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Northwood fills critical gap for children formerly treated at The Hills

Northwood Children’s Services, Minnesota’s oldest child-caring agency, is stepping in to fill a critical gap in day treatment for 40 young people that was caused by this week’s closing of The Hills Youth and Family Services in Duluth’s Woodland neighborhood.

Until June 25, The Hills had provided programs for youth, ages 12 through 17, who were struggling to manage behaviors and mental health symptoms in home, in school and in their community. Beginning Monday, July 12, Northwood will assume those programs and minimize disruptions for the affected children and their families by providing services from the same three locations and using the same staff as The Hills had.

“When we learned of the unfortunate situation surrounding The Hills, we realized the serious setbacks those children could have if there weren’t another option for them, so we immediately looked into how we could help,” said Richard Wolleat, Northwood Children’s Services’ President and CEO. “Assuming responsibility for the former Hills programs is a logical extension of Northwood’s mission, which is to build brighter futures for youth and their families.”

Wolleat added that in an ideal situation, there would not be a two-week break between the end of The Hills’ services on June 25 and the start of Northwood services on July 12.

“Everyone moved as quickly as they could, and after much collaboration between The Department of Human Services, The Duluth School District, Hermantown YMCA, The Hills, the parents of the students, and our team here at Northwood, we’re so glad it all came together in just two weeks,” said Wolleat. “The children we treat will see that short time off as a mini break, and their families are enthusiastic about having us now lead the day treatment program.”

Day treatment is an intensive mental health treatment approach that utilizes a group therapy and behavioral skills approach to deal with the challenges that youth are experiencing. A multi-disciplinary team, including mental health professionals and practitioners, develops a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan for each student.

Northwood currently provides day treatment services at six sites, including in four Duluth public schools, serving about 125 children from 2 – 18 years of age. Intensive mental health services are delivered for at least three hours each weekday and the programs operate year around.

Northwood Children’s Services, founded in 1883, is a private, not-for-profit agency that provides professional care, education and treatment for boys and girls with emotional, behavioral and learning disabilities. It dedicates 325 employees and a $20 million annual budget to serving over 1,000 young people each year.

Services include residential treatment, diagnostic and assessment services, intensive day treatment, school-based intensive day treatment, corporate foster care, therapeutic foster care, family mental health services, as well as community-based mental health services.

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