Our History: 1987 – Present


Since 1987, Wolverine has been the leader in providing services to the children and families of Michigan. Wolverine Founder Robert E. Wollack began Wolverine after working with youth in a variety of settings and through his research and experience developed a treatment model which he believed would provide the best possible outcomes. St. Jude’s Home for Boys, the flagship program opened on February 4, 1987, providing residential services for abused and/or neglected males. In January, 1988, Wolverine opened the Wolverine Diagnostic, Assessment and Treatment Center for 6-18 year old males in need of emergency assessment and shelter care. Later in 1988, Wolverine opened three additional programs: Pioneer Work and Learn Center, Victors Center and Community Based Programs. Pioneer Work and Learn Center, located in Vassar, MI, was developed to provide a unique six month residential treatment program with vocational work study and experiential outdoor activities, combined with a six month Aftercare program. Victors Center, in Detroit, was developed to provide intensive residential services for cognitively impaired males, ages 12-17; and Community Based Programs was developed to provide Foster Care and Supervised Independent Living services.

1991 – 1996

In 1991, Wolverine opened the Wolverine Community Center and Soup Kitchen, now named in honor of its late center director, John S. Vitale. The center was developed to provide after school activities for neighborhood youth and hot meals for those in need. In 1994, the Pioneer program expanded by 48 beds with the opening of the Wolverine Growth and Recovery Center on the Vassar campus. In 1996, Pioneer expanded again by adding another 87 beds with the opening of the WAVES program on the Vassar campus.

1997 – 1998

In 1997, Wolverine became the first agency in Michigan to build and operate a secure residential treatment facility for adolescent males. The Wolverine Secure Treatment Center, located in Buena Vista Township was constructed as an 80 bed facility offering Sexual Offender, Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Chronic Offender treatment. In 1998, Wolverine opened the Lt. Clarence Fischer Leadership Academy in Vassar. The CFLA program model is based on a military platoon leader system designed to instill self-discipline, structure, physical fitness and build leadership skills.

In addition to Wolverine, in 1992, Mr. Wollack founded and was president of Florida’s Gator Human Services which served 250 youth in nine programs until it was acquired by another agency in 1998. He is a founding member of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association as well as a founding member of the Association of Accredited Child and Family Agencies in Michigan.


In 2003, Wolverine’s Vassar campus was awarded a Substance Abuse license by the State of Michigan and began providing substance abuse treatment services. In 2007, Wolverine began a collaboration with Growthworks, Inc. which continues today to provide an Intensive Drug Treatment program. In 2008, Wolverine opened the Vassar House program, dedicated to providing Trauma Informed services, Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse services for adolescent females. The $3.5 million state of the art facility was built on property acquired adjacent to the Wolverine Vassar campus. Also in 2008, Wolverine built a 20 bed expansion at the Wolverine Secure Treatment Center.


Wolverine Community Based Programs, which offers Foster Care, Supervised Independent Living and since 2009, Adoption Services, has opened offices in Taylor, Center Line, Flint, South Lyon and Saginaw and provides services to over 150 clients on a daily basis.

2013 – Present

As the economic conditions and societal pressures impacted the child caring services in Michigan, Wolverine was forced to re-focus on the services it provides and the number of facilities needed. Through consolidation of programs and specialization of services, Wolverine in 2013 has developed two new programs designed to meet the treatment needs of today’s youth. Endeavor, a Trauma Specific Services program for secure females housed at the Wolverine Secure Treatment Center and Foundations, a Behavioral Health residential program for males on the Vassar campus.

Throughout our history, Wolverine has always provided cost-effective, outcome based services. As we move forward, we will insure that Wolverine continues to provide the best possible services to the children and families of Michigan.