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Our Mission

Continuing to keep our clients, staff, and communities healthy and safe

In our last communication, we shared many of the ways that Special Tree is keeping our clients and staff safe and healthy. We’re continuing to follow the most up-to-date guidance from the CDC to reduce client exposure and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As America and Michigan adapt to a steady rise in COVID-19 cases, it seems no community has been untouched by the crisis, including Special Tree. Our daily operations certainly look much different than they did just one month ago. We’re thankful for our staff’s continued commitment, flexibility, and heart as we make our way through each new challenge, and for the ongoing patience and support of the clients, families, vendors and friends of Special Tree. Our goal remains first and foremost to do all we can to slow or prevent the spread of the virus and to keep our clients, staff, and communities healthy and safe.

We continue to restrict visitors and limit client exposure to anyone outside of their immediate care team. Employees are screened upon entering each Special Tree facility to ensure no one with symptoms or illness are permitted to enter. We are responding to the changing CDC, U.S., and state guidelines with elevated precautions and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Staff are supporting clients who have been tested for or may have COVID-19 and are taking all precautions as we support their care in-house or transfer them to area hospitals. Team leaders host daily huddles, staff meetings, and are making personal phone calls to keep their staff informed and up-to-date on the latest at their individual work location.

Our COVID-19 Leadership Team connects daily to closely monitor client and staff symptoms and health, review updates from the CDC, aggressively manage our supply of Personal Protection Equipment, monitor daily operational and staffing needs, and to make real time decisions to actively manage the latest developments.

As we continue to take precautions to protect our clients and staff, we understand how difficult visitor restrictions and social distancing can be on clients and families. Our staff is doing everything they can to help our clients feel connected.

  • We continue to encourage clients and families to connect through video conferencing, phone calls, and apps like FaceTime, WhatsApp or Skype.  Our staff will help from our end in any way we can. Please contact your Case Manager or Residential Program Manager for assistance.
  • During the crisis, our psychology and social work teams are providing support and resources to all clients and staff.
  • We’re working hard to help mitigate any social isolation our clients may experience during this difficult time.
  • Clients at some locations are staying in their rooms for meals and activities. Our team checks on them routinely and are coming up with creative ways to keep everyone engaged and happy including hallway parades, dance parties, sing-a-longs, and our one of our new favorites “hallway bingo”.
  • NCC and residential staff are keeping client phones operational with frequent reminders to clients to keep phones charged.

Since you’ve been unable to visit, see below for a glimpse of what staff is doing behind-the- scenes to keep spirits up!

You can follow us at and on our Facebook page for updates, education, and information.

Thank you for your continued patience and support.



Joseph C. Richert                 Lela Hickonbottom
President & CEO                   Chief Nursing Officer