With more than thirty years of experience in our community, we’ve had time to learn that the synergy of collective action is more powerful than individual organizational efforts. Knowing this, we make a point of partnering with other organizations, agencies, foundations, government and parents to push for the best results possible. Since the challenges we face vary, we seek partnerships that bring uniquely innovative solutions for all kinds of families. Our success depends on strong community investment and collaboration from the entire community.
Although our partnerships vary from program to program and also across time periods, Family Futures partners with various agencies, funders, and initiatives that align with our mission. These are some of the partners and initiatives that, together, support families in our community.
Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative
Amway One by One Campaign for Children
Purpose: Baby Scholars was especially designed with caring parents and their young children in mind. Baby Scholars has three components: home coaching for parents, workshops for parents and toddlers, and “first school” for preschoolers. Connections is provided to children in Baby Scholar’s at their early learning NBHD collaborative site.
Partnership: Our Executive Director serves on the Advisory Council Our Contribution: Family Futures is the lead organization to develop and implement developmental and social-emotional screening through Connections.
Catholic Charities West Michigan
Partnership: Family Futures coordinates Healthy Families services in Kent County that are provided in conjunction with Arbor Circle and Catholic Charities West Michigan. Our Contribution: We provide organizational, financial and leadership support for Kent County.
Community Literacy Initiative
Purpose: Formerly known as Greater Grand Rapids Reads, the Community Literacy Initiative is a collaborative initiative and literacy coalition that seeks to empower community leaders, parents and residents to improve literacy for all ages.Partnership: Our Executive Director serves on the Advisory Council.
Head Start for Kent County
Purpose: Head Start for Kent County is a non-profit agency that provides holistic, family-centered services to low-income families in Kent County, Michigan. Founded in 1991 under the name Michigan Family Resources, the agency receives federal funds to manage both Head Start and Early Head Start programs. These early childhood programs support the well-being and development of children from birth to age five by focusing on education, nutrition, medical and dental care, parent involvement and social services.Partnership: We work together to support families by sharing recruitment flyers and brochures for each other’s programs and publishing information about Head Start registration in our Connection’s seasonal newsletters.
Heart of West Michigan United Way
Purpose: To impact lives in West Michigan by mobilizing the caring power of volunteers, donors, agencies, and community partners. Partnership: Several of the services and programs provided by Family Futures are supported through the HWMUW, especially those that seek an outcome related to early childhood, health, learning and knowledge.
Our Contribution: Programs such as Connections, Healthy Families, and RAVE (Resources Against Violent Encounters), and Mandated Reporter Trainings use research-based models and innovations to support families and children to thrive.
Kent County Health Department
Kent County Prevention Initiative
Purpose: The Wege Foundation’s Mission is the Five Pillars, or areas of interest: education, environment, arts and culture, health care and human services.Partnership: Our Connections program has received a Wege grant for several years.
Our Contribution: With funds for the general support of Connections, we’ve been able to increase participation, improve program infrastructure and begin to offer an online participation option to families.
YWCA West Central Michigan
Purpose: The YWCA West Central Michigan is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and girls, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
Partnership: YWCA staff serves on our teen dating violence prevention coalition and we work together to manage Young Leaders Against Violence (YLAV).
Connections partners with pediatricians and healthcare providers to ensure developmental screening is a part of a child’s overall healthcare. The following medical partners work with Connections:
Cherry Street Health Services
Purpose: Cherry Street Health Services is a not-for-profit organization with 11 health centers in the Grand Rapids area offering comprehensive health services to low-income children and families. Established in 1988, Cherry Street has grown quickly, adding a new program site every one to two years to serve more in the community and to expand available services.Partnership: Healthy Start workers refer families to Cherry Street Health Services to get better health and medical outcomes for mothers and young children.
Our Contribution: After children leave the Cherry Street’s Maternal Support Services program at age one, they are often referred to Connections for additional support.
D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s
Purpose: D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s is a 124-year-old agency that is local, non-profit and accredited, working in partnership with others in Kent County for the good of all children. They provide comprehensive services to children and families, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, foster care, adoption, and family support, as well as, residential treatment and emergency shelter care at St. John’s Campus.Partnership: We partner with D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s to provide Connections to children in foster care and in their early childhood attachment program.
Our Contribution: In 2014, Family Futures received a grant from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation to pilot this partnership.
Great Start Collaborative
Purpose: Part of a network of 55 Great Start Collaboratives working in every Michigan county, the Great Start Collaborative of Kent County is a group of local professionals and parents who are working with First Steps and others in the community to help ensure all children have a great start in life.Partnership: Our Executive Director is a member of this collaborative and attends regularly. We also partner with Welcome Home Baby, an initiative of the collaborative.
Our Contribution: When appropriate and desired, we provide phone call support and home visits to families referred to Connections or Healthy Families.
Healthy Kent 2020
Purpose: Healthy Kent 2020 is modeled after the nation’s Healthy People 2020 initiative. Local data in the Community Health Indicators Report uses Healthy People objectives as a target for the health goals of Kent County Michigan.Partnership: Several staff members participate as members of the various committees and workgroups.
Kent County Family and Children’s Coordinating Council
Purpose: Formed in 1991, its mission is to provide leadership to enhance the well-being of children, youth and families in Kent County so they may achieve their greatest potential. It is comprised of the directors of county and state departments that provide services to families, as well as representation from education, business, agencies, funders, consumers and advocates.Partnership: Our executive director has been a member of Kent County’s coordinating council since it’s inception, and has served on various committees.
Kent County Infant Health Implementation Team
Purpose: Variable Concepts provides solutions for financial planning and employee benefits. They counsel employees on program options and provide ongoing service and support. They also make sure up to date programs are used with the goal of increasing benefits and not costs.
Partnership: As a comprehensive sponsor at the Protector of Children level, Metro Health fully supports the entire spectrum of Family Futures programming. This key support makes our everyday work possible and strengthens families throughout the year.
Welcome Home Baby
Purpose: A program of Kent County’s First Steps, Welcome Home Baby understands that parents are their child’s first and most influential teachers.Welcome Home Baby helps them provide their child with a strong start in life. It is a gateway for families of newborns to access a wide variety of early childhood services and information.Partnership: Family Futures’ Connections and Healthy Start programs both receive referrals from Welcome Home Baby visits. Currently, Welcome Home Baby is the largest source of referrals to Connections.
Our Contribution: We provide crucial follow up to Welcome Home Baby visits with phone call support and home visits to families referred to Connections or Healthy Start.