Madison Community Foundation Partners with Dane County on Allied Drive Early Childhood Initiative
May 24, 2004
Kathleen Woit, Madison Community Foundation, (608) 232-1763
Sharyn Wisniewski, County Executive’s Office (608) 267-8823
Madison Community Foundation President Kathleen Woit, joined by Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and Dane County Supervisor Rob Fyrst, today announced that the Foundation will fund Falk’s proposed “Early Childhood Initiative” (ECI) in the Allied Drive neighborhood.
The Foundation will provide $50,000 per year for the next three years to fund a home visitation program for families with newborns, a core part of the initiative. The ECI is the result of over a year of national research by Falk’s office and the Dane County Department of Human Services to determine the best approaches for strengthening and sustaining healthy children and families.
Foundation President Kathleen Woit said, “The Madison Community Foundation Board of Governors chose to proactively seek a partnership with Dane County that would positively affect children 0-5 and their families. We are supportive of the County’s role in designing a home visiting effort in the Allied Drive neighborhood.”
Allied Drive is a neighborhood off of Verona Road where 7% of all the poor children in Dane County between the ages of birth to 4 live. Eight out of 10 of the children in poverty there live on one, two-block stretch of Allied Drive.
"Without the generosity and three year commitment of the Madison Community Foundation, we could not be doing this critical and innovative work,” said Falk. “I am truly grateful for their support and leadership in investing in our children.”
"The Madison Community Foundation's reputation as a leader in helping to make Dane County better is widely known and greatly respected, “ said Supervisor Fyrst, who represents the Allied Drive area on the Dane county Board. “Together we, Madison Community Foundation and Dane County, will work to increase the opportunities for advancement for Allied community families. We thank the Madison Community Foundation for recognizing that hope is alive and well in Allied Drive."
Madison Community Foundation – page 2
The Home Visitation Program will work with about 50 families that may be giving birth to newborns over the next year. The number is based on the number of children born to mothers in the Allied Drive area over the past year.
The dollars will be used to hire a full time “Family Support Specialist” to work with parents and caregivers to assess child growth and development, identify health and other needs, and provide parent support and education to build on the strengths of the family. A “Lead Resident Partner,” someone who lives in Allied Drive, will also be funded to engage families in the services and opportunities offered by the Early Childhood Initiative.
These positions supplement the work of the Dane County Allied Drive Joining Forces for Families program, begun in 1995, that operates in the neighborhood, bringing together the resources of Dane County, the cities of Madison and Fitchburg, United Way, law enforcement, school districts and residents.
The Allied Drive Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) is designed to increase families’ access to:
· prenatal care
· health and developmental screening and assessment of infants, toddlers and young children;
· parenting education and support;
· immunizations and other appropriate health care; and
· child care and basic human needs assistance.
The staff positions that the Foundation is supporting will begin work in the Allied community this summer. The Family Support Specialist and Lead Resident Partner will immediately begin to share information on the kinds of opportunities available through the ECI and invite Allied residents, who are expecting children or have infants or toddlers in their households, to consider participating in the ECI.
Overcoming barriers to employment for those families in the Early Childhood Initiative is another component of the program.
Dane County will fund an Employment and Training Specialist to work with parents and caretakers to overcome obstacles to employment, including lack of child-care, transportation, literacy, time-management, or having a criminal record and sporadic or no work history.
# # #