Watertown Youth Crisis Stabilization Facility Now Open

Center provides care for young people who need a safe place to be during times of distress

youth crisis stabilization facility is now open in Watertown, with start-up funding provided by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). The eight-bed center in the former Alyea House at Camp Matz is operated by Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Community Services under an agreement with the Jefferson County Human Services Department. The center serves young people with mental health challenges who can’t stay in their homes safely, but don’t need to be hospitalized.

“These facilities provide help for immediate needs and support for future well-being,” said DHS Secretary-designee Kirsten Johnson. “Our support of this center is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure Wisconsinites of all ages have access to the right care at the right time in the right setting.”

A youth crisis stabilization facility provides a young person an opportunity to recover from their distress in a supportive and structured environment. It is a short-term program designed to help them return home as quickly as possible, with most stays only a few days in length. The services offered by specially trained staff assist the person in developing skills to manage their stress and symptoms and in building connections in their community to help them thrive during times of adversity.

The Watertown youth crisis stabilization facility is open to boys and girls from all Wisconsin communities. Admission is coordinated through Jefferson County’s emergency mental health services program.

The Jefferson County Human Services Department received about $1.3 million in one-time DHS grants from state and federal funds to establish the center in Watertown. An additional annual DHS grant from state funds of $498,000 is being used to support daily operations of the center through 2026.

Wisconsin’s statewide network of youth crisis stabilization facilities also includes locations in Milwaukee and Wausau. The Milwaukee center is operated by Lad Lake and serves girls only. The Wausau center is operated by North Central Health Care and serves boys and girls.

Youth crisis stabilization facilities are one part of an ongoing transformation of Wisconsin’s system of care for people experiencing a mental health emergency. The goal of this work is to build a structure of services that supports everyone, everywhere, every time by providing someone to talk to, someone to respond, and a safe place to be.

People experiencing a mental health emergency should call, text, or chat the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline or the crisis line for their county for help from a trained counselor. If the situation is life threatening, they should call 911.