Brighter Futures Initiative
About the Brighter Futures Initiative Grant
Fifteen counties were permitted to apply for the state grant based on demographics. Kenosha County and eight other counties were chosen because they met specific criteria such as high teenage pregnancy rates, juvenile crime problems, difficulty in graduation rates, and high alcohol and drug use amongst teens.
The grant can be renewed up to three years, but renewal isn't guaranteed. The county has to show that it has reached some predetermined outcome based upon measurable outcomes before funding will be given for an additional year. For example, the County has to show that programs sponsored by the grant will increase adolescent self-sufficiency and aid in developing responsible and health adults. The State of Wisconsin ensures that the County's programs meet the needs of the community before it provides continuation funding.
Who Will Benefit
Several programs will benefit from the grant. One such program is the mentoring program. The grant allows DCFS to hire a new Mentor Coordinator who will oversee establishing caring relationships among adults and youths. The adult is there to provide structure in the child's life, to improve academic performance, and to decrease juvenile crime and gang involvement.
I Am Special
Another program made possible by the grant is the I Am Special Program, a six-week program designed to work with 5-12 year olds who have a family member with drug or alcohol issues. Support with children who are at high risk of being placed outside of the home, or are already outside of the home. This program seeks to reunify the child with the family. It also provides support, parent education, assessments, respite care, or any other support that will strengthen the family.
Teen Parent Home Visitation
The Teen Parent Home Visitation Program works with young mothers, teen parents and pregnant teens. It helps them with pre-natal care and at the appropriate developmental stages of the child.
Elementary School Liaisons
Three positions are being funded for elementary school liaisons. The liaisons will work with children who have been identified as "at risk" and will help re-engage the child and family into the school process. They will also become part of the school team that goes out into the home to determine the barriers that prevent the child from getting into the school. The needs on both sides of I-94 are the same. Risk goes across all categories and all boundaries in the County. programs are there to serve at risk children throughout the County.