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Division of Care and Treatment Services (DCTS)

The Division of Care and Treatment Services (DCTS) manages and supports seven care and treatment facilities for people living with psychiatric disorders and intellectual disabilities, community mental health and substance use services, community mental health and substance use treatment services for people in the criminal justice system, and the protection of client rights for people receiving services for intellectual disabilities, mental health, and substance use.

Our spirit: What we do. What we represent.

Whether day or night, weekdays, weekends, or holidays, we are a team focused on supporting individual and community health and well-being. Our interconnected web of care helps all state residents live their best lives. 



Our teams

We serve all state residents from offices and facilities located across Wisconsin.

  • Administrator’s Office: Manages overall policy and fiscal direction for all programs and services.
  • Central Wisconsin Center (Madison): Provides health, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation services for people with intellectual disabilities.
  • Client Rights Office: Protects and promotes the dignity and respect of people receiving services for a developmental disability, mental illness, and substance use disorder.
  • Bureau of Community Forensic Services: Promotes healthy living and protects public safety through the management and support of programs for adults with histories of criminal offenses and mental health and substance use concerns.
  • Bureau of Prevention Treatment and Recovery: Promotes overall wellness through the management and support of community mental health and substance use services for people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Mendota Mental Health Institute (Madison): Provides psychiatric care and treatment services for people referred by county agencies and the court system.
  • Northern Wisconsin Center (Chippewa Falls): Provides assessment and treatment services for people with intellectual disabilities and behavioral health needs.
  • Office of Budget and Performance Management: Manages fiscal matters, policy analysis, and data collection.
  • Office of Electronic Health Records Systems Management: Oversees the development, implementation, and maintenance of the electronic health records system for our seven care and treatment facilities.
  • Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center (Mauston): Provides treatment services for people committed under Wisconsin’s Sexually Violent Persons Law.
  • Southern Wisconsin Center (Union Grove): Provides health, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation services for people with intellectual disabilities.
  • Winnebago Mental Health Institute (Oshkosh): Provides psychiatric care and treatment services for people referred by county agencies and the court system.
  • Wisconsin Resource Center (Oshkosh): Provides specialized treatment services for people with severe and persistent mental health needs referred by the Department of Corrections and the court system.


Our priorities

Our strategic plan guides our work. Below are highlights of our recent work for the people of Wisconsin. 

Priority 1: Enhance the continuum of behavioral health care in Wisconsin

Our goal is to provide the right care, at the right time, and in the right place. 

Prevention services. With rising rates of substance use, we’ve launched two campaigns to connect people to the resources they need to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe. The Real Talks Wisconsin initiative focuses on all substances. It promotes conversations on the health and safety impacts of substance use to build supportive communities where prevention works. The Dose of Reality initiative builds on the framework of the Real Talks Wisconsin initiative to reduce the harms of opioid use.  

Harm reduction services. We’ve created a team to focus on the health and well-being of people who use substances. This team has expanded the availability of NARCAN®, the opioid-overdose reversal drug, and fentanyl test strips. The purpose of these efforts is to keep people who use substances alive so that there is an opportunity for them to get help.

Crisis services. We’ve taken steps toward a more effective response for all people experiencing a psychiatric emergency. Our preparation for the national roll-out of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline resulted in a seamless transition from the 10-digit number for this service to the three-digit number. We’re working with counties to enhance efforts to meet people experiencing a crisis where they are at in the community to deescalate their emergency and provide support. The number of places for people to go for help is expanding, with an additional youth crisis stabilization facility now open and adult crisis stabilization facilities opening soon to serve regions of the state.  

Peer services. Wisconsin is a national leader in its support and implementation of peer services for people experiencing mental health and substance use challenges. Peer services involve people with similar life experiences supporting each other in reaching their full potential. In 2021, we published the nation’s first training curriculum for certified peer specialists covering both mental health and substance use knowledge and skills. We opened the nation’s first peer-run respite for veterans. Two new peer-run respites joined the state-funded network of peer-run respites, bringing the total number of peer-run respites to six, one of the largest networks in the nation. The state-funded network of drop-in centers offering peer support—peer recovery centers—expanded to 11 locations, including eight focused on mental health supports and, for the first time, three centers focused on substance use supports. 

Telehealth services. We’ve partnered with agencies and health systems statewide to expand access to treatment through telehealth, giving some people access to a provider for the first time. This includes the creation of telehealth access points at community locations, eliminating the transportation and technology barriers to this method of service delivery. 

Services for children. A new tool is available for tribal nations and counties to use to advance their children's system of care. The Children’s System of Care Self-Assessment Tool assists tribal nations and counties in identifying the Wisconsin Children’s System of Care principles that describe the strengths of existing services and supports that are available locally. It also identifies resources that exist in each tribal nation and county that can contribute to building a children’s system of care. 

Services for youth-justice population. Work to expand and renovate Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center is underway. Once fully operational, the new campus will provide greater opportunities for boys—and for the first time, girls—at the deepest end of the youth justice system to receive the mental health treatment they need to thrive.   

Revised regulations. The revised Wis. Admin. Code ch. DHS 75 took effect in 2022, after more than five years of work to transform the minimum standards for substance use prevention, intervention, and treatment services delivered across a variety of settings and levels of care. It puts the health and well-being of people receiving services for substance use first through a greater focus on proven care and treatment practices while easing provider requirements to support greater access to substance use services throughout the state.

Person-centered care. An online certificate training is now available on the core components and elements of person-centered planning practice. Our person-centered planning model ensures that services are driven by the balance between the wants and needs of the service participant.

Priority 2: Promote collaborations between our community and facility teams

We need to lead by example for our partners by ensuring our work units are working together to meet our goal of providing the right care, at the right time, and in the right place. 

Civil population. The Bureau of Prevention Treatment and Recovery has worked with Winnebago Mental Health Institute to assist in discharge planning for patients with complex needs to ensure patients have the necessary support to manage their symptoms in their communities. Additionally, there have been training sessions on the wraparound model of care for children.

Justice-involved population. We’ve opened a unit at the Wisconsin Resource Center to serve people in county jails waiting for treatment to competency services. This is part of ongoing efforts by DHS to ensure people who need these services are served as quickly as possible after DHS receives the court order. Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison is the main receiving facility for treatment to competency patients. While beds for this service have been added to the hospital in recent years, and some patients found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect have been moved to Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston to free up beds at Mendota Mental Health Institute, the demand for treatment to competency services continues to outpace Mendota Mental Health Institute’s capacity to immediately serve everyone. The new unit at Wisconsin Resource Center is taking some pressure off our long-standing inpatient system for treatment to competency services. Other efforts include continued growth in partnerships with county jails through the Bureau of Community Forensic Services to provide treatment to competency services in the jail setting and more use of outpatient competency restoration services.

START Scan. Our centers participated in an assessment of Wisconsin’s community system of care for people with co-occurring intellectual disabilities and mental health conditions. Known as the START Scan, this survey was conducted by the National Center for Systemic Therapeutic, Assessment, Resources, and Treatment (START) at the Institute on Disability/UCED at the University of New Hampshire. The results of this effort are guiding decisions on the future structure of the centers to ensure the services provided meet the needs of system of care.

Priority 3: Use resources efficiently and effectively through data-based decision-making

To provide the right care, at the right time, in the right place, we need to understand the workings of our system and the needs of the people we serve. 

Electronic health records system. The multiyear roll-out of DHS Connect, the first comprehensive electronic health records system for our seven care and treatment facilities, was completed in 2021. This program built by our staff with components supplied by Cerner allows our doctors, nurses, and others to document and access critical information to make care decisions, ensure safety, and improve the treatment experience.

Budget monitoring. Our budget and policy analysts have built a better system to track actual and projected expenditures across all work units to identify areas of concern and strategies to address efforts that may require additional support to the meets the needs of the people we serve while working within our allocated funding. 

Admission and discharge reviews. We’ve identified trends in admissions and discharges at our facilities that support the need for improvements across our system of care. This data has resulted in greater collaborations with counties and other referral sources to better support our state’s most vulnerable residents.

Disease tracking. We closely follow COVID-19 activity in our facilities to plan for challenges related to the use of quarantine and isolation spaces for the people in our care and staff outages due to illness. 

Priority 4: Embed and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies 

Using a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens allows us to understand that different individuals and communities have different needs and, as a result, will intersect with our work in different ways. It calls on us to identify groups that may be disproportionately impacted and consider the needs of those groups as we do our work. We must be mindful of how structural factors contribute to the health and engagement of a community, and of how our policies, activities, and decisions impact these structural factors. It asks us to reflect on how our assumptions, biases, and values contribute to the decisions we make and the policies and activities we develop. It’s important to remember that none of these inequities were created overnight, and none are going to be solved overnight. The goal is to build muscles that help all of us think differently, work differently, and collaborate differently.

We’re fulfilling our goal to implement culturally responsive and equitable policies, programs, and services. All our work sites have established committees focused on building trust and confidence in relationships internally and externally through honesty, commitment, and the courage to do what is needed for all state residents to live their best lives. This work is led by our senior equity advisor, a position that was created in 2021. This position ensures that our work environments promote opportunities to bring varied perspectives to the work being done and decisions being made. This includes the recruitment and retention of staff that reflects the diversity of the populations we serve.  


Return to the list of DHS divisions and offices

Last revised February 4, 2023