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County Executive Falk Announces New Initiative to Support Families and Young Children in Wisconsin Heights Community

For more information contact:

Sharyn Wisniewski, 267-8823
David Carlson, 242-6424

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 4/19/2001

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today joined with residents and leaders in the Wisconsin Heights School District community to announce a new partnership to support families and young children.

"Any parent will tell you babies don't come with instruction manuals," said Falk. "All too often new parents don't have relatives living nearby to guide them through the early months and years of their child's life. Establishing community support for families—that's what we're here to talk about and celebrate today."

The $50,000 initiative, which was included in County Executive Falk's budget and approved by the Dane County Board, provides several new or expanded resources to the community including:

- Assignment of a half-time nurse to the Wisconsin Heights community by the Dane County Human Services Department's Division of Public Health, to visit with women who are expecting babies or families who have recently welcomed home a new baby. The public health nurse will help women and families assess their individual needs and help link them with resources and supports.

- Funds to hire a full-time "parent-aide" which can follow-up on the nurse's visits and work with families to help them meet their needs in caring for and raising a healthy child.

- Funds to develop an evaluation system to measure the success of the initiative in promoting healthier and stronger children and families.

In addition to visiting pregnant women and parents with young children, the public health nurse will work to identify existing community resources and new resources that need to be developed in order to support families with babies and young children.

The Wisconsin Heights School District community was one of four communities to submit proposals to Dane County to take part in this initiative.

"In reviewing the proposals, we were impressed with the great strides this community has already made in developing a vision and plan for meeting the needs of families," said Falk, in explaining why Wisconsin Heights was chosen to partner on the initiative with Dane County.

"We are excited about the new resources and support Dane County will bring to our community and our efforts to help families," said Karen Jones, Principal at Mazomanie Elementary School, who helped write the Wisconsin Heights proposal.

Wisconsin Heights already has two family resource centers, one at the Black Earth Elementary School and the other at the Mazomanie Elementary School.

"This initiative and partnership is about creating an environment in which children are cherished and valued and where the community makes this possible," said Falk.

Modeled after a program that has been in place for seven years in Marathon County, the initiative is expected to result in stronger and healthier children and families, early detection of childhood illness and disease, and a reduced number of cases of child abuse and neglect.
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