Rock Co. board approves plan to change Birth to 3 Program vendor

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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - The Rock Co. Human Services Board unanimously approved a plan to change providers for the Birth to 3 Program Wednesday evening.

Birth to 3 is a federally mandated program in every county that helps provide services for children with developmental delays and disabilities.

CESA 2 is the current provider for the Birth to 3 Program in Rock Co. Now with the plans approval, United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Dane Co, will provide for the program.

County officials said they started looking at other options for providers in part because of a contract dispute with CESA 2, which has been operating in the county and providing services for 39 years.

Birth to 3 Program provides therapists for families with children with developmental delays. Every county can choose its own provider.

Brittney Dean, a Janesville resident and mother of three, said she has utilized the services for several years. She said all three of her children went through the program and have always seen the same therapist with CESA 2.

"I just don't want to lose the opportunity of having the people we have gotten to know," Dean said.

Terri Wixom, the program coordinator with CESA 2, said the 20 employees currently working in the program will lose their jobs, resulting in program participants not being able to see the same therapists. She said the transition could also result in a gap in services.

Director of Rock Co. Human Services Kate Luster said the county will ensure a smooth transition and said services will remain the same. She said the employees currently working with CESA 2 will be able to apply to work with the new provider.

"My biggest concern in this whole process is that families have been led to believe that their services are going to be reduced and they can't have confidence in Rock Co. to ensure the services they are entitled to them with high quality," Luster said.

The program will exist in the county no matter what provider oversees it. UCP of Greater Dane Co. County officials said the goal was to transition by Jan. 1 of 2020.