Leslie McAllister
Northside Early Childhood Zone

As has been mentioned in previous articles in the Northside News, home visiting is at the core of the Northside Early Childhood Zone (NECZ) services. Trained home visitors provide support for expectant parents and parents of infants and toddlers in their homes or wherever they feel the most comfortable. Pregnant and parenting families that choose to participate in home visiting may receive information on child development, health and well-being, as well as support for parents themselves. We are fortunate to have four high-quality home visiting programs working together on the Northside: Madison Dane County Public Health Nurse Family Partnership, RISE Early Childhood Initiative and Welcome Baby & Beyond Programs and Reach Dane Early Head Start Program.

At the start of the NECZ, we limited eligibility to pregnant moms and parents with babies born in 2017 that live in the Black Hawk Middle School service area. In October, we changed NECZ eligibility for families that live in the Black Hawk service area to reflect the eligibility those four home visiting programs use for services they offer in other Madison and Dane County locations. This means we’re able to provide home visiting services through the NECZ for pregnant women and families with children under age 5, with a primary focus on starting services during pregnancy and with families with toddlers age 3 and under.

Since the last Northside News edition, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of families being referred to the NECZ through a variety of community partners, which is very exciting for the team on the ground. We also know parents who find our services helpful are often the best promoters of home visiting and we’re already seeing an increased number of those self-referrals here at the NECZ. We are really excited about our growing caseloads and being able to support more Northside parents and their children.

We believe that, with the expansion of eligibility to serve families with toddlers, we will be able to develop a more comprehensive, neighborhood-based system of care for families with very young children on the Northside. We are still taking referrals, so please give us a call at 467-3004 if you have questions or want to learn more about the services available at the NECZ. You are also welcome to stop by the office on Dryden Drive and meet with me or one of the NECZ team.