Our History

our history

COMTREA was founded to meet the mental health needs of Jefferson County residents. What started as a men's halfway house has evolved into a health center offering primary care, dental care, mental health, psychiatry, and substance use treatment. Additionally, COMTREA provides community services including a children's advocacy center, school liaison services, domestic violence shelter, and canine therapy program.

Change is inevitable to meet the needs of our community, but our mission will never waiver.  

Community Treatment, Inc. building in black and white from the 1970s


  • Judge John Anderson, W.H.S. (Stu) O'Brien, a public defender, and Melvin G. Williams, the District Supervisor of State Probation and Parole discussed creating a not-for-profit corporation that would build a halfway house.
  • Articles of Incorporation were approved and the Corporation were created.
  • Stephen F. Huss, was selected as Executive Director.
  • Community Treatment Incorporated was shortened to COMTREA.
  • Selected an old meat-packing building in Festus for the site of the proposed halfway house.
  • Disastrous fire gutted the building. The community rallied to re-establish the agency.  
  • Missouri Department of Mental Health designated COMTREA as the Community Mental Health Center for Jefferson County.
  • One of the first agencies in Missouri to be certified by the Department of Mental Health (DMH).
Athena Center


  • Secured passage of a marriage and divorce fee for support of abuse victims in Jefferson County and began a jail counseling program.
  • Became the ninth in the state to be certified by the Missouri Department of Mental Health for psychiatric services.
  • Received passage of the $.10 tax, which guaranteed $800,000+ per year for mental health services to the county.
  • COMTREA Board appointed by the County Commission as the Community Mental Health Fund Board.
  • Provided counseling for dioxin and flood victims in the Times Beach area.
  • Purchased property near Athena/De Soto for the residential program mandated by the DADA.
Athena Center
Construction for A Safe Place domestic violence shelter


  • Secured passage of Children First legislation to assist divorcing parents with children.
  • Helped establish the Behavioral Health Response crisis program.
  • Opened Keaton Center, a 24-hour, fully-staffed 16 bed residential care facility. 
  • La Jade Theater was donated to COMTREA.
  • COMTREA’s A Safe Place domestic violence shelter opened.
Festus clinic


  • Treatment Family Homes for children with chemical abuse problems opened in De Soto.
  • Children’s Advocacy Center for forensic sexual abuse created in De Soto and Sullivan to serve nine counties. 
  • Received national accreditation by the Council on Accreditation for all programs.
  • Divorce mediation services begin. 
  • Participated on a committee that developed a Jefferson County Drug Court.
  • Implemented school liaisons, professional counselors in each public school in Jefferson County.
  • Secured passage of a 1/8 cent sales tax for children services in Jefferson County.
  • Received the National Behavioral Health Care Award for community collaboration.
  • Seeley Building was built.
Festus clinic
Primary care medical lab


  • Opened Susan Nuckols Residential Treatment Center in partnership with the Juvenile Office and County Council.
  • Purchased Bridle Ridge Acres and offered equine therapy.
  • Dental care offered at Valley Middle School, the first school-based health center for COMTREA.
  • Hickory Plaza opened with primary care and dental care. 
  • Received Federally Qualified Health Center certification.
  • Dental care provided at Fox schools within school-based health center.
Students participating in the tails with tales reading program


  • Susan Curfman became the second President and CEO of COMTREA.
  • Opened MAP mobile dental clinic.
  • Certified Community Behavioral Health Organization pilot program began for the State of Missouri.
  • Mary's House of Hope at A Safe Place capital campaign launched to build transitional housing for domestic violence survivors.
  • Welcome Center opened to offer walk-in behavioral health services. 
  • COMTREA Health Center - Dunklin opened at Senn-Thomas Middle School to provide dental care and mental health services.
  • COMTREA Health Center - Festus opened at Festus High School to provide Psychiatry  and mental health services.
Students participating in the tails with tales reading program

Read the complete article of COMTREA's history