Day One program receives significant grant

The Children’s Trust Fund Board of Directors has awarded a direct service grant to Child and Family Services of Northeast Michigan to fund the Day One program. The $175,000 grant will be a 3 1/2-year grant for the 2017-2020 fiscal years.

“CTF is excited about sponsoring your program and the impact it will have on Michigan’s children,” said Scott Addison, grant coordinator for the Children’s Trust Fund. “We look forward to working with you as partners in child abuse prevention over the next three and half years.”

The grant request had the endorsement of the local Child Abuse Network Prevention in Alcona County and other partners of Child and Family Services, such as Partners in Prevention.

“We are pleased to have provided technical assistance for the successful Children’s Trust Fund grant application,” said Carlene Przykucki of Partners In Prevention. “Young children and their parents in Alcona County will benefit from the continuation of Day One home visiting.”

Przykucki said this grant allows Child and Family Services to provide uninterrupted services.

“When families thrive, the entire community is strengthened, and agency collaboration such as ours leverages funding to keep services at work in our area,” she said.

A condition of the grant was that Child and Family Services identify matching funds equivalent to one-half the value of the grant. For at least the first year, the Besser Foundation will provide the matching funds.

The Day One program, modeled after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “Healthy Start” program, is a voluntary program that provides in-home support services to at-risk parents who are willing to receive help in getting their children, ages 0-5, off to a healthy start.

The Day One program is considered a prevention program intended to promote preservation of the family unit. Eligible families can be enrolled in Day One during the prenatal phase or before the infant turns two months old. The program is designed to build a trusting, working relationship with the parent(s).

Families are assessed for family strengths as well as needs. When needs are identified, referrals are made to services that can address those needs.

The Day One team is comprised of a family support worker and a nurse, both of whom assist the family by teaching coping skills, problem solving skills, positive parent-child interaction, as well as healthy childhood growth and development.

These interventions help prevent childhood neglect and abuse, as well as other poor childhood outcomes. When the Day One program was reopened in 2014 in Alcona County, the number of confirmed victims of abuse and/or neglect, ages 0-5, decreased by 61 percent between 2013 and 2014. During that same period, the number of children ages 0-5 removed from their home due to abuse or neglect decreased by 78 percent.

On Sept. 30, 2015, funding for the Day One program through the WK Kellogg Foundation grant dried up. The program limped along for six months on funding from the contributions of individuals, churches and other non-profit organizations that donated to keep Day One alive.

In April this year, Child and Family Services received a $90,000 grant from the Health Endowment Fund for Day One operations through March 31, 2017. The CTF grant, along with the Besser Foundation matching funds, will enable Child and Family Services to continue serving at-risk families in the region.

Whereas funding in the past was limited to Alcona County, Child and Family Services is gradually expanding Day One services into Alpena County. Further funding also would enable expanded services to other neighboring counties.