Children and Families


Programs and services

DHS operates an array of residential and treatment programs serving people with mental illness, developmental disabilities and chemical dependency. Currently, about 3,500 employees provide these services at nearly 200 sites statewide (PDF). Admission to these programs is by referral. Referrals generally come from county social services, the courts or other health care providers. About 11,000 people receive direct care services from the department each year.

This information is intended to help patients and their families learn more about the programs.

  • Adult mental health services

    DHS provides specialized inpatient, residential and related treatment supports for people with mental illness.

    Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center (PDF)

    Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center (AMRTC) serves people who have a mental illness in a campus-based setting. Many patients have complex medical histories. It is a 110-bed psychiatric hospital, divided into 25-bed units. Specialized services include treatment for patients who have:

    • Multiple and complex conditions
    • Mental illness and who face a criminal trial
    • High levels of behavioral issues.

    Community Behavioral Health Hospitals (PDF)

    Community Behavioral Health Hospitals (CBHHs) provide short-term inpatient psychiatric care at seven 16-bed sites in communities across the state. Multidisciplinary teams use various person-centered approaches to best meet the needs of the client. Supports can be incorporated into treatment by serving patients as close as possible to their home communities. The hospitals provide a range of services that include:

    • Assessment of mental, social, functional and physical health
    • An individual treatment plan, including medication management and 24-hour nursing care
    • Individualized aftercare planning for transitioning back to an appropriate setting in the community.

    Minnesota Specialty Health System (PDF)

    Minnesota Specialty Health System in Brainerd serves people who have a serious mental illness and also have an acquired brain injury. The evidenced-based treatment includes intensive clinical and cognitive rehabilitation in a residential community setting.

    St. Paul Como Community Unit serves people who have a serious mental illness. The evidenced-based treatment includes an intensive clinical and rehabilitation approach in a safe and creative apartment environment.

    Minnesota Specialty Health System in Wadena and Willmar are residential programs that offer an individualized, person-centered approach to treatment. Examples of treatment programming include: Illness Management and Recovery, Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment, Family Psycho-education, individualized self-medication management, and community integration  with a goal of increasing a patient’s functioning capacity during their recovery. Appropriate supports will be included in a client’s plan for return to community (discharge plan) for a more successful transition to the next phase of recovery.

  • Child and adolescent services

    The Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services (CABHS) (PDF) program in Willmar provides inpatient psychiatric hospital services. It offers a safe setting for youth who need crisis stabilization, comprehensive assessment and intensive treatment of specialized  mental health problems.

    Minnesota Intensive Therapeutic Homes (MITH) (PDF) provide a unique alternative to institutional placement for children and adolescents with severe emotional disturbance (SED) and serious acting out behaviors. Services are provided within the context of a family foster setting. Key components related to this program include treatment which fosters resilience based on the successful evidence based Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care and Wraparound models.

  • Chemical dependency treatment services

    Community Addiction Recovery Enterprise (C.A.R.E.) (PDF) provides inpatient and outpatient chemical dependency and substance abuse services statewide. Services are person-centered, building on the patient’s interests and capacity for growth, leading to a lifelong process of recovery.

    Specialized treatment options offered include:

    • Culturally based residential services for adults and adolescents who have multiple diagnoses
    • Inpatient services for people who have mental illness, chemical dependency or both
    • Relapse prevention services
    • Pathological gambling services
    • Adult aftercare services
    • Adult family services.

    Community Addiction Recovery Enterprise (C.A.R.E.), in partnership with Hennepin County, provides chemical health intensive day treatment to county residents at high risk for commitment or revocation of provisional discharges due to chronic addiction to alcohol and other drugs. This program is an alternative to residential treatment, designed to reduce costs while providing a more effective treatment strategy. The program integrates housing, intensive case management, transportation and vocational services. Staff help participants set individualized goals to move toward an improved lifestyle. Program objectives include:

    • Reducing the number of chemical dependency commitments
    • Reducing detox and emergency room visits
    • Developing improved recovery and relapse services
    • Decreasing homelessness
    • Improving coordination with the court system
    • Integrating existing chemical health resources to ensure services follow best practices
    • Decreasing the cost of serving the target population
    • Decreasing the target population’s interaction with law enforcement.
  • Community dental clinics

    DHS operates five community dental clinics (PDF) that provide services to people with developmental disabilities, severe or persistent mental illness or traumatic brain injury who could not get care from other community providers. Clinics are located in Brainerd, Cambridge, Faribault, Fergus Falls and Willmar. The Faribault office also provides outpatient psychiatric services.

    These clinics are enrolled providers for Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP). If you receive MHCP benefits through a health plan, contact your health plan to see if these clinics are covered by your plan. Also ask if there are any limits on dental benefits.


  • Community, residential and vocational services for individuals with developmental disabilities and/or mental illness

    Community Support Services (CSS) (PDF) provides individualized clinical consultation and technical assistance. Nine mobile teams across the state strengthen the community living of people with clinically complex challenges.

    The Minnesota Life Bridge Program supports adults who have developmental disabilities and exhibit severe behaviors that present a risk to public safety. Minnesota Life Bridge Program provides short-term treatment in residential settings. Individuals served by the program often have co-occurring mental health or chemical dependency diagnoses. Minnesota Life Bridge is the successor to the Minnesota Specialty Health System-Cambridge. More information about the transition of Minnesota Specialty Health System Cambridge to Minnesota Life Bridge, admission and discharge processes, transition planning and community mobile support services is available in DHS Bulletin #14-76-01.

    Minnesota State Operated Community Services (MSOCS) provides residential (PDF) and vocational (PDF) support services for people with disabilities. Vocational services include day training and habilitation (DT & H) as well as evaluation, training and supported employment. Clients are integrated into the daily flow of the community. A state-of-the-art and highly specialized program called FACES (Friends and Community Experiencing Success) is used to plan individual support services that include community-based residential services typically provided in four-bed group homes.

    Day Training and Habilitation vocational programs locations around the state provide a wide range of individualized vocational training and support, including:

    • Job placement
    • Supported employment
    • Mobile work crews
    • Competitive employment
    • Volunteer opportunities
    • Self advocacy training
    • Community inclusion
    • Life skills training.


  • Forensic services

    Forensic Services (PDF) provides evaluation and specialized treatment services statewide to individuals in the legal system due to a crime through its Forensic Network, treatment programs and support services.

    The programs serve people committed as mentally ill and dangerous or other commitment types who present a public safety risk. Forensic Services also serves people with mental illness who the court has ordered for evaluation and treatment before the start of a criminal trial.


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