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Early Childhood Initiative Grantees

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In early 2024, Milwaukee County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Children, Youth & Family Services (CYFS) partnered with Community Advocates Public Policy Institute to fund agencies to develop early childhood programs and family support initiatives to help children thrive and give families techniques to enhance their child’s development and learning potential.

Community Advocates Public Policy Institute has selected six agencies to receive approximately $800,000 in grants for early childhood and family strengthening projects.

“Our partnering organizations have been carefully selected to provide innovative programs that support parents, babies, and young children in Milwaukee County,” said Kari Southern, Deputy Director of Community Advocates Public Policy Institute. “Early childhood is a critical phase of development, and it’s full of challenges for parents and caregivers. We’re grateful for Milwaukee County’s investment in our families.”

Early Childhood Initiative Programs

family reading a book
  • This project will allow for the expansion of services to develop two levels of classroom interventions. Tier 1 is for the whole classroom and providing wellness-based, psychoeducational services that promote social emotional learning, and Tier 2 will be small group which will teach kids to identify and regulate intense emotions, find focus, and build relationships using interactive and expressive activities. JFS will model these interventions so that each participating teacher will have the tools to continue the interventions.

  • This project will implement a new initiative, Triple P for Baby, designed to prepare first-time parents for a positive transition into parenthood and their baby’s first year. This program will increase communication and relationship skills, increase social support and resource awareness, and increase father involvement, positive parenting practices and parent-child relationship quality.

  • This project will increase Early Education & Care Teachers' understanding of the foundations of neurodevelopment and enhance knowledge of strategies that support social and emotional well-being, along with developing tools to empower families and caregivers to extend work into the home and other environments. The intention is to create a positive ripple effect throughout the Early Education & Care program, fostering a culture of emotional intelligence and resilience that benefits teachers, children, parents and caregivers.

  • This project will create a sustainable model of whole child care and family support that will enhance home/school continuity and thus, the Building Resilience Initiative’s overall long-term positive impacts. This will be done through a new parent education class with Positive Solutions for Families curriculum, as well as increasing parent and staff access to 1:1 mental health counseling.

  • This project will aim to build and sustain a culturally responsive and holistic Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation system that supports the mental, social, and emotional health of infants and young children in the context of their primary relationships. Supporting consultants to build and increase their skills through the Community of Practice and Reflective Supervision to provide support to early childhood providers in child/family, classroom/home, programmatic and community levels.

  • This project will create 15 new child care centers with an anticipated 100 new child care slots within targeted regions of Milwaukee County to address the specific needs of the Latino community. Additionally, it will foster entrepreneurship and economic empowerment within the Latino demographic, thereby contributing to socio-economic advancement and community development. This will be done through a strong mentorship and training cohort model.


Contact Kari Southern at