for IDASA. 


Maya is a dynamic trainer, with expertise in experiential skill building technology transfer techniques, on the issues of collaboration between prevention and treatment, and between systems and services for special populations. Maya is a master practitioner in Neurolinguistic Programming, and a Certified Group Facilitator, and has presented thousands of empowerment workshops throughout her career.

Trainer of trainers

Maya has conducted numerous training of trainers using the Women’s Training Manual that she co-developed, and with a team of master trainers that conduct training of trainers twice a year, with a year- long mentoring of upcoming trainers. Maya participated in the development of a Substance Abuse Best Practices Manual and conducted training of trainers for Case Managers in the Dept of Human Services offices in Illinois, adapted and presented that manual to case managers in Offices of Rehabilitation Services in Illinois.  She adapted the curriculum to train Real Choice Systems Change professionals dealing with complex, multi-system cases.