In 1973, a committee of concerned citizens was formed to explore ways to develop community based treatment group homes for adolescents. Consultants from the John Howard Association in Chicago recommended that families, not the adolescents, should be the focus of the services and the services should be resources for the families to use in addressing the problem.
Soon, Kenosha Area Group Homes (KAGH) was formed. It began as a home for adolescent girls and a prevention service (crisis intervention) which provided counselors to parents for advice on parenting issues. The service was available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Later, in 1974, KAGH opened a home for adolescent boys.
Kenosha now had community based programming and family intervention as alternatives to incarceration. In 1975, KAGH opened a co-ed shelter, Shelter Care, a problem-solving center where an adolescent could temporarily live while the family received support to define and resolve the conflict.
In 1976, at the request of the Kenosha County Comprehensive Board, KAGH began to train and supervise foster parents in using behavioral modification techniques. This began the Specialized Foster Parents Program. From the onset, KAGH was committed to meeting the treatment and development needs of the youth and families of Kenosha County.
In 1978, the organization changed its name to reflect that dedication and KAGH became Kenosha Youth Development Services (KYDS).
Service for Adults
KYDS experienced another growth spurt in 1984! Under contract with the Kenosha County Comprehensive Board, KYDS began providing Adult Crisis intervention services, aftercare services for people living with mental illness and/or addiction, and coordination of outpatient mental health care. Soon, ALL of the separate KCCB programs were merged and the Community Intervention Center was created at KYDS. In 1985, KYDS responded to the county department of social services and developed an independent living program to assist 17-year-old youth who had no other supports or resources to meet their needs. Agency growth and new programming continued throughout the 80’s and 90’s and beyond with the addition of a new Adult Shelter (1987-now known as the KARE Center), Columbus House (1994), Homeless Youth Program (1993), and case management for adults with developmental disabilities (1996). The new millennium brought many new opportunities for KHDS to meet the ever-present needs of the Kenosha community. New contracts with Kenosha County and new innovative ideas led the agency to create and add several exciting programs. The Children’s Long-Term Waiver, The Behavioral Health Treatment Court, Rapid Rehousing, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Resource Center, The Community Support Program and Comprehensive Community Services are just some of the programs that helped to expand the scope of services offered.
KYDS Becomes KHDS
In 1997, the addition of all these new services, especially those for adults, led the organization to, once again, change its name. KYDS now became Kenosha Human Development Services (KHDS). 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 identify 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 individual strengths and family systems and needs and helping people to solve their own problems by teaching them the skills they will need for life. Today, Kenosha Human Development Services (KHDS), strives to keep an eye on the needs of Kenosha County and respond accordingly. Responding to the needs of the community is what led to the creation of KHDS.