Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee unites several causes under their banner. One focus in the Milwaukee area is supporting recent refugees. Volunteers and staff study one-on-one with refugees to prepare for citizenship applications, and also act as friends during their transition to life in a new country. This builds cross-cultural exchange and stronger communities, says Claire Reuning, refugee integration specialist.
“Some of the refugees have survived personal tragedies,” explains Reuning, “but that’s not the only thing. Integration is about feeling comfortable in a new environment. We want Milwaukee to feel like home.”
The new options in adoption program is another way Catholic Charities is serving Milwaukee.
“There are many barriers to adoption,” says Jen Layton, director of child welfare services at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which serves 10 Wisconsin counties. “We know that private adoption is expensive. It is also an issue of equity.”
The new program places Black children with modest means with Black adoptive parents, with costs subsidized by Catholic Charities. Layton also points out the organization’s pregnancy and parenting support, including education in infant care, smoking cessation, breastfeeding, safe sleeping and mental health, to help make the child’s first year a success.
“Our goals are to increase healthy birth outcomes and decrease mortality,” says Layton.
Catholic Charities also operates a care facility for adults with, for example, Parkinson’s to ease the burden on caregivers in the family.
“I’m positive that I will get better with life situations by working with Catholic Charities,” says Keeley, a recent client who received mentor home visits and therapy sessions. “I’m looking forward to the outcome. I feel safe and secure in that I can trust them with my business and it’s kept strictly confidential.”