FULTON, Mich. (WOOD) - Three American Indian tribes are getting $4,198,250 from the federal government to help improve the health and well-being of children.
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi and the Gun Lake Tribe of Pottawatomi are getting the monies.
The three tribes accepted an oversized check on Monday from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Many tribal members and friends of the community attended the event at the Pine Creek Reservation in Fulton, along with children from the Pine Creek Reservation's Head Start program.
The grant is from Project LAUNCH, which stands for Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children's Health.
LAUNCH is a unique and highly ambitious pilot program that promotes young child wellness in children from birth through age 8, expectant mothers and families of both. The program uses a five-prong approach: screening and assessing social and emotional development in a range of child-serving settings; integration of behavioral health into primary care settings; mental health consultations in early care and education; enhanced home visiting through increased focus on social and emotional well-being; and family strengthening and parent skills training. The program uses a holistic approach that addresses physical, social, emotional, behavioral and cognitive development of young children to ensure that children are on track developmentally.
The consortium's plan incorporates culturally appropriate curricula, including Positive Indian Parenting, developed by the National Indian Child Welfare Association and Families of Tradition, produced by the White Bison Society.
Besides the above-mentioned project activities, the grant monies will be used to hire highly-qualified young child wellness staff, conduct a thorough environmental scan, develop a strategic plan and form a Young Child Wellness Council, all of which are expected to play key roles in the success of the program. Four new jobs will be created: one Young Child Wellness Expert and three Young Child Wellness Coordinators throughout the three tribes, with the hiring process set to begin in early 2013. In addition, the program incorporates a rigorous evaluation process to ensure both fidelity to interventions and curricula, and the overall success of the project.
The Project LAUNCH initiative is a program available to states, federally recognized tribes, and U.S. territories. The State of Michigan has had a Project LAUNCH award since 2009. The tribal consortium has identified the State of Michigan Project LAUNCH program as a collaborative partner. Of the 565 federally recognized tribes in the country, only five other tribes have received a similar award.