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Community Resource Hub funds will aid local families

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NORTHEASTERN MINNESOTA — The Northland Foundation was recently selected as a new federally funded Community Resource Hub to help pregnant and parenting families with children age 8 and younger navigate Minnesota’s early childhood system. This shifts the burden of finding help from those seeking services to organizations that connect them with the supports they need.

Northland Foundation was selected to partner with the state to provide culturally appropriate assistance to the state’s increasingly diverse families. The Northeastern Minnesota Community Implementation Hub Collaborative is working closely with seven locally based organizations: Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA), Carlton County, Duluth Public Schools ISD 709, Fond du Lac Human Services Division, Invest Early/Itasca Area School Collaborative, Lake Superior School District ISD 381, and McGregor School District ISD 4.

These partners will implement the collaborative in six counties and four tribal nations in northeastern Minnesota. The partners will implement communitydesigned family navigation systems, working within a regional learning community, to maximize resources and tap strengths of each partner while targeting the root causes of inequities impacting families furthest from opportunities.

The Community Resource Hubs will aim to: • Help families narrow down the number of places they need to go to apply for services. • Reduce the amount of travel required for families to access needed services. • Grow community engagement and support community developed solutions. • Provide relationship-based, culturally appropriate assistance by partnering with people in the communities being served.

To support the creation of the hubs, the state will use $6 million from the Preschool Development Grant, a federal grant that works to remove barriers so families with young children can access life-changing early childhood programs. The grant is a partnership among Minnesota’s departments of Health, Education, and Human Services, along with the Children’s Cabinet. Over the next two years, $26.7 million in Preschool Development Grant funds will be used to align early education and child care systems across the state while closing gaps for children facing racial, geographic and economic inequities.

“These organizations are already doing great work connecting families to resources,” said Lisa Bayley, acting assistant commissioner for Children and Family Services at the Department of Human Services. “The funds will help expand their services so they can reach even more families in their region.”

Investing in local hubs allows the state to build on solutions that are already working for communities instead of spending money to develop new initiatives.

“A strength of this collaboration will be the coordination of resources among all the partners to ensure wide impact. I am confident that the relationships and practices that grow out of this program will benefit young children and families in our region well beyond the grant period,” said Northland Foundation’s Vice President and KIDS PLUS Director Lynn Haglin.

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