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Pandemic Recovery Grant Awards and Program Highlights

Transforming the lives of Wisconsin’s children and families: Birth to 3 Programs share success stories from COVID relief grant initiatives

Following extensive community engagement and input from stakeholders and partners, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is proud to distribute over $1.6 million in supplemental American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support 23 child and family-focused pandemic recovery initiatives for local Birth to 3 Program participants and their families.

These initiatives provide a wide range of services, including home-based services, family support, and therapy services, to help children with disabilities and their families overcome challenges related to the pandemic.

Grant initiative overview

Grant funding

President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law on March 11, 2021, which includes $250 million for programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Office of Special Education Programs. This resulted in over $3 million in supplemental ARPA funds for the Wisconsin Birth to 3 Program, an early intervention program provided by counties to support children under the age of three who have developmental delays or disabilities. 

Approximately $1.6 million of Wisconsin’s supplemental ARPA funds allowed DHS to support county Birth to 3 Programs in championing projects focused on helping children with disabilities and their families to overcome challenges related to the pandemic, including decreased access to resources and increased stress levels. 

Grant recipients

The following counties have been awarded funding: 

  • Barron: $59,390
  • Chippewa: $61,949
  • Dane: $55,000
  • Door: $102,479
  • Dunn: $52,500
  • Eau Claire: $40,320
  • Jackson: $200,000
  • Jefferson: $127,612
  • Kenosha: $40,308
  • Kewaunee: $69,852
  • La Crosse: $35,102
  • Lincoln Langlade and Marathon: $17,047
  • Manitowoc: $8,830
  • Milwaukee: $200,000
  • Outagamie Winnebago and Calumet: $22,656
  • Pepin and Buffalo: $9,500
  • Racine: $30,122
  • Sawyer: $10,401
  • Trempealeau: $107,840
  • Vernon: $43,737
  • Washington: $70,073
  • Waupaca: $200,000
  • Waushara: $32,071

Highlights and success stories

  • Chippewa County Birth to 3 Program provided 69 Birth to 3 Program families with memberships to the Children's Museum in Eau Claire and Play Space in Chippewa Falls, with 43 families receiving a combination of transportation and grocery/baby essential supports.
  • Dunn County Birth to 3 Program's playgroup, featuring guests such as an infant massage specialist and children's yoga instructor, has served 68 families in person and connected 147 families through social media.
  • Jackson County Birth to 3 Program is facilitating Circle of Security Informed Certification with its community partners, which will provide families with additional tools for coping with life challenges.
  • Kewaunee County Birth to 3 Program's additional in-home support has improved self-confidence in parenting and relationship building for families.
  • La Crosse County Birth to 3 Program's staff are developing a series of teaching pieces on topics like "How to talk with someone who is using an interpreter" and "How to support a child who becomes easily overwhelmed."
  • Milwaukee County Birth to 3 Program collaborated with the Parenting Network and Vision Forward, resulting in increased attendance for parenting classes and increased outreach to underrepresented communities.
  • Trempealeau County Birth to 3 Program served 10 families and trained 30 service providers in Circles of Security, providing focused discussion on pandemic impacts and strategies for addressing issues.
  • Vernon County Birth to 3 Program's new playgroup has seen instant interest, averaging 11 families per session, compared to the typical 3-4 families at other start-up groups.
  • Waushara County Birth to 3 Program's community gatherings have fostered connections, with participants expressing that these events are the highlight of their week.

Looking forward

DHS remains committed to supporting the well-being of children and families in Wisconsin during the pandemic recovery. We are eager to see the ongoing positive impact of these initiatives in local communities.

Last revised May 9, 2023