Spring 2022
Public Policy Institute Insights
Friends –

I hope this message finds you to be happy and healthy. We have had a busy spring with a new initiative aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect and promoting safe and healthy families. I’m pleased to announce that we have completed the first two months of the five-year state Department of Children and Families-supported Stronger Families Milwaukee project in partnership with Neu-Life Community Development and The Parenting Network. We have engaged with and enrolled dozens of families who want to improve their relationships and create more stability at home. We firmly believe in the power of this initiative and are grateful to be part of a community that believes in the potential of each and every family.

In partnership,

Kari Southern
Deputy Director
Community Advocates Public Policy Institute
New Resource for Milwaukee Families Launched at Community Advocates Public Policy Institute
In April, Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Secretary Emilie Amundson visited Community Advocates to help launch the Stronger Families Milwaukee program, a new five-year prevention initiative developed by DCF to reduce child maltreatment and keep more families together in safe, stable, and nurturing homes.
Community Advocates Public Policy Institute is serving as the lead agency for the Stronger Families Milwaukee Consortium, in partnership with Neu-Life Community Development and The Parenting Network.
This pilot project also aligns with the statewide observance of April as Strengthening Families Month to emphasize the potential within every family to build stronger, more nurturing bonds. April had formerly been known as Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.
This family-centered, strengths-based program utilizes a combination of case management services and peer advocates to assist families in finding community supports that fit their needs and help them thrive in-home.
It also signals a new vision of what DCF and local partners can do to support families struggling with parenting and household challenges. Instead of reacting after a child is harmed or is found to be living in a potentially dangerous situation, the Stronger Families Milwaukee program aims to prevent those crises from occurring in the first place.
“Extensive research has shown us the most effective way to prevent child abuse and neglect is to provide upstream support to families so children can grow up in environments that support their wellbeing,” Secretary Amundson said. “Simply put – we need to help families find and build their strengths and devote more resources to support families before abuse or neglect occurs. To do this, we have been working to transform our child welfare system into one that uplifts and empowers families.”
Reality Check: Creativity of Retailers Event Recap
We held our first in-person youth event of the year, Reality Check: Creativity of Retailers, on Tuesday, May 10. Reality Check highlighted potentially hidden items that may indicate a youth is engaging in form of risky behavior involving substance use, while also guiding parents of youth through Small Talks tips to navigate the conversation around drugs and drug use with their youth.

We had the honor of teaming up with Milwaukee Fire Captain Gregory Miller, Fire Captain Robert M. Bland, and Milwaukee Police Sergeant Amy C. Rivera, who worked with us to put this community event together and also spoke to the families about what to do in addressing situations that involve drugs with your child. We had around 20 youth in attendance asking questions and participating in the reality check scavenger hunt.

Special thanks to Milwaukee County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, 53206 Drug-Free Communities Project, City of Milwaukee Tobacco-Free Alliance, SPF-Partnerships for Success, The Parenting Network, MPD Office of Community Outreach and Education, and the Milwaukee Fire Cadets for being part of this community event. Couldn't attend? Watch the panel discussion at your convenience at this link.
Free Mental Health & Wellness Workshops
We are offering no-cost mental health and wellness workshops to those who live or work in Milwaukee County. In June, you’ll find workshops on Verbal De-Escalation Techniques, Trauma and Substance Use, Mental Health First Aid for Adults and Adults Who Work with Youth, Mindful Gratitude, and QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training. Check out our June calendar now and RSVP! And don’t forget to download our Mental Health and Wellness Resource Guide and check out additional resources on our website.
PPI’s 2021 Impact
We had a busy 2021, which we filled with policy advocacy, prevention activities, and promotion of a more equitable community. Take a look at our 2021 impact reports and let us know if you want to join our work!
MCSAP International Overdose Awareness Day Memorial Event
August 31
The Milwaukee County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, which is organized by PPI, will hold a local event observing International Overdose Awareness Day. MCSAP is seeking partners for a resource fair, speakers, and help with organizing the event. If you want to participate, kindly contact Alexandria Kohn at akohn@communityadvocates.net
PPI In the News
Tsunami of Support for Tenants and Landlords
Community Advocates continues to administer the rental assistance program in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties for those who have lost income due to the pandemic or other hardship. Begin the application process here. Property owners are encouraged to seek out alternative forms of assistance before turning to eviction to settle disputes with tenants. The Milwaukee Rental Housing Resource Center is always ready to help.
Community Advocates
2022 Board of Directors
President: Jodi Wire | We Energies
Vice President: Bryan House | Foley & Lardner, LLP
Treasurer: Sandra Samse | Community Volunteer
Secretary: Sharon Jordan | Direct Supply

Board Members
Sheree Dallas Branch | The Salvation Army
Anne DeLeo | Community Volunteer
Natasha Dotson | Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative
Valerie Gabriel | Community Volunteer
Erin Henry | Northwestern Mutual
Gary Ingram | Igary Events
Pamela Klein | Community Volunteer
Jim Liedtke | Community Volunteer
Ashley Pavlic | Medical College of Wisconsin
Alexandra Urrutia-Comas | Advocate Aurora Health
Kate Venne | Brady Corporation
Lisa Kaiser | Community Advocates Public Policy Institute | 414-270-2999  | lkaiser@communityadvocates.net | ppi.communityadvocates.net