Bader Philanthropies, Inc., one of southeastern Wisconsin’s top 10 foundations, announced today a $100,000 grant awarded to The Parenting Network, Inc., a Milwaukee nonprofit that provides free, voluntary, confidential and easily accessible programming for people in a parenting role to help them provide a safe and nurturing home for their children. The funding, distributed across two years, will allow The Parenting Network to implement evidence-based parenting and family support systems specific to grandparents in order to meet the need in southeastern Wisconsin.
Across the state, nearly 75,000 children are being raised by their grandparents, according to data released by Generations United last year. The Parenting Network, the lead agency for the Southeastern Child Maltreatment Prevention Coalition (SCMPC), is comprised of organizations from Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Waukesha, and Washington counties, all of which are experts in the field of prevention education and are equipped to effectively deliver parent education and support services to strengthen underserved families. According to 2015 data from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, nearly 600 children across The Parenting Network’s four-county service area are living with a grandparent or other non-relative, though many more go unreported. The Parenting Network staff is accredited in the Triple P Positive Parenting Program, an evidence-based system designed to prevent and treat behavioral and emotional problems in children that works across many kinds of family structures. The program provides simple, practical strategies to help build strong, healthy relationships, confidently manage childrens’ behavior, and prevents problems from developing.
The coalition partners who make up the SCMPC are the Milwaukee Center for Children and Youth, Parents Place in Waukesha, 4C Family Center in West Bend, and Starting Point in Mequon.
“One of the family structures we are seeing is a growing number of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, and they are struggling,” said Joyce Felker, executive director of The Parenting Network.
“These grandparents report behavioral concerns unparalleled to what they experienced when raising their own children and, together, face many of the same challenges. We are finding that Triple P meets a specific need for them.”
With the financial support from Bader Philanthropies, The Parenting Network and its coalition are committed to reaching any grandparent in this family dynamic, regardless of logistics, at no cost.
Outreach to grandparents will be conducted in partnership with schools, faith-based organizations, libraries and recreation departments throughout the coalition’s geographical footprint.
Services offered through The Parenting Network include support groups, workshops, one-on-one coaching and a 24-hour parent helpline at 414-671-0566. Felker said those will be expanded to include grandparent events, such as a celebration of Grandparents Day, which falls in September each year.
“There is no wrong way for a grandparent to come through for our services,” Felker said. “Our hope is that we have reported improvements in their overall parenting practices and an improved relationship with their grandchildren.”
The Parenting Network has a goal to nearly quadruple the number of grandparents currently served, from 15 to 55, within six months. By the end of the first year of implementation, that goal
is 100 parenting grandparents served through a minimum of 20 outreach events. With outreach infrastructure expanded throughout year one, the expectation is to continue to grow in year two with the remaining funding.
“Grandparents serve such a vital role in the lives of children, and in the increasingly common circumstance where they become the primary caretaker, they need and deserve the same support given to those in a more traditional parenting role,” said Daniel J. Bader, president and CEO of Bader Philanthropies. “The Parenting Network’s leadership in coordinating a multi-county effort is strengthening family bonds throughout southeastern Wisconsin.”