Project Brief


Nationwide, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has funded 18 Project LAUNCH sites to pioneer new ways to promote young child wellness.  LAUNCH stands for Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children's Health.  Wisconsin's Project LAUNCH will provide primary prevention services in eight central city zip codes in Milwaukee to promote health for infants and children from birth to age 8 years.  In partnership with a State Child Wellness Expert, the local program will employ a local Child Wellness Coordinator and a mental health consultant and provide services to assure young children and their families access an array of programs that foster wellness in all areas of the life of a young child.  Services offered in the eight target zip codes (53204, 53205, 53206, 53208, 53210, 53212, 53218, and 53233) will consist of home visitation services that target pregnant women and mothers of small children, programs to support parenting and strengthen families, developmental assessments in a wide range of child-serving agencies to promote healthy social-emotional development, and integration of behavioral health into primary care.


  • To foster the healthy development of all young children birth through age 8 to reach physical, social, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive milestones - preparing them to thrive in school and beyond


  • Improve coordination and collaboration across child-serving systems
  • Improve access to higher quality care and evidence-based programs for young children/families
  • Raise awareness and increase knowledge about young child wellness through public education and workforce development


Population Served

Milwaukee children ages 0-8 and their families



October 2009-September 2014


Planned Activities

  • Create state and local young child wellness councils
  • Hire dedicated state and local young child wellness experts
  • Increase support of Milwaukee home visiting programs such as Nurse-Family Partnership and Empowering Families of Milwaukee
  • Support community organizations offering Nurturing Parenting programs and Play and Learn groups
  • Increase developmental assessments of children in Milwaukee
  • Provide Child/Infant Mental Health consultations


Partner Organizations

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Ann Altman Stueck, MSN, RN, Infant and Child Health Nurse Consultant

Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Kim Eithun Harshner, Program and Policy Analyst

City of Milwaukee Health Department

Julie Driscoll, MSW, Program Manager, Empowering Families of Milwaukee

Mary Jo Gerlach, RN, Nursing Supervisor

Nurse Family Partnership


Evaluation Partner

Center for Urban Population Health

Jessica Rice, MPH, Manager, Design, Analysis, & Evaluation Team


Funding Source

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)