Juvenile corrections overhaul brings changes to Mendota treatment center

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center in Madison has been recognized for its track record in helping troubled boys who need mental health treatment. Now, state officials will create a program to help troubled girls too.

"This is dramatic for anyone that works in this world and it's important," Mendota Mental Health Institute Director Greg Van Rybroek said.

Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center serves boys in the juvenile corrections system who need mental health treatment.

"These youth are extremely problematic and challenging," Van Rybroek said. "[They're] usually highly intractable, often very violent, dangerous youth."

The Center specializes in youth therapy and rehabilitation. They've been recognized for their high success rates compared to similar facilities in the state and around the country.

"The part about Mendota is that we've been doing it for about 22 years now, and we've got evidence to show now that treatment is effective," Van Rybroek said.

He says the expansion to open a program for girls will be a welcome change that will allow the state to better serve troubled youth, and put them on the right path.

"To have the opportunity to do what we've shown to be successful with violent boys, is really great that we're going to have the chance to do that with girls who are equally troubled," Van Rybroek said.

The changes announced by the Gov. Walker will also expand the existing program for boys.

In a statement about the juvenile corrections overhaul Gov. Walker said:

"MJTC is internationally renowned for its treatment program, which was built from the ground up here in Wisconsin. Data shows significantly improved outcomes for juveniles who participated in treatment at MJTC. "