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Providing Youth and Families With Supervision and Support in Pursuing a Pro-social Future

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About DHHS

Leading Health and Human Services Through Dedication and Community Connection


Material featuring DHHS experts, projects and messages.

Episode 33: Youth Justice in Milwaukee (Part 1) [podcast]

Portraits of DHHS Director Mary Jo Meyers and County Executive Chris Abele

by: Bridge the City Podcast

This is the first episode of a two-part series on the future of youth justice in Milwaukee, and what the closure of Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake as youth correctional institutions might mean for Milwaukee in the coming years...

Listen to the Podcast

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Wisconsin Youth & Family Services Administrator Mark Mertens [video]

by: Dominic Carter - Verizon FiOS TV, WABC-AM New York

Experts like Mark Mertens, the Wisconsin Youth and Family Services Adminstrators is one of the officials calling for a close to Youth Detention Center nationwide. Mertens attended the Youth Correctional Leaders for Justice Conference and spoke to Political Anchor Dominic Carter. The two-day conference was held at the Columbia University School of Social Work - April 10th, 2019...

See the Video on YouTube

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Milwaukee Lawmaker Lays Out Plans to Reduce Crime, Save Money

Rep. Evan Goyke of Milwaukee speaking with a woman

by: Michelle Stocker - CapTimes

Like many Democratic lawmakers, state Rep. Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee, thinks Wisconsin has too many people in prison. Last year, several Democratic candidates for governor said they wanted to chop the state's 23,000 plus population in half...

Read Full Article

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DHHS Congratulates BHD Social Worker Martin Erl for Milwaukee Marathon Win [video]

by: Milwaukee County Department of Health & Human Services

On April 6, 2019, BHD Social Worker Martin Erl took first place in the 4th annual Milwaukee Marathon. Hear how Martin uses his marathon training to inform how he helps kids at Wraparound Milwaukee.

See the Video on YouTube

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Youth Social Worker With Wraparound Milwaukee Hopes His Marathon Win Inspires Kids

BHD social worker Martin Erl crosses Milwaukee Marathon finish line

by: Staff - CBS58 News

Thousands of people from across the country took part in the Milwaukee Marathon on Saturday. In the full marathon, the men's winner was Martin Erl of Milwaukee. He's a youth social worker and says winning was incredible, but he also wants the win to inspire the kids he helps...

Read Full Article

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What Paid Foster Parents Can Teach Us About Financial Support for Parents

Parent and child holding hands

by: Patrick A. Coleman -

Parenting is a 24/7 job. But it is rarely treated as such and almost never paid. Still, there is a major exception to that rule: Professional foster parents receive an annual salary, intensive support, and regular training to help raise children in dire need of a stable home...

Read Full Article

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Winners: A Social Worker, an Ultra-Marathoner and the Milwaukee Marathon Itself

BHD social worker Martin Erl crosses Milwaukee Marathon finish line

by: Lori Nickel - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A Milwaukee youth social worker who wants to show kids that something great can be accomplished – with work and determination – was the first man to cross the finish line tape of Milwaukee Marathon...

Read Full Article

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Milwaukee County Unveils Plan for Lincoln Hills, Copper Lake Replacement Facility

Architectural Rendering of Secure Residential Center for Children and Youth

by: Allison Dikanovic - Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

Milwaukee County has submitted an official grant proposal to the state for its plan to open a secure center for youths, adhering to the initial timeline laid out in the bill that will close and replace Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake youth prisons...

Read Full Article

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Want More? Click Here to Visit the DHHS News Archives

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Archives contain material back to September 2018


What DHHS Has Accomplished for Our Community

2017 DHHS Annual Report

2017 DHHS Annual Report

In 2017, DHHS...

  • Cut 30-day readmissions to our inpatient behavioral health hospital by nearly half since 2010
  • Reduced overall homelessness by about 40%
  • Reduced admissions to our youth detention center by nearly 20%
  • Created more than $4 million in economic impact through our Disability Benefits Specialist program
  • Processed 67,000 applications for energy assistance, a program record

2016 DHHS Annual Report

2016 DHHS Annual Report

In 2016, DHHS...

  • Created trauma response teams (with MPD) to respond to youth who have witnessed violence or been exposed to trauma
  • Reduced chronic homelessness by 77% countywide
  • Reduced the number of youth sent to Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake prisons by almost 57%
  • Connected more than 40 young adults with disabilities with employment after leaving high school

2015 DHHS Annual Report

2015 DHHS Annual Report

In 2015, DHHS...

  • Launched our initiative to end chronic homelessness in Milwaukee County in three years
  • Reduced reliance on secure youth detention facilities by 25%
  • Launched an initiative to help youth with disabilities achieve employment when finishing high school
  • Created a community-based care system for those with long-term behavioral health needs

2014 DHHS Annual Report

2014 DHHS Annual Report

In 2014, DHHS...

  • Reduced emergency psychiatric admissions by 30%
  • Reduced youth justice referrals by police by more than 20%
  • Created crisis response teams for individuals with co-occurring intellectual/developmental disabilities
  • Created a harm-reduction housing model for individuals with alcohol and other drug abuse issues

2013 DHHS Annual Report

2013 DHHS Annual Report

In 2013, DHHS...

  • Reduced psychiatric inpatient admissions by 30%
  • Added 40 more scattered-site, supportive housing units including case management and peer support services
  • Graduated its first class of youth from the Milwaukee County Accountability Program
  • Facilitated nearly $1 million in assistance and value to adults and children with disabilities

2012 DHHS Annual Report

2012 DHHS Annual Report

In 2012, DHHS...

  • Launched a new electronic health records system
  • Redesigned Emergency Medical Services training
  • Eliminated a 500-person waiting list for children with disabilities
  • Started a youth justice reform initiative with the Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Received the HUD "Turning the Ocean Liner Around" award for improving CDBG and HOME programs

Awards and Recognition




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Frequently Asked Questions

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  Who do I contact for information on FoodShare, BadgerCare, Medicaid (T19), Caretaker Supplement or Wisconsin Shares (Child Care)?

Call (800) 291-2002. To determine if you may qualify for these programs, visit If you need to speak to someone about your case, contact the Call Center (888) 947-6583. The verification fax number is (414) 438-4580.

  How do I report possible child abuse and/or neglect?

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call (414) 220-7233. This number is available 24-hours a day. The State of Wisconsin administers the Child Welfare Program.

  What is the Mental Health Crisis Line?

To talk to a counselor regarding a critical mental health issue, call (414) 257-7222, 24-hours a day.


1220 W. Vliet St.

Suite 301

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53205

Our Vision

Together, creating healthy communities.

Our Mission

Empowering safe, healthy, meaningful lives.

Our Values

Partnership, Respect, Integrity, 

Diversity, Excellence

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