MadisonOriginalsMagazine.com | 19 someone else in an AODA [Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse] program,” says David. Upcoming work also includes expanding the Wisconsin Integrated Services for Elders (WISE) Star program. “WISE serves the older adults; we’re trying to work with a couple of elderly programs,” says David. “We’re not competing with anything the system’s providing. We’re offering mental health services. We can work with [those who have] depression. We’ve also got several of our therapy staff that offer mediation services—as in, how do you work with Mom and Dad to divide up the property? Long-term, that’s going to be part of our services as that population increases.” Of course, for any human services organization, strength in the face of challenge is the name of the game. “Next year will be the sixth year of funding cuts,” says David. “Our staff has been pretty resilient in handling that— we’ve gured out how to offset those cuts by bringing in other management contracts. The families we’re seeing, the clients we’re seeing, are getting more and more challenging. The level of need and care is increasing,” he says.“Our staff work with some really very challenging situations—I see it when I sit in on the teams and listen to the team approach to supporting some of the folks we’re helping. And of course in this economy it’s exaggerated—this year alone, we’ve had six kids dying in our community. The county in this case, the human services, are being forced to cut back—and as we downsize our systems, there’s a price to pay for that. But what are they going to do? They have to run a balanced budget. There’s just not enough money out there for the challenges we face.”Fortunately, Madison can continue to rely on this dedicated services organization to do all it can to face those challenges within the larger community. For more information on Family Service Madison, visit fsmad.org or call (608) 252-1320. Erin Abler is a freelance writer. Photographs provided by Family Service Madison .