Millage Recipient Profile – West Michigan Partnership for Children
West Michigan Partnership for Children (WMPC) is a new recipient of Ready by Five Millage funding as of January 2021. WMPC works in collaboration to strengthen and empower families, increase reunifications, and decrease the time children are in the child welfare system.
WMPC began in 2017, a result of a long-time public-private partnership between the five local foster care agencies, county government, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) that has been cultivated by the Michigan Child Welfare Partnership Council and legislative champions.
The millage funds will be used to introduce a new, innovative, trauma-informed Parent Engagement Program (PEP). The program will engage, involve, and equip parents, with children ages 0-5 entering the foster care system, by building relationships, peer-to-peer mentoring/modeling, encouraging case plan responsibilities, support in the courtroom, prevention from re-entry into the foster care system, and support for timely reunification.
“WMPC is proud to be part of the Ready by Five Provider Network. Family engagement, peer support, and mentoring are known as successful strategies to promote safety, permanency, and wellbeing of children and families in the child welfare system,” said Kylene Dalton-Koons, Director of Care Coordination.
WMPC prioritizes placing children with relatives and seeks nurturing adoptive homes only when return to home is not possible. WMPC ensures children who have been removed from their parents’ custody by the court and placed under the care and supervision of the state due to abuse or neglect are placed in safe, family-like settings with culturally responsive and trauma-informed services.
The new program will create six new roles/employment opportunities for those with lived experience in the child welfare system. “Through the new Parent Engagement Program, parents of children 0-5 will receive increased peer-to-peer mentorship and encouragement from individuals who have been in their shoes.” continued Kylene.
WMPC is accountable to its community and stands in solidarity with the people most affected by the child welfare system. We are partners in this journey to create better futures for children.
“We are grateful for the generosity of Kent County taxpayers and the voter-approved Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage,” said Kylene.