Dept of Health & Human Services (DHHS)

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BRIEF HISTORY

Walworth County has one of the most comprehensive and integrated human services departments in the state. How did the county reach this point?

In 1975 the Wisconsin Legislature passed s.46.23, enabling counties "to develop and make available to all citizens…a comprehensive range of human services…." This legislation encouraged the consolidation of local programs serving the disabled and the indigent.

In 1987, the Walworth County Board of Supervisors established a study committee to examine the issues involved in such a consolidation. By the end of that year the County Board had voted to create the Walworth County Human Services Board and to fold its social services department, developmental disabilities department, and Lakeland Counseling Center into the Department of Human Services.

(Developed largely with federal funds, the Lakeland Counseling Center was a county-operated comprehensive community mental health center providing mental health and substance abuse services through contractual arrangements with Walworth County’s 51.42 board.  This board received state aids to help provide those mental health and substance abuse services.)

In February, 1988 the Human Services Board hired an executive director of the new Department. Later that year the County Board voted to include the Department of Aging in the new department’s operations. The following year the County Board added the Department of Public Health.

From its beginning the Department of Human Services focused on developing a human services organization that served the community through a single point of entry for accessing services and 24/7 Crisis Intervention services. In addition, the Department worked to consolidate administrative functions, to realign personnel classifications into more generic categories, and to develop an integrated client information system.

Effective January, 1996 the Department of Human Services assumed responsibility for the county’s Emergency Management program and in 1998 for the Child Support Enforcement department. However, in 2002 the Emergency Management program was transferred to the Sheriff's Department.

Now officially known as the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the department manages an annual budget of more than $27 million to provide services divided among the following major programs areas:

Children's Services

Public Health Nursing

Community Support Program/Comprehensive Community Service

Aging & Disability Resouce Center/Aging and Long Term care

Mental Health/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA)

Administration/Resource Support/Economic Support   

Child Support


 
 

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