CST: Families and Consumers

Children and their families are at the core of Coordinated Services Teams (CST) Initiatives. Based on the wraparound model of care, CST Initiatives empower parents (and their child) to select the supports and interventions they believe are needed to stabilize their child's emotional, physical, and social well-being.

Do CST Initiatives work?

Luke's story of resiliency

A CST provider shared this story with the Department of Health Services. The name of the youth has been changed to protect his privacy.

“Luke” (alias), 17, has been working with a CST Family Team along with his mother for two years. Luke had been expelled from school after repeated violations of drug possession and use on school grounds. Luke also had lengthy involvement in the juvenile justice system dating back four years when he was first placed on juvenile supervision. Luke had been in and out of treatment multiple times over the years with little lasting success. Along with being on supervision, Luke was also enrolled in a Juvenile Treatment Court Program to address his substance use needs.

The CST Family Team process helped Luke turn his life around. Regular team meetings, the support and accountability of his diverse team, planning for and managing crisis, and the collaborative planning efforts by everyone involved were essential in helping to support Luke getting to where he is today. Luke had setbacks along the way, but his determination, the strong advocacy from his mother, and the commitment of the team members helped keep him on track to his goals.

Luke currently is finishing up the credits needed to graduate high school and plans to enroll in a local community college. Luke also successfully ended his involvement with the juvenile justice system and graduated from the Juvenile Treatment Court Program. Luke has also agreed to be part of the committee working towards the certification of the Comprehensive Community Services program in his county. Luke has a promising future ahead of him and he continues to facilitate his own CST Family Team.

Ella's successful diversion

A CST provider shared this story with the Department of Health Services. The name of the youth has been changed to protect her privacy.

“Ella” (alias), 15, was referred to a CST jointly by her school district and a hospital. Ella is a survivor of sexual abuse and was abandoned by her birth parents when she was nine. She was abused for four years by her uncle and struggled with depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. She was hospitalized six times in a seven-month period and missed a semester of school.

The CST intervened and began meeting weekly. Ella’s case manager from the hospital was initially recommending an out-of-state residential treatment facility. However, I convinced them to give CST a chance instead. We worked together to build a team that would provide the best support for Ella. Ella and her family were very receptive to help and her grandmother recognized that having Ella stay in her care could provide the best outcomes for the family. Ella’s grandmother is very involved in her care.

Ella has shown a great interest in equestrian therapy. The owner of the horse farm attends all CST meetings and also provides respite. Ella continues to make great strides both emotionally and academically. At our last team meeting, the school psychologist reported that Ella currently has all A’s and B’s and her visits to the guidance department have decreased. Ella’s therapist attends meetings as well and has shared some of the gains Ella has made in counseling. Ella is on track to graduate with her class and has told the team she would like to work with animals when she graduates.

What is provided through CST Initiatives?

A CST Initiative is a group of individuals, including family members and service providers, who work together to respond to the service needs of the child and their family. This wraparound process aims to achieve positive outcomes by providing a structured, individualized team planning process. Research shows that this approach is more effective for the child and their family.  Additionally, this collaborative approach results in a plan of care that is more relevant to the needs of the child and their family. The child and their family develop and refine their problem-solving skills, coping skills, and belief in their ability to complete tasks and reach goals.

Enrollment information

Participation in a CST Initiative may begin through a referral from any systems of care agency (mental health, juvenile justice, special education, child welfare, etc.), tribal courts, or any other organization a child is involved with, as well as family or self-referrals. More information on the enrollment process is available from county and tribal agencies with CST Initiatives. Please use this directory to find contact information these local agencies.

Client rights

There are rules to ensure patient rights are protected. The Client Rights Office is responsible for the implementation and oversight of patient rights for individuals receiving services for mental illness and substance abuse in Wisconsin.

Contact CST Initiatives staff

The Division of Care and Treatment Services oversees the CST Initiatives for the Department of Health Services. If you have general questions or concerns about CST Initiatives, please call 608-266-2717.

Last Revised: January 4, 2019