Innovative County Program Links Parents with Jobs, Kids with Health Care
(Madison)….Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk announced today the county will expand a highly successful program that helps families in challenged neighborhoods to Sun Prairie and Madison’s southwest side.
In addition to continuing its work along Allied Drive, Dane County’s Early Childhood Initiative will extend services to families in the South Bird Street/Park Circle neighborhood in Sun Prairie and the Hammersley and Russett Roads area on Madison’s southwest side.
Falk created the Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) four years ago to meet the increasing needs of vulnerable parents and kids in the Allied Drive neighborhood. Since then, the ECI on Allied has connected more than 80 parents with jobs and ensured their newborns receive health care.
“We’re looking forward to building upon the wonderful successes we’ve seen on Allied and getting more moms and dads to work and their little ones the kind of start they deserve in life,” Falk said. “One by one we’re helping these families help themselves and steering them down a better path.”
The new neighborhoods were selected after a comprehensive review was done to determine where expansion of the Early Childhood Initiative would meet the greatest need and be most effective.
That review determined there’s a high concentration of low-income families with young children both in the Hammersley Road neighborhood and in Sun Prairie. It also showed the ECI would compliment and work collaboratively with additional human service efforts already underway or expanding into those areas.
“The needs are many and the work to be done is great, but as we’ve seen on Allied the results can be so rewarding,” Falk said. “Many of these families need just that one break, that one chance for a better life and the Early Childhood Initiative offers them that opportunity.”
In addition to $250,000 in new county funding for 2008, the Early Childhood Initiative expansion is funded through $500,000 over two years Governor Doyle included in the state budget.
“Thanks to the efforts of the Governor and our state legislators, we’ll be able to get more people to work and have healthier and happier families in these neighborhoods,” Falk said.