President’s Report

President's Report
March 1, 2018

The children we serve
certainly are much
more than numbers, but
it is helpful to review
an annual summary of
information regarding the
scope, breadth and depth
of services Northwood

For yet another year, more children and youth were
served in 2017 than any before – 824 in ourresidential and day treatment programs, and another
214 children and families received services through
the Northwood outpatient programs. The focus of
our care continues to be northeastern Minnesota. 82%
of the kids we served were from St. Louis, Carlton
or Itasca counties. We serve about an equal number
of students in the day treatment and residential
programs, and continue to serve more boys than
girls at about a 70-30 ratio. The average age of all
the children we serve is 11 years. The length of
stay in the residential and day treatment programs is
remarkably consistent at 10 months.

We serve a wide diversity of children and youth in
our programs. Half identify as Caucasian. The largest
minority group we serve continues to be Native
American, followed by African American students
and those identifying themselves as coming from a
mixed race background. All of the students served by
Northwood programs have a mental health diagnosis,
and the most frequently occurring diagnoses are
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder, Oppositional Defiant
Disorder, Disruptive Behavior Disorder and
Dysthymic Disorder (depression).

Again, parents, guardians and referring workers
were very satisfied with services provided, with a
rating of a little over 5 on a 6-point scale on quarterly
satisfaction surveys. They are most pleased with the
level of support, recreational opportunities, the staff’s
focus on their child’s needs, strengths and education,
our approach to understanding and meeting their
child’s mental health needs, our respect for the child’s
rights and our facilitation of family visits and contact.
The kids were a bit more critical, to the tune of about
a half a rating point. They rated the food (amazing),
therapy and the sense of safety provided to them as
the most positive aspects of care.

It was another busy and productive year. Northwood
offers the most complete continuum of care of
intensive mental health treatment programs in
the state, allowing us to provide exactly the right
service at the right time. Utilization of our programs
remained strong, resulting in positive financial
performance. We are almost ready to launch our
newest level of service on the continuum – the
Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Facility.
Our West campus will be devoted to this new, more
intensive level of care. In preparation, we have been
working closely with the State of Minnesota to revise
our operating procedures to align with the stringent
standards of care. We have hired over a dozen new
staff members, including seven nurses. Last minute
details are being worked out, and we anticipate
admitting our first student any day now.

Lots of other highlights – the loan repayment program
(a staff retention tool) was a smash hit. Thirty staff
receive a monthly stipend paid toward their student
loans. We received the prestigious “Provider of
the Year Award” from the National Alliance on
Mental Illness (NAMI). The award recognizes an
organization that provides mental health services that
demonstrate excellence, respect and best practices.
When introducing the award, Sue Abderholden,
NAMI’s Executive Director, commented,
“Northwood has done incredible work around
children’s mental health. The organization offers a
variety of programs with a focus on resiliency, but
also respect and compassion. Every time I have
visited I have been impressed with how caring the
staff is and the variety of ways they work to engage
the children and youth. Northwood is about changing

Of course, the most important work goes on every
day with every child we serve. Last September,
Charlie Appelstein, a renowned author and soughtafter
national presenter, conducted a workshop
for Northwood staff. Charlie has a unique and
compelling way to deliver his message about
compassion for the kids. He reminded us of the
shattering experiences many of our students have
endured, and how none of us could watch even five
minutes of a video depicting the trauma in their lives.
It would be unbearable.

It’s not easy, this complicated process of building
brighter futures for children, youth and their families.
It is an awesome responsibility. Good thing we have
so many dedicated and skilled people on the job! I
would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board
for their service and the staff for their committed
efforts each day. A special thank you to our generous
donors for their support, as well. There is no more
important work in this world to be done, and what we
do is transformational.

Thank you.

Richard Wolleat
President & CEO

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Northwood Children’s Services provides professional care, education, and treatment for boys and girls with emotional, behavioral, and learning disabilities.

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President’s Reports