YES Timeline

2005: Children’s Mental Health Group

  1. Collaborative community group convened by Rock County Human Services to discuss possibility of pursuing Federal Systems of Care grant addressing children’s mental health. The group submitted a grant May 2005
  2. Identified needs and gaps in mental health services, particularly in infant mental health.
  3. Synergy of group led to commitment to meet monthly even though grant was not funded.
  4. Subgroups formed to identify mental health services for two different age groups, Birth to Five and School-Age children. Drafted Resource Wheels showing services available in community depending on level of child’s need.
  5. Invited various presenters from local and state organizations to identify state resources and provide guidance.

2006: Children’s Mental Health Group

  1. Resource wheels finalized.
  2. Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin, with support from Rock County group members, submitted Collaboration Planning Grant to the Wisconsin Partnership Program through University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public health and Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The purpose was to increase capacity of mental health services for children ages birth to 5. The Grant was not funded, due to lack of data on local needs of children and lack of system integration.
  3. Discussed need for local data, methods of collection, and models available from other sources; i.e. United Way of Dane County’s effort with Lafollette School. Grant reviewers in two previous proposals identified lack of local data as significant need.
  4. Met with Home Visiting Network to discuss children’s mental health needs and possible data collection efforts. Home Visitors represent twelve agencies that deliver in-home services to young children. Requested network providers complete mental health survey for first six months of year.
  5. Developed a survey for Home Visiting Network.
  6. Reviewed Community Needs Assessment for Rock County from United Way, addressing comprehensive needs of people of all ages.
  7. Consultation with University of Wisconsin Center for Cultural Diversity in Health Care Executive Director, who reviewed the group’s work and provided guidance. Strong recommendation to increase needs assessment data.
  8. October-December: Strategic planning to identify Vision and Mission Statement and group name.
  9. Home Visiting Network sponsored a children’s mental health summit for family service providers. Activities included presentation by Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health and scenario/resource simulation.

2007: Changed name to YES in Rock County

  1. January-March: Refined Mission, Vision, Core Values/Goals, Objectives and Action Plan. Prioritized goals, objectives, action plan items.
  2. January-June: Home Visitors network tracked mental health needs of children through survey.
  3. April-June: Established new name YES in Rock County. Action Plan Committees begin meeting (Data collection; Marketing Awareness)
  4. As a result of state level recognition of YES’ work, the Wisconsin Alliance for Infant mental Health provided training and mental health consultation to child care providers in Rock County. This project was funded by The Children’s Trust Fund.
  5. Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin submitted a collaboration Planning Grant to the Wisconsin Partnership Program through University of Wisconsin School of medicine and Public Health and Blue Cross/ Blue Shield to Increase capacity to mental health services for children birth to 5. Reviewers cited sustainability concern.
  6. Participated in Rock County Coalition Summit, organized by United Way Rock County, a participant member of YES. Goal was to determine needs assessment across age groups and provided network connections. Mental health needs of all ages and gaps in services were common reports.
  7. Connected with University of Wisconsin Institute for Clinical and Translational Research to partner with experts on survey data and needs assessment tools. Met with a professor in social science to provide technical assistance.

2008: YES in Rock County

1)      Provided letters of support for:

  • School District of Janesville’s application for the Garret Lee Smith mini-grant to prevent youth suicide. School District was awarded the grant in March.
  • School District of Janesville application for Integration of school and Mental Health Systems Federal Grant

2)      Examined Home Visiting Network survey results and reviewed with Network representatives, to determine improvement strategies, utility of information, and training opportunities for family service providers.

3)      Began to develop plan for use of standardized developmental instrument in universal screening of –K students.

4)      Head Start evaluated the 2007 survey results and decided to repeat the data collection for January-June 2008.

5)      Awareness committee plans panel discussion on children’s mental health for local cable access and school district stations.

6)      Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin submitted a Collaboration Planning Grant to the Wisconsin Partnership Program through University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and Blue Cross/Blue Shield to increase capacity to mental health services for children birth to 5.

7)      Presentation at the Supporting Families Together Conference- The Promise and Potential of Cross Systems Work.

YES supports school district’s grant proposals on suicide prevention and integration of school and mental health systems.

YES begins plan for universal screening of young children with Ages and Stages Questionnaire-Social Emotional.


YES contributes to ongoing collaboration with Wisconsin Child Care Collaborating Partners.  Goal is to inform WGGGP’s professional development work plan at the local level.  The regional partners recognize overwhelming social emotional needs of young children and their parents and pressures on teachers/providers in addressing needs through prevention and remediation. Work plan is to train more trainers in the Pyramid Model from Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations of Early Learning.  Community events include “Super Saturday” training on social emotional needs in Janesville in August.

YES presents a half-day community summit to draw attention to children’s mental health during May, Mental Health Month.  Speakers provide information about a variety of issues across the developmental range including a keynote by Elizabeth Hudson, Trauma Services Coordinator at WI. Dept. of Health Services.  Attendees include mental health providers, early interventionists, educators and Human Services staff. Evening sessions provide information for parents and child care professionals.

YES continues discussion about impact of economic downturn on children’s lives.  YES members on city and country committees bring up the issue in business and government meetings to keep it in the public eye.

YES presents at the Supporting Families Together conference and Rock County Foster Family Advisory Board.

YES sends a team to the Trauma Informed Care Champion Team training sponsored by Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services within WI. Department of Health Services.  The goal is to bring trauma-informed care into the community to promote cultural change that can reduce impact of trauma.

YES presents experiences of promoting social emotional development at the local and state level at Wisconsin Psychological Association annual meeting


YES team that attended Trauma Informed Care training develops a survey for clinics/agencies to assess procedures/policies that could reduce or intensify impact of trauma on consumers.

Committee continues work on expanding screening of young children with Ages and Stages-Social Emotional Questionnaire.  Home Visiting Network agencies agree to gather data from their consumers.  YES explores how state data system SPHERE could handle the data from multiple sources and maintain confidentiality. Information about children whose ratings indicate “at risk” can inform decisions about how to allocate resources in agencies.  YES works to address the challenge that clinical services are inadequate to meet needs of all children with social emotional difficulties.

YES presents 2nd annual summit Children Who Struggle.  Elizabeth Hudson, Trauma Informed Care Coordinator at Dept. of Health Services repeats as keynote speaker.  Focus of workshops includes sensory integration interventions, trauma informed care in the classroom, clinic and home, and support for caregivers.

Two YES members complete year long Infant, Early Childhood and Family Mental Health Capstone Certificate Program sponsored by UW Dept of Psychiatry and Wisconsin Alliance on Infant Mental Health.


YES focuses on Strategic Plan and Mission, which needs revision in view of prior learning about community needs.  YES clarifies mission by developing committees directed to particular goals

Public Awareness-Increase knowledge in community on how to foster healthy social-emotional development in youth

Committee explores ways to use local and state resources to expand community awareness of children’s mental health.  Committee looks at ways to embed awareness activities during May, Children’s Mental Health Month, in 4K classrooms, day care settings and school districts.

Family Support-Promote collaboration among parents, agencies and systems that touch the life of the child

Committee focuses on ways to increase consumer and parent voice by broadening membership in YES or on committees.  Committee began development of survey to gather information about what family/child needs are unmet.  Possibility of focus groups, or existing parent groups as sources was explored.

Data-Integrate information about social-emotional developmental data into existing services

Committee broadened data sources to include information about youth using special education services (Emotional Behavioral Category) and high risk behaviors (Youth Risk Behavioral Survey).  Committee continued collection and examination of data on children under 5 from Ages and Stages Questionnaire-Social Emotional from Head Start, 4K classrooms in Janesville and Home Visiting Network.  Committee collaborated with Beloit College Psychology Department on ways psychology students might get involved in volunteer activities benefiting children screened as at risk.

Clinical Mental Health Services-Assure accessible resources appropriate to the identified social-emotional needs of youth and their families.

Committee identifies clinical resources and gaps in the county.  They attempt to develop a more comprehensive list of community services and their specialties, with the goal of including the list on the YES website for community access.  Committee begins focus on youth suicide and its impact on community.

Education and Training

Committee develops 3rd annual Children Who Struggle Summit with keynote on mindfulness.  Committee works to foster a closer collaboration with Beloit College Psychology Department, one of the summit sponsors. The college also offered programs which could inform the community, such as one with nationally known speaker on child sexual abuse.


Public Awareness

YES participates in county-wide summit bringing together coalitions focused on a variety of community needs, such as homelessness, substance abuse, literacy and others.  Groups develop networking, learn about community building process and work on sharing ideas on fund raising, awareness/advocacy and evaluation.  Summit is sponsored by United Way.

YES develops a resource sheet for military families to be posted at day cares, schools and other settings to coincide with April as Month of the Military Child.

YES member participates on state level Mental Health Awareness Committee though Department of Children and Families to develop a Toolkit for communities.

YES uses toolkit to increase awareness during Children’s Mental Health Month in May.  Activities included hosting a table at the Janesville library with developmental information about social-emotional needs of children and youth.  YES provided a list of books that address emotional topics in youth.

Parent café model from Strengthening Families: Building Protective Factors initiative is offered through Exchange Family Resource Center on a monthly basis.  Fathers through the Fatherhood Initiative are trained for facilitate discussion at tables where parents share concerns and ideas with each other.  The model is then imported to Head Start where it has good success.


Committee collects information on 1800 screens with ASQ-SE that describe the needs of a cross section of children in the county.  Three YES members present data and its implications for resource allocation at the annual meeting of Wisconsin Alliance on Infant Mental Health.

Family Support

Committee develops survey to distribute at agencies serving children and youth, since use of focus groups was unworkable.  Survey focuses on sources of need and awareness of resources:  it was available in Spanish.

Clinical Mental Health Services

Committee identifies limited Hispanic and African American providers of clinical services.  Committee considers ways to encourage agencies to increase access.  Attempts at resource directory continue.

YES is awarded a mini-grant from Mental Health America to support a Suicide Awareness Walk, bringing the topic into the public eye.  Over 375 people participate in the event, including hospital staff, First Responders, Sheriff’s Department, National Association on Mental Illness and community members affected by suicide.

Education and Training

YES sponsors 4th annual Children Who Struggle summit, focused on trauma informed care in agencies and across the community.  Workshops include increasing knowledge of diverse needs of Latino and LGBT youth.

YES participates in training on how information from screening with ASQ-SE can help agencies work with parents to immediately address children’s needs, without using more intensive clinical services.  Agency staff is trained in the Pyramid Model from Center on Social Emotional Foundations of Early Learning which focuses on universal support, prevention and early intervention.


Family Support

Surveys on family needs are distributed by agencies serving a number of family needs. Survey contains data points of number in household, age of respondent, region in country, race, age of children, and severity of needs.  Survey data are analyzed by Beloit College Psychology Department student, supervised by his advisor.

Public Awareness

Member of Rock Co. Board of Supervisors attends many YES meetings to provide information about governmental activities and learn about community concerns, including transportation and safety.  He participates in discussions of concerns about violence in neighborhoods and ways to bring the discussion to the communities where families are concerned.

Clinical Mental Health Services

Family concerns about access to mental health care are addressed by gathering more information about placement of services and availability of care for very young children. Efforts at getting more clarity on types of services in each clinic and posting them on YES web page are started.

Education and Training

5th Annual Children Who Struggle Summit is held in collaboration with School District of Janesville, which co-sponsored the event with other community partners.  The District had a focus of increasing trauma awareness in educators.  Christine Dunn, Ph.D.  Faculty at U. of WI. Milwaukee is keynote speaker.  Over 190 people participate.

2nd Annual Suicide Awareness Walk draws almost 80 participants; it focuses on increasing understanding of the impact of suicide on the community.  Funds from the walk may be used to start support groups of suicide survivors.

YES participates in Healthy Black Family Day in Beloit by hosting a table, distributing materials on mental health and providing a Perceived Stress Scale Survey for participants to complete.

YES discusses concerns that full expression of community diversity is not represented in YES meetings and events.  YES decides to move meetings to Beloit to promote more accessibility.


YES members reported concerns of lack of cultural/ethnic /geographic diversity in both YES meetings and outreach. To attempt to modify this situation, YES meetings were held in Beloit and Janesville alternating 3 months. YES members made a commitment to personally invite more people to attend from underrepresented groups.

To meet the emerging complexity of a grassroots, volunteer organization with a 9 year history, YES members decided to elect an Executive Committee with Chairperson and at large members. Subcommittee chairs would also be included. Existence of Executive Committee would facilitate decision-making between meetings when quick responses are needed.


In YES meetings, people brought up questions of how best to deliver the message of importance of youth mental health. Our presence at various community events can be a way for people to get information about many aspects of mental health. Clarity of communication of our mission is important. YES members worked at developing list of resources on mental health for families on the YES website Awareness Month.

YES participated in the 2nd Annual Healthy Black Family Day in Beloit and contributed books on self-esteem and family relations for young children. The Arrowhead Library System joined this effort by identifying books by African Americans, contributing funds and distributing books free at the event.

YES members participated in Promoting Community Systems of Care to Foster Young Children’s Social Emotional Development, a state-wide effort with local events. YES members presented our activities to bring together entities that serve young children. YES then successfully applied to be a pilot site for 2015-16 Early Childhood Coordinating Systems, pulling together efforts in the county which serve young children.


The 3rd annual Suicide Awareness Walk was held in September with good participation by sponsoring organizations and community attendance. The committee continued to look for ways to increase support to suicide survivors and those with lived experience. They also researched ways to heighten awareness at schools by offering to provide evidenced- based curricula for health classes.


The Family Support survey showed that the top service needs were food, dental and medical care. The top needs overall were transportation and unemployment, issues in the county in general. Top social emotional issue was extreme anger. If needs were met, families were happier in general. African American respondents stated higher needs in education, training and help with utility payments. People older than 30 stated more stress with language barriers. Results, related to YES mission, suggest concerns for cultural competence/inclusion and need for reduction of barriers for people to getting mental health treatment (transportation, communication).


The 6th annual Summit highlighted a nationally-known speaker who presented on impact of trauma on child development and behavior. Over 250 people attended; there was a marked increase from previous years in diversity of cultural/racial identity and job identity. Beloit school district has won a multi-year grant on Safe Schools that has a trauma component; representatives expressed desire to host the next Summit to support awareness of trauma.


YES members who serve low income families supported the Arrowhead Library System grant on 1000 Books by Kindergarten by providing advice on reaching families who are not regular library users. YES members also helped distribute promotional materials on the grant to families, to encourage early learning and brain development. YES members participated in a webinar for Department of Public Instruction on how the local library system and its community partners collaborated in bringing literacy to a wider audience.

YES Timeline 2015

Clinical Mental Health Services
YES members participated in trauma informed parenting groups supported by Rock County Human Services. This 16 hour course uses National Children’s Traumatic Stress Network curriculum for training parents and professionals in understanding impact of traumatic stress on youth. Thirty mental health providers in Rock County have received the training.

Early Learning
YES! in Rock County was one of three sites in Wisconsin participating in the Early Childhood Collaborating Systems grant through Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services. The purpose of the grant was to improve healthy social emotional development in children 0-6, mitigate toxic stress and increase access to services for this population. Thirty community members representing 15 agencies met for a Community Planning Day to discuss priorities in meeting the social emotional needs of children aged birth to 6 in Rock County. Several YES members also attended a Community Action and Awareness Day in Madison which focused on state-wide needs.
To reach caregivers who touch the lives of children, YES and Black Hawk Technical College offered a half day training in Adverse Childhood Events for over 50 child care workers in September. Trainers included Josh Mersky PhD and Dimitri Topitz PhD from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee who have been collecting state wide data on ACEs in the home visiting population.

Suicide Awareness and Prevention
YES held the 4th Annual Suicide Awareness and Prevention event in September at Rock County Fairgrounds. The committee supported additional training for YES members at a state suicide prevention event in Steven’s Point. Attendees learned about Hopeline Texting, a 24 hr. crisis service which uses texts rather than phone contact. Quality and professionalism of service appeared high, so materials about the service were distributed by posters, bracelets and word of mouth throughout Rock County. YES participated in International Survivors Day in Beliot, sponsored by Beloit Hospice. The Suicide Awareness and Prevention committee forged relationships with National Alliance on Mental Illness which expressed a willingness to take over the work of the committee. YES members attended the Mental Health Fair at Rock County Job Center supported by Behavioral Health Redesign Committee to improve coordination between providers in the county.

Public Awareness
Many YES members distributed mental health materials at multiple events during the year at schools, libraries, Head Start, and general community events. YES booth at the Mental Health Fair at Rock County Job center helped expand awareness of mental health needs of children.
YES participated in Rock Co. Advocates for Young Childiren website by Arrowhead Library System, which presents information about Rock County activities that affect the mental health of children. YES continued to distribute green pins to be worn during May, Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month. YES and Arrowhead Library System distributed free books on social emotional themes by African American authors to children at the Healthy Black Family Day in Beloit.

The7th Annual Supporting Children and Youth Who Struggle Summit invited Larry Epstein, PhD, Depts. of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School as Keynote Speaker. Over three hundred local professionals from a range of agencies attended the keynote and workshops on trauma, cultural awareness, incarcerated parents, mental health diagnoses in youth, and specialized interventions for at risk youth.
YES arranged for two school screenings of the movie Paper Tigers which follows youth at an trauma informed alternative high school in Washington state. Response from teachers and community was positive encouraging YES to buy copies of the film for each of the school districts in Rock Co.

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