Christian Family Solutions to open youth day treatment center in Riverwest

The STRONG team outside of the Holton Youth and Family Center.

Germantown-based Christian Family Solutions will lease space at the Holton Youth and Family Center in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood to operate a mental health day treatment center for youth.

CFS will move its STRONG Child and Adolescent Day Treatment Program to the Holton center, 510 E. Burleigh St., in December.

Up until now, the program – which serves children ages 5-14 who face significant behavioral and mental health issues – has operated on school campuses and relocated each time it needed more space.

STRONG operates its clinic on the North Campus of St. Marcus School at 2669 N. Richards St, in Milwaukee, serving about 30 children. The new location will allow STRONG to grow to serve 50 to 60 children at any given time.

The program, which launched in 2016, has seen an increased need for its services as effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – including virtual school, financial uncertainty, isolation and other factors – take their toll on people’s mental health, said Dr. Ashley Schoof, director of STRONG and southeast Wisconsin clinical director for Christian Family Solutions.

“If it were not for STRONG, Milwaukee children would have to leave the city to access mental health care, and many would not do it,” Schoof said. “They would go untreated, and the ripple effect on the community is enormous. Treating children so they can build positive relationships and stay in school has enormous positive impact in the community, now and for generations to come.”

“The Holton building will be a more stable home for STRONG as the need for mental health treatment continues to escalate in Milwaukee,” she added.

CFS has signed a five-year lease with HYFC and will renovate the facility for the STRONG program.

The center opened in 1989 and was operated in partnership with the YMCA from 1994 until 2008, when the organization left the facility.

“Now, as the needs of the community evolve, we have been looking for partners who could meet those needs with impact for decades to come,” said Mario Costantini, chair of the HYFC board of directors. “STRONG came highly recommended to us. We are so pleased that the center will continue to be a safe place to strengthen our youth and families for years to come.”

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.

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