Our Beginnings

Willowglen Academy began serving mentally and developmentally challenged children in 1973 in the small community of Plymouth, Wisconsin. A group of mental health professionals, who were colleagues working at the Milwaukee County Child and Adolescent Treatment Center, determined that services could better be provided in open, non–hospital, community settings. The 24 bed setting, providing the full range of psychiatric, educational, and social services to children and families, reached capacity in under one year and expanded by opening several treatment group homes in the larger community. Local educational and service agencies were also involved in the process of furthering normalization.


As our reputation spread, referrals began to arrive from surrounding states such as Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, and as far away as South Carolina . As our youngsters reached adulthood and returning home was not possible, we began to develop community based living arrangements for our aging service groups in other Wisconsin counties. As our out of state populations grew, we were eventually persuaded to open facilities in Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, and South Carolina where the majority of our youth currently receive treatment services closer to home and family. These programs along with our adult components, Belwood and Bell Therapy, today comprise the treatment services under the corporate name of Phoenix Care Systems, Inc. We have had a long and successful history, and I am proud to be one of the founders and its first director beginning in 1972.

Donald R. Fritz, MSW, LCSW Chairman of the Board


ILLINOIS

In 1998, Phoenix Care Systems was approached by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities, to consider opening a facility for the more than 200 Developmentally Disabled Individuals who were receiving services out of the State of Illinois. From that contact, Willowglen Academy-Illinois was born. In the fall of 2002, WGA-IL opened their doors with one Child and Adolescent Group Home and Private Special Education School. As the program received additional referrals, WGA-IL expanded to four Child and Adolescent Group Homes.


By 2004, the original Children and Adolescent consumers were in need of adult placement. In 2005, in order to meet the need of the Children turning 22, Willowglen Academy-Illinois opened several Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) Group Homes licensed by the Illinois Department of Human Services. Also, the Developmental Training (DT) Program for adults began in 2005 to provide the adult individuals an opportunity to continue to learn and grow. To date, WGA-IL operates 5 Children and Adolescent Group Homes, 5 CILA Group Homes, an ISBE Certified Private Special Education School and Adult Developmental Training Program.


NEW JERSEY

A Mission with a Purpose
Starting as a small facility in 1987, Willowglen Academy New Jersey, Inc. has grown over the years into a premier therapeutic service provider that delivers a comprehensive continuum of care for youth and adults with behavioral, mental health and developmental disabilities. Just as the willow tree we have learned to adapt to the ever-changing world of special needs, providing individuals and their families with opportunities to thrive even in the most challenging circumstances. We strive to provide quality, person-centered services that foster the growth and potential of the individuals we serve by giving individuals with special needs the tools they need to flourish and adapt in today’s world. We seek to infuse Hope, Trust, Safety and Opportunity into all of our programs:


  • Residential Homes
  • Residential Treatment Centers
  • Supervised Apartments
  • Emergency Placement Residences
  • Special Education Schools offering
    • Transitional & Prevocational Educational Options
  • Respite Services
  • Adult Training Programs offering
    • Vocational
    • Life Skills
    • Individual/ Group Counseling

With over 500 extensively trained and culturally competent team members, our dedicated Professional Workforce is committed to serving over 200 individuals throughout New Jersey. Willowglen Academy is fortunate to be able to offer extensive services because of our caring and talented professionals who respond to the needs the individuals, allowing the organization the flexibility to offer a continuum of care that focuses on improving quality of life. From our direct support professionals to our nursing team – our support team works around the clock to care for each individual.


Willowglen Academy is committed to you, your family and your loved ones. We will continue to grow with you and your family both today and in the future through the ever-evolving therapeutic support services we offer. Join us in our efforts to ensure Hope, Trust, Safety and Opportunity for all individuals throughout New Jersey State.


SOUTH CAROLINA

In 1990 the State of South Carolina began placing children out of state into the Willowglen Academy-Wisconsin program. Approximately 3 years later, The State Department of Health and Human Services asked Willowglen Academy about interest in opening programs in South Carolina in order to move their children home and in 1994; WGA began renovation work on a 50 bed High Management Group Home which began serving consumers in 1995.


In 1996, WGA obtained approval to operate a private school on site for our consumers and in 1998; several local school districts requested WGA SC to provide day services to some of their students at the school on the Greeleyville campus. WGA begins accepting students and over the years served seven different school districts. In 2000, WGA expanded its services opening two ten bed High Management Group Homes and two ten bed Temporary De-escalation Care (TDC) Programs in Summerton, SC. In 2005, WGA begins serving students at the Orangeburg school district in a Clinical Day Program (CDP). (This program operated successfully for two years before it is terminated due to State budget cuts). In 2007, WGA applies for accreditation from CARF and received a three year accreditation.


In 2008: The State of SC mandated all HMGH programs with more than sixteen clients convert into a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF). In 2009, WGA HMGH converts to a PRTF. Also in 2009, WGASC enters into a contract with the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs to operate two four bed Community Training Homes in Summerton at the former site of our TDC program. Sumter county school district requested that WGA provide Rehabilitative Behavioral Health Services (RBHS) to some of their clients in the community. This program later expanded to serve 70 + students in the schools.


In 2010: WGA receives its second three year accreditation from CARF. In 2011, WGA SC welcomes a new Executive Director, Teresa Vassar. The new state-of-the-art PRTF in Kingstree, SC opens. The Clinical department and Residential services begin a renewal of growth and development with the addition of Dr. Melissa Muse and Michael Campi. In 2012: WGA continues to grow and expand. WGA maintains a full census at the PRTF in Kingstree, purchases & renovated a new CTHII/ Specialized High Management Home. Cherokee Cottage and Palmetto Cottage on the Greeleyville Campus are renovated and licensed as a High Management Group Home with DSS. The RBHS program within the Sumter School District expanded to four schools.


In 2013- 2015, WGA SC continued full census in all programs. An additional cottage was opened in the HMGH program. Two additional schools were added to the Sumter School program. WGA SC provided services to over 140 consumers yearly during this period.


WISCONSIN

Willowglen Academy, the original company of the current Phoenix Care Systems, Inc. was developed in order to provide comprehensive and highly-structured treatment to children, adolescents, and their families through an array of residential and educational services. The name "Willowglen" came from the first facility, a former nursing home with large willow trees in front of the property. It was founded in 1972 and began operations in Plymouth, Wisconsin in 1973. Through the ensuing years, Willowglen Academy expanded to several other facilities, primarily located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Within the first decade of operations in Wisconsin, Willowglen became recognized by professionals across the country for its expertise in the care and treatment of individuals with a dually diagnosed profile. Since its inception, Willowglen has focused primarily on meeting the challenges presented by a lack of community-based resources for persons with complex needs.


Our Beginnings

Willowglen Academy began serving mentally and developmentally challenged children in 1973 in the small community of Plymouth, Wisconsin. A group of mental health professionals, who were colleagues working at the Milwaukee County Child and Adolescent Treatment Center, determined that services could better be provided in open, non–hospital, community settings. The 24 bed setting, providing the full range of psychiatric, educational, and social services to children and families, reached capacity in under one year and expanded by opening several treatment group homes in the larger community. Local educational and service agencies were also involved in the process of furthering normalization.


As our reputation spread, referrals began to arrive from surrounding states such as Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, and as far away as South Carolina . As our youngsters reached adulthood and returning home was not possible, we began to develop community based living arrangements for our aging service groups in other Wisconsin counties. As our out of state populations grew, we were eventually persuaded to open facilities in Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, and South Carolina where the majority of our youth currently receive treatment services closer to home and family. These programs along with our adult components, Belwood and Bell Therapy, today comprise the treatment services under the corporate name of Phoenix Care Systems, Inc. We have had a long and successful history, and I am proud to be one of the founders and its first director beginning in 1972.

Donald R. Fritz, MSW, LCSW Chairman of the Board


ILLINOIS

In 1998, Phoenix Care Systems was approached by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities, to consider opening a facility for the more than 200 Developmentally Disabled Individuals who were receiving services out of the State of Illinois. From that contact, Willowglen Academy-Illinois was born. In the fall of 2002, WGA-IL opened their doors with one Child and Adolescent Group Home and Private Special Education School. As the program received additional referrals, WGA-IL expanded to four Child and Adolescent Group Homes.


By 2004, the original Children and Adolescent consumers were in need of adult placement. In 2005, in order to meet the need of the Children turning 22, Willowglen Academy-Illinois opened several Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) Group Homes licensed by the Illinois Department of Human Services. Also, the Developmental Training (DT) Program for adults began in 2005 to provide the adult individuals an opportunity to continue to learn and grow. To date, WGA-IL operates 5 Children and Adolescent Group Homes, 5 CILA Group Homes, an ISBE Certified Private Special Education School and Adult Developmental Training Program.


NEW JERSEY

A Mission with a Purpose
Starting as a small facility in 1987, Willowglen Academy New Jersey, Inc. has grown over the years into a premier therapeutic service provider that delivers a comprehensive continuum of care for youth and adults with behavioral, mental health and developmental disabilities. Just as the willow tree we have learned to adapt to the ever-changing world of special needs, providing individuals and their families with opportunities to thrive even in the most challenging circumstances. We strive to provide quality, person-centered services that foster the growth and potential of the individuals we serve by giving individuals with special needs the tools they need to flourish and adapt in today’s world. We seek to infuse Hope, Trust, Safety and Opportunity into all of our programs:


  • Residential Homes
  • Residential Treatment Centers
  • Supervised Apartments
  • Emergency Placement Residences
  • Special Education Schools offering
    • Transitional & Prevocational Educational Options
  • Respite Services
  • Adult Training Programs offering
    • Vocational
    • Life Skills
    • Individual/ Group Counseling

With over 500 extensively trained and culturally competent team members, our dedicated Professional Workforce is committed to serving over 200 individuals throughout New Jersey. Willowglen Academy is fortunate to be able to offer extensive services because of our caring and talented professionals who respond to the needs the individuals, allowing the organization the flexibility to offer a continuum of care that focuses on improving quality of life. From our direct support professionals to our nursing team – our support team works around the clock to care for each individual.


Willowglen Academy is committed to you, your family and your loved ones. We will continue to grow with you and your family both today and in the future through the ever-evolving therapeutic support services we offer. Join us in our efforts to ensure Hope, Trust, Safety and Opportunity for all individuals throughout New Jersey State.


SOUTH CAROLINA

In 1990 the State of South Carolina began placing children out of state into the Willowglen Academy-Wisconsin program. Approximately 3 years later, The State Department of Health and Human Services asked Willowglen Academy about interest in opening programs in South Carolina in order to move their children home and in 1994; WGA began renovation work on a 50 bed High Management Group Home which began serving consumers in 1995.


In 1996, WGA obtained approval to operate a private school on site for our consumers and in 1998; several local school districts requested WGA SC to provide day services to some of their students at the school on the Greeleyville campus. WGA begins accepting students and over the years served seven different school districts. In 2000, WGA expanded its services opening two ten bed High Management Group Homes and two ten bed Temporary De-escalation Care (TDC) Programs in Summerton, SC. In 2005, WGA begins serving students at the Orangeburg school district in a Clinical Day Program (CDP). (This program operated successfully for two years before it is terminated due to State budget cuts). In 2007, WGA applies for accreditation from CARF and received a three year accreditation.


In 2008: The State of SC mandated all HMGH programs with more than sixteen clients convert into a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF). In 2009, WGA HMGH converts to a PRTF. Also in 2009, WGASC enters into a contract with the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs to operate two four bed Community Training Homes in Summerton at the former site of our TDC program. Sumter county school district requested that WGA provide Rehabilitative Behavioral Health Services (RBHS) to some of their clients in the community. This program later expanded to serve 70 + students in the schools.


In 2010: WGA receives its second three year accreditation from CARF. In 2011, WGA SC welcomes a new Executive Director, Teresa Vassar. The new state-of-the-art PRTF in Kingstree, SC opens. The Clinical department and Residential services begin a renewal of growth and development with the addition of Dr. Melissa Muse and Michael Campi. In 2012: WGA continues to grow and expand. WGA maintains a full census at the PRTF in Kingstree, purchases & renovated a new CTHII/ Specialized High Management Home. Cherokee Cottage and Palmetto Cottage on the Greeleyville Campus are renovated and licensed as a High Management Group Home with DSS. The RBHS program within the Sumter School District expanded to four schools.


In 2013- 2015, WGA SC continued full census in all programs. An additional cottage was opened in the HMGH program. Two additional schools were added to the Sumter School program. WGA SC provided services to over 140 consumers yearly during this period.


WISCONSIN

Willowglen Academy, the original company of the current Phoenix Care Systems, Inc. was developed in order to provide comprehensive and highly-structured treatment to children, adolescents, and their families through an array of residential and educational services. The name "Willowglen" came from the first facility, a former nursing home with large willow trees in front of the property. It was founded in 1972 and began operations in Plymouth, Wisconsin in 1973. Through the ensuing years, Willowglen Academy expanded to several other facilities, primarily located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Within the first decade of operations in Wisconsin, Willowglen became recognized by professionals across the country for its expertise in the care and treatment of individuals with a dually diagnosed profile. Since its inception, Willowglen has focused primarily on meeting the challenges presented by a lack of community-based resources for persons with complex needs.