Strong Families Grants of $480,000 Aimed at Improving Family Health Outcomes
The Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation strategically focuses resources to move the needle on key child health indicators, prioritizing investments for young children and families who need extra support to thrive.

Our Strong Families Grants support multi-sector, collaborative, high impact projects that address one or more of our communities’ most significant barriers to family health and self-sufficiency: High Quality Early Care and Education, Affordable Housing, Systems of Social Supports for Families, Transportation, Workforce Development or Youth Mental Health.

We are pleased to announce the following awards to organizations leading efforts to build sustainable systems to improve family health.
Safe Families for Children - Jefferson County Chapter

A grant of $200,000 will support a new chapter of  Safe Families for Children  in Jefferson County. Safe Families is a volunteer-driven nonprofit that surrounds families in crisis with caring, compassionate community members. Working primarily through faith communities, chapters across the country host vulnerable children and create extended family-like supports through a network of devoted volunteers who are motivated by compassion to keep children safe and families intact.
Bridges to Success: Transitions from Head Start to Kindergarten

The transition for children and families from Head Start to Kindergarten will be especially difficult this year due to the gap that COVID-19 caused with curriculum, routines, and school-readiness opportunities.
To ensure a smooth entry into the school environment, Jefferson County Head Start will receive $200,000 to provide family advocates and licensed, trained clinicians to serve as early childhood mental health consultants for children who are transitioning from Head Start to Kindergarten.
School-based Mental Health Services for Elementary Students

To support the increasing mental health needs of young students, the Watertown Unified School District is being awarded $77,400 to offer evidence-based, direct mental health services at Douglas Elementary School through a partnership with Community Care Programs. By providing the opportunity to access mental health counseling in their school environment, barriers for families like transportation and insurance are removed, and more students will be able to access supports.
In addition to these Strong Families Grants, the following grants were made this month to promote child health and learning:

  • Two Born Learning Trail Grants were awarded to Jefferson County Parks and John Hustis Elementary School, Hustisford School District, for the purchase and installation of the trails. Born Learning Trails are an evidence-based series of 10 interactive stations that offer fun, physical learning activities for young children and their families.

  • Three more Emergency Response Grants were made to support organizations adapting operations to serve our community safely in a new environment. This includes grants to the Shared Mission Group in Watertown for school supplies for families in need; Rock Lake Activity Center in Lake Mills for equipment for outdoor classes and play areas; and Lake Mills School District to conduct a district-wide self assessment for social emotional learning. To date, $96,000 has been awarded in response to COVID-19. 
A Look Inside the TalkReadPlay Center
We are excited to share some initial renderings of the TalkReadRead Play Center at the Watertown Public Library. Based on child development brain science, the Center will build the capacity of families to thrive as their child's first teacher by offering dynamic, playful learning spaces that promote the development of social, emotional and literacy skills.
Update on the Family Resource Network

As part of the TalkReadPlay Center, we continue to engage partners in designing a Family Resource Network, a network of agencies working collaboratively to support families in building strengths needed to thrive. A group of partners will convene (likely virtually) this fall to continue planning.
Last Chance to Take the Child Care Survey!
Please share the opportunity on facebook!

More than 650 parents have responded to our child care survey, part of a feasibility study for a early care and education shared services network we are conducting with the Wisconsin Early Education Association. The survey will close on July 31 and we look forward to sharing results this fall. Our goal is to get to 1,000 responses, and we are asking for your help!

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Attention parents of young children! The Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation is exploring ways to make high quality child care more accessible for all families in our community. As part of this process they are seeking information from parents. Please take this 5-minute survey today to provide information on your needs and experiences with child care.

Thank you for helping us to spread the word!

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