TotalChild makes headlines

November 12, 2012

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TotalChild makes headlines Cedar Rapids project helps kids until they’re grown
TotaChild aims to help families succeed

In human services, they’re “silos:” discrete agencies or programs that focus on a single issue troubling a family.

“Once that issue is addressed and they’re discharged, we may not see them unless it’s a crisis,” said Four Oaks spokeswoman Lisa Pritchard. “The way the contracts are set up with the state, the child has issues, we treat the kid, and we’re finished.”

Until the next crisis — a rent increase, car trouble, medical emergency, school trouble. The file is reopened; counselors or social workers scramble to renew connections with the family.

But what if the connection was kept until the child is grown? That’s the idea behind TotalChild, the program launched last year by Cedar Rapids-based non-profit Four Oaks. Read more...

Cedar Rapids program works to transform neighborhood
Project helps families locked out of homeownership

Families looking for affordable homes may find common cause with southeast Cedar Rapids’ sometimes-troubled Wellington Heights neighborhood through Four Oaks’ TotalChild program.

“I’m glad somebody got this idea and did this,” said Sue Prime. “It’ll be a nice place to live.”

Prime, 55, was sitting on the front porch of her newly renovated home one recent afternoon, enjoying the late-autumn warmth and keeping an eye on the controlled chaos next door. A crew of workers was busy turning 520 16th St. SE from a neglected, improvised duplex to a single-family home – by Thanksgiving, if possible. Read more...

A total approach
By The Gazette Editorial Board

Four Oaks’ TotalChild program just might be the type of bold, broad community initiative we need to put local at-risk kids on the path to a successful future and help restore neighborhoods.

Most children served by area non-profits are dealing with multiple issues. By bringing together a coalition of dozens of local social service programs, TotalChild aims to target client families’ basic needs and efficiently address myriad factors — from education to mental health, family relationships, to decent, stable and affordable housing — that can interfere with a child’s development. Read more...