The new Born Learning initiative recently received a $350,000 Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin (AHW) grant. The grant will allow Born Learning and its partners to develop efforts to strengthen families and support optimal child health and development in Portage County.
Born Learning will use the 30-month grant for community partners to create a shared screening tool and make referrals to community organizations which will provide home visitation support to families. The home visitor will provide navigation services linking families to resources that help keep children healthy and ready for kindergarten.
The Medical College of Wisconsin, which sponsors the AHW grant, awarded it to the Born Learning partners, including United Way of Portage County, Portage County Health & Human Services, CAP Services, Marshfield Clinic, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and Ministry Health Care.
Lisa Falduto, Born Learning Engagement Specialist for United Way of Portage County, said it has been a pleasure working with the Medical College of Wisconsin’s AHW grant team and the Born Learning partners during the six-month grant-writing period.
“Our local public and private partners have played a huge role in the success of receiving these funds for our community as they are at the table, already engaged in this work within Portage County,” said Falduto. “As we move forward in this systems change effort, it is imperative that we move together, as an entire community, to enrich the lives of all children and families creating a strong and successful economic future for Portage County residents.”
In their application for funding, the six partners acknowledged that they work in isolation within the existing system, reducing their impact on the wellbeing of children in Portage County. The solution they propose is a Social Service Triage System, beginning with a shared screening tool and shared practices, enabling the groups to identify and refer families that would benefit from their programs.
Falduto said this will lead to services including a home visitor/navigator who will provide case management services and connect families to resources for support in the community. Further, a Skyward, Inc. web-based platform will host the screening tool and could potentially be linked to all Portage County school districts, providing another layer of care for children from birth through grade 12.
The partners will also share the systems change project with other Wisconsin counties that could benefit from improved alignment of social services.
With a mission that all children in Portage County will be safe, healthy, and ready for kindergarten, Born Learning was created to provide support for families prenatally, and with children age 5 and younger.
This grant is the second major funding awarded to Born Learning, which also received a $92,633 Race to the Top planning grant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Division of Children and Families in 2015.
More information about Born Learning is available online at www.unitedwaypoco.org/bornlearning or by calling 715-341-6740. This project is funded in part by the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin.