Case workers will go into the community to work with disabled children.

STRONG – A branch office of a Lewiston-based social services provider for children should be open in downtown Strong by June 1.

Linda Hertell, CEO, founder and president of Richardson Hollow Mental Health Services, confirmed on Tuesday that her company has signed a one-year agreement effective in May and will move into the building that formerly housed Health Reach on Main Street in Strong and be open for business by early June.

Three case managers will work out of the Strong office as of June, Hertell said, adding that within a year, a dozen people could be employed there.

The building includes seven offices, a kitchen and a conference room.

Case managers will go into the community and work with children who have a variety of disabilities, including mental retardation, mental illness, developmental delays and terminal diseases, she said.

The case managers work as advocates for these children and their families, and monitor special services, provide support for parents and help families find the resources their children need to be successful.

So far, at least 45 children in Franklin County work with Richardson Hollow case managers, and Hertell said there are many more youngsters who could benefit.

Children enrolled in the program are already integrated into their communities, live with their parents and attend public schools. “They are everybody’s next door neighbor,” said Hertell.

For the most part, the residents of Strong will not even notice the new business in town, she said, as the clients already live in the area. “We are not serving people who are going to be imported into the community.”

Most clients will never even enter the new office as caseworkers mainly visit children in their homes, or at school. All in all, it is just an office space, Hertell said.

The move to Strong will follow the closing of Richardson Hollow’s Skowhegan office, expected later this month. The company has also lined up an office in Fairfield, and later this year, plans to move its Rumford branch office to Dixfield.

Hertell is excited to move into the Strong community because it will allow case managers to be closer to their clients, she said.

Currently, Hertell says only children under 21 will be case managed out of the Strong office, though Richardson Hollow does work with adults. That option may be explored in the future.

For more information about Richardson Hollow’s Strong office, call Debby Noonan, program manager, at 474-3894 or log onto the company’s Web site at

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