Kenosha Human Development Services, Inc. (KHDS) began with a call for help from administrators at the county department of social services and the state division of corrections. They were concerned about a spiraling need for community services for adolescents. In 1973, a committee of concerned Kenosha citizens was formed to explore ways to develop treatment group homes in Kenosha. The committee hired consultants from the John Howard Association in Chicago to analyze the way that Kenosha handled problematic adolescent behavior and to recommend needed services.
The consultants recommended that families, not the problem adolescents, should be the focus of services and that the services should be resources for the families to use in addressing the problem. They felt that preventing the need for out-of-home placements was as important as developing treatment programs. They recommended several services. The committee of concerned citizens incorporated an organization, Kenosha Area Group Homes, to implement the consultants' recommendations. In 1974, Kenosha Area Group Homes (KAGH) began a group home for adolescent girls and a prevention service (Crisis Intervention) that made counselors available to parents for advise on parenting issues at any time of the day and on any day of the week. Later in 1974, KAGH began a group home for adolescent boys.
With these three programs, KAGH introduced to Kenosha the concepts of community-based programming and family intervention services as alternatives to incarceration. In 1975, KAGH opened a co-ed shelter for the non-secure detention of adolescents (Shelter Care). The Shelter Care home was offered as a problem-solving center where an adolescent could temporarily live while the family received help to define and resolve the conflict. In 1976, the director of Shelter Care responded to a request from the Kenosha County Comprehensive Board (KCCB) for a community-based program as an alternative to state mental hospitalization for a ten-year old boy. To meet the boy's needs, KAGH offered to train and supervise foster parents to use behavior modification techniques, thus launching Specialized Foster Care.
From its very beginning, the board and staff of KAGH lobbied for the creation of a juvenile court screening and diversion program. Their efforts were instrumental in the establishment of the current Juvenile Court Intake Services. KAGH wanted to emphasize their commitment to helping youth and families resolve child development issues. In 1978, the organization changed its name to Kenosha Youth Development Services (KYDS). This name change placed emphasis on family and youth development
Service for Adults
In 1984, the Kenosha County Comprehensive Board contracted with KYDS to provide Adult Crisis intervention services, aftercare services for the mentally ill and chemically dependent, and coordination of their outpatient mental health program. The intake assessment, referral, and case monitoring system established by KYDS for the coordination of the outpatient mental health program was expanded to the aftercare services when all of the separate KCCB programs were merged into one program - the Community Intervention Center (CIC). It was the system established by KYDS for managing the KCCB programs that encouraged the creation of the CIC.
In 1985, the county department of social services asked KYDS to develop an independent living program for 17-year old youth who had no other resources - familial or systemic - to meet their needs. The Independent Living Program now serves 20 youth on a daily basis and provides a skill assessment for youth in the foster care system who are 16 years old. In 1987, KYDS developed the Adult Shelter (now known as the KARE Center) as an alternative to hospitalization for mentally ill and chemically dependent adults.
In 1990 and 1994, KYDS added a CBRF for the State of Wisconsin, Department of Corrections. These living arrangements included a half-way house (Columbus House). In 1993, KYDS also developed a Homeless Youth Program. This program was patterned after our Independent Living Program and serves homeless youth 18-21 years of age. The Homeless Youth Program, corrections program, and Independent Living Program were organized into the division of Transitional Living. This division is one of four divisions of KYDS. Those divisions are Transitional Living, Prevention/Intervention, Community Intervention Center and Residential Care.
KYDS Becomes KHDS
Because of the addition of services, specifically for adults, the name of the organization was changed in 1997 to Kenosha Human Development Services, Inc. (KHDS). From its inception, the heart of the KHDS organization has always been a rational approach to solving problematic human behavior. The essence of that approach has been to calmly define the problem, to identity various possible solutions, to identify needed resources, to implement the most appropriate solution, and to modify the solution until the desired outcome is reached. KHDS has always been an advocate for developing community-based resources centered on helping individuals and their families to solve their own problems.