Three Children and Family Service Initiatives Named Among Nation's Most Innovative Government Programs

May 18, 2009
Three Children and Family Service Initiatives Named Among Nation's Most Innovative Government Programs

Three Finalists Compete for Annie E. Casey Award

Cambridge, Mass. – The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University today announced the finalists for the 2009 Annie E. Casey Innovations Award in Children and Family System Reform. Selected by social services policy experts and practitioners from Harvard and institutions around the country, these three government initiatives demonstrate a commitment to public sector reforms that benefit disadvantaged children and families.

Child Welfare Reform of Maine; Neighborhood Place of Louisville, Kentucky; and Wraparound Milwaukee of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin were selected as finalists. On May 27, representatives from each program will present before the National Selection Committee. Held at Harvard Kennedy School, the event is free and open to the public. Presentations will also be available and on the Ash Center YouTube Channel. The winner of the 2009 Annie E. Casey Innovations Award will be announced in September.

”These three programs demonstrate compelling evidence that effective and creative government initiatives can make a difference in improving the futures for children in this country,” said Douglas W. Nelson, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Each of the finalists represents the kind of innovation, commitment, and perseverance necessary to narrow the gap in opportunities and outcomes between America’s more advantaged kids and its most disadvantaged population.”

Foster families play an important part in Maine’s Child Welfare Reform program, and participate in frequent sessions to ensure the safety and permanency of foster children. As a result, children are less dependent on state care services, and are more likely to enjoy the safety and security of a supported family environment.

Louisville, Kentucky’s Neighborhood Place consolidates a broad group of social services for citizens. By linking health, education, employment, and human services agencies together into a one-stop network, the program simplifies access for families, cuts overhead costs, and improves efficiencies.

Unlike traditional care models for children with mental health needs, Wraparound Milwaukee provides each child with one care plan regardless of how many services the child uses. Care planning teams are made up of family members and mental health professionals who take an active role in the all care decisions.

The Annie E. Casey Innovations Award in Family System Reform was established in 2006 through a partnership between the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation. This year’s Annie E. Casey Award winner will be honored along with recipients of the Innovations in American Government Awards in the fall. Since its inception in 1985, the Innovations in American Government Awards has recognized over 400 government initiatives that forward innovative practices that benefit citizens.

“Families around the country are struggling to get the services and assistance they need, particularly to help weather the economic storm,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard Kennedy School. “By highlighting efficient and effective social service delivery models for our youth and their families, from foster care placements to emotional health supports, we hope to encourage jurisdictions across the country to adopt similar practices.”

For more information, please contact:
Kate Hoagland
Ash Center

About the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private charitable organization, whose primary mission is to foster public policies, human-service reforms, and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of today’s vulnerable children and families. For more information, visit

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem-solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. The Ford Foundation is a founding donor of the Center.