Boone County receives grant, helps expecting mothers, young children

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BOONE COUNTY – Expecting mothers in Boone County will soon have more services at their disposal.

The county received a grant from the Pritzker Fund to help expecting mothers and children up to age three with preparing their children for success.

“All kids should have an equal opportunity to be ready to learn and have the education to get to a college or career later in life,” community services director Kelly Wallis said.

A local nonprofit, Cradle to Career Alliance, is using the grant with help from county departments to identify families and mothers who need help and provide support to them.

“I think the missing piece there that Cradle to Career steps in and fills is coordinating and pulling together data to focus on removing the education gap,” said collaborative action network manager for Cradle to Career Crystal Kroner.

Boone County Commissioner Janet Thompson said Boone is already ahead of the curve with services for children. In 2012, voters approved a quarter cent sales tax for childhood services that generates about $6.7 million per year.

“The child’s first years are actually critical in how their brain is developing, the trust,” Kroner said. “So many pieces that when the right support is in place really put that child on a completely different trajectory.”

The grant gives the county $25,000 to work with to plan programs, given to only eight counties in the country. While it is set to be a one time deposit, Thompson said she spoke with the fund over the weekend and it assured her they would not forget about Boone County after this year.   

Families or mothers wanting to give feedback on access to services and discuss their own family environment are encouraged to visit the Cradle to Career website and sign up for a "parent interview."