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For Immediate Release
April 25, 2023
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

DHS, Partners Renew Commitment to Children’s System of Care Transformation

Work includes a new strategic plan to help children reach their fullest potential

Representatives from tribal nation, state, and local agencies, as well as children and caregivers, are in Wausau today and tomorrow for the Wisconsin Children’s System of Care Summit, an event organized by the Department of Health Services (DHS) designed to advance the state’s network of services and supports for children with or at risk of a mental health, substance use, or other challenge and their families.

“For our state to be strong, children and families must be valued, understood, and supported in their communities,” said DHS Secretary-designee Kirsten Johnson. “This means building a system of care for children and families to provide the right help, at the right time, in the right amount. This work requires connections and coordination among public and private organizations. That’s why we’ve organized this event. It’s an opportunity for partners to advance their shared commitment to help all children and families thrive.”

Wisconsin’s Children’s System of Care is not a service or a program. It is a culture of Wisconsin's behavioral health community and partners working as a team with a child and their family to achieve the outcomes identified by the child and family for individual and community wellness.

Today, invited guests heard from national and regional experts about the core components of an effective system of care. Wisconsin community leaders and parents also shared stories of their experiences with current services and supports as well as opportunities for improvements. The Western Region Recovery & Wellness Consortium, an association of Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Dunn, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Rusk, and Washburn counties, was recognized with the Children’s System of Care Champion Award for being responsive to the needs of local children and families by eliminating barriers to services and supports and empowering community partnerships.

Tomorrow, event participants will take what they learned today to develop a six-year strategic plan for Wisconsin’s Children’s System of Care, addressing the approach to services and supports and the infrastructure needed for success. Implementation of this strategic plan will be monitored by the Children’s Come First Advisory Committee, a group chartered in state law to provide guidance and recommendations on services and supports for children and their families.

The Wisconsin Children’s System of Care Summit is one of several projects related to mental health and substance use backed by Wisconsin’s share of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Last revised April 25, 2023