For too many Palm Beach County children, summer equals boredom because camp is out of financial reach for their families.
Children’s Services Council announced Thursday that it spent a total of $1.7 million on its Summer Camp Scholarship program this year, a $200,000 increase from last summer. Children’s Services Council’s financial commitment along with funding from the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners ensured that about 2,500 children currently are attending quality summer camps.
The Summer Camp Scholarship Program provides a summer of fun and learning, including full tuition and fees, to children whose families are at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For a family of four, that’s about $36,450 a year.
The program – administered by Friends of Community Service, which is housed in the county’s Youth Services Department – gives working parents peace of mind, knowing their kids are off the streets, away from the TV and in a safe, stimulating environment during the day. Families can choose from more than 100 pre-approved camps.
“Summer should be a time of growth and exploration for children,” said Lisa Williams-Taylor, the Council’s CEO. “The Summer Camp Scholarship Program makes a huge difference in the lives of thousands of Palm Beach County’s children, and their families.”
In other business
Inspector General: The Council authorized the revision and renewal of its contract with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The Council placed itself under the jurisdiction of the Inspector General in 2012 to provide independent oversight of its operations. Under the revised contract, the OIG will no longer provide audit services to the Council, thereby reducing the contract cost by one third. The new contract for fiscal year 2016-2017, which begins Oct. 1, will not exceed $116,191.
Light Touch Developmental Services: The Council authorized contracts with The Arc and the Institute for Child and Family Health to pilot light touch programs that provide services to Palm Beach County children at risk of developmental delays or social-emotional vulnerability. Light touch services are intended to be short-term, six months or less. Contracts for each agency, beginning Oct. 1, 2016, are not to exceed $200,000.
Swim Lesson Vouchers: The Council approved modifying the use of match funding to make $25,000 immediately available for additional swim lesson vouchers for Palm Beach County children. With that money, Drowning Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County will be able to give swim lesson vouchers to more than 1,300 children this year.
Parent-Child Home Program: The Council approved a budget increase of $29,307 for the Parent-Child Home Program, administered by The Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County. The additional funding will help with start-up costs for the subcontractor, Lake Worth West, to begin providing Parent-Child Home Program services to the community.
The Literacy Coalition, which is the lead agency for the Parent-Child Home Program, also subcontracts with the Guatemalan-Maya Center and Boys Town Florida to provide Parent-Child Home services in the community. The program, with a total budget of $2.03 million in Palm Beach County, is an evidence-based home visiting model that prepares young children for school by increasing language and literacy skills, improving social-emotional development and strengthening the parent-child relationship.
Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County – a special-purpose government established by Palm Beach County voters in 1986 and reauthorized in 2014 – provides leadership, funding, services and research on behalf of the county's children so they grow up healthy, safe and strong. For more information, www.cscpbc.org or contact Shana Cooper, public information officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561.740.7000 ext. 2170.