About Us

How We Help

The Northern Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) is a resource for families with children (0-22) who have any type of disability or need help finding a diagnosis.

We also offer parent support with loans from our resource library, scholarships to training and conferences, peer support from staff with lived experiences, and referrals to our statewide Parent-to-Parent support network. The Northern Regional Center office is located in Wausau, Wisconsin and supports 15 counties and 6 tribes. Staff are available to help problem-solve, provide information or make referrals to community, state, and national resources. We regularly travel in the area so can drop off resources, meet for coffee, or host a training in your home community.

The Northern Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) is funded by the Public Health Division of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, through the Maternal and Child Health Title V Services Block Grant. More information about the network of CYSHCN programs in Wisconsin is available here: northernregionalcenter.org/about/cyshcn-network/

Our Staff- use the Contact Us page to reach out to any of us for help

Allison Lourash, Program Manager

Hello, I am so excited to use over 20 years of personal and professional experience working with families who are navigating systems at the Northern Regional Center. Being born with a physical disability, as well as other personal experiences, has shaped my career and this role is a great fit as I love connecting people to resources and information. Before coming to the Northern Regional Center, I worked in adult systems serving people with disabilities in variety of roles around increasing employment and community connections. I also have a strong interest in transition from my work coordinating accommodations at a college and having been an advocate for families by providing transition resources and training. 

Allison Lourash

Hope Mayotte, Community Specialist

Boozhoo Hope nindizhinikaaz ozaawaa-aanakwadokwe indigo, Migizi nindoodem Mashkiziibing nindoonjibaa. Hello my name is Hope Mayotte, my anishinaabe name is Yellow Cloud Woman, I am eagle clan and I am from Bad River. Prior to joining Northern Regional Center CYSHCN, I was previously employed at Bad River Social Services for 3 years doing prevention and intervention crisis work with families and youth. Then prior to that with the Red Cliff Health department as a home visitor. In addition to my employment, for the past 4 years I have been an Indigenous student Midwife, Doula, Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor, and advocate. I am a mother to six beautiful unique children. My passion is making a difference in families and children’s lives. As well as my community, culture, land and language. I actively participate in cultural activities and language training and strive to be a community role model. Headshot of a smiling Hope facing camera with an olive green shirt and multicolored sweater

Michelle Steffen, Community Specialist

My name is Michelle Steffen, Community Specialist for the Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Northern Region.  I am also a WSPEI District Family Engagement Liaison for my local school district. I previously worked with families as a Family Navigator in the Northcentral part of the state with the Wisconsin Promise grant which focused on youth transitioning from high school and supporting their families. I will be finishing up my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work soon at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Wausau Campus. Besides professional experience working with families and youth navigating systems, I also have years of experience personally. A little about myself: I am married with three biological children and four bonus children. In my free time, I love to enjoy Northern Wisconsin’s natural beauty by snowshoeing, hiking, or biking. 

Picture of Michelle Steffen a white woman with long hair, wearing glasses and a mulitcolor scarf with a green sweater

CYSHCN Philosophy

We believe that:

  • Children are best served within their family
  • Children and families are best supported within the context of their community
  • Families need to have convenient access to care coordinators
  • Collaboration is the best way to provide comprehensive services
  • Family perspectives and presence must be included in all aspects of the system.

Our goal is to meet the needs of children and youth with special needs by focusing on the unique strengths of family members, responding to all requests in a timely manner, by finding resources as close to home as possible and by working with local partners collaboratively to serve the children and their families.

CYSHCN Mission

The Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Program will collaborate with national, state, and community-based partners to link children to appropriate services, close service gaps, reduce duplication and develop policies to better serve families.