On July 1, the Department of Health Services (DHS) will award $1.2 million in grants to 15 local county Birth to 3 Programs across the state that will pilot new and innovative efforts to improve outcomes for participating children. These grants will allow local areas to explore new and better ways to address the unique needs of children with developmental delays and disabilities. Some will aim to increase coordination between different partners trying to help the children. Some will offer new trainings for staff and families. Some will try out new tools to help identify children’s issues early and trigger action. Some programs are trying combinations of these approaches. All are based on a common understanding: early interventions can change the trajectory of a child’s future.

“Positive social and emotional development in infants and toddlers is the foundation for good mental health and well-being throughout life,” said Medicaid Director Jim Jones. “This collaboration between our state and local programs is expected to produce findings that can be used to shape the future design of early intervention programs across Wisconsin. The heightened attention in these pilots on infants and toddlers that have experienced abuse and neglect focuses our efforts on our state’s most vulnerable children.”

The Birth to 3 Program is an early intervention program provided by counties to support children under the age of three who have developmental delays or disabilities. More than 30 local programs submitted applications for this competitive opportunity. Some counties applied individually, while others worked together as consortia to submit their applications.

Applications for these grants had to:

  • Target the social and emotional needs and development of children in the Birth to 3 program
  • Design a program that would, at a minimum, help children that enrolled in Birth to 3 because of incidents of abuse, neglect, or exploitation
  • Include efforts that are meant to benefit overall family health and help families better care for their child
  • Aim to reduce future incidents that would cause the child to reenter the child welfare system

Awardees will report back to DHS on measures developed specifically for their projects. DHS will use the results to inform which innovations Wisconsin might want to implement statewide.

The initiatives supported by these grants will run through the end of the 2021. Counties or groups of counties receiving awards are: