Agencies’ merger allows People Inc. to help children

People Incorporated Mental Health Services, the state’s largest nonprofit working exclusively in the adult mental health field, is expanding its care to children. The organization announced in January that it has acquired an array of programs supporting children’s mental health from St. Paul-based Children’s Home Society & Family Services (Children’s Home). The programs, which will continue without disruption, serve clients in the Twin Cities area, serving clients in six counties. The programs currently serve about 1,000 clients.

“This move combines People Incorporated’s long history of managing and growing programs for people with mental health needs with the expertise Children’s Home has working with children,” said Dr. Tim Burkett, chief executive officer of People Incorporated. “We’ll use this acquisition as a springboard to develop innovative early intervention programs for children and families.”

The programs began operating as the new People Incorporated Children’s Services division on Jan. 1. Services will include individual and familycounseling, early childhood mental health, school-linked counseling, day treatment for children, domestic abuse prevention, anger management, and parent support services.

The merger reflects national and Minnesota trends of nonprofit agency mergers, as groups seek efficiencies by merging programs and services. According to Jill Wiedemann-West, chief operating officers of People Incorporated, the acquisition mirrors the trend of nonprofits fine-tuning their missions.

“Small nonprofits are finding it harder to make diversified services work in the harsh economy. This acquisition allows each organization to focus on its specialty services, but more efficiently,” said Wiedemann-West.

The Children’s Home acquisition will add approximately $3.8 million to People Incorporated’s 2012 budget of $33.5 million. Children’s Home Society & Family Services was founded in 1889. The agency works to provide every child with security, opportunity and a loving family. Beginning Jan. 1, it will focus on its adoption and early learning services.

People Incorporated Mental Health Services was founded in 1969, promotes and secures independence for people with mental illness. The organization operates more than 40 programs throughout the Twin Cities metro area, including services for the homeless, crisis management services, drop-in centers, in-home living skills programs, and a range of residential homes. People Incorporated serves more than 6,500 people with mental illness annually.