Palm Beach County families need more access to affordable, quality child care as well as help ensuring their children are developing both socially and emotionally, according to a newly released report by Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County. The Community Needs Assessment, a year-long project by CSC staff, identifies health priorities and gaps in services for pregnant women, parents, infants and young children in Palm Beach County. The report was shared this week at Children’s Services Council monthly board meeting.
Among the findings:
- 15 percent of families were unable to get help finding child care.
- Fewer Palm Beach County children were ready for kindergarten, compared to the state.
- Parents value their children’s socialization and wish there were more community supports to help their children develop appropriate social-emotional skills.
- 13.1 percent of Palm Beach County residents lacked health insurance in 2015, higher than the United States, at 9.4 percent. Among those in Palm Beach County, 24.7 percent of Hispanics lacked health insurance, compared to 18.4 percent of blacks and 10.7 percent of whites.
- More than 86 percent of community providers felt Palm Beach County needed more mental health services.
Staff told the Council that the assessment will be used in numerous ways, including to inform The Healthy Start Service Delivery Plan, 2018-2020, and CSC’s strategic planning process.
To read the executive summary or full report, please click here: http://www.cscpbc.org/commneeds
In other business
Council Changes: The Council said goodbye to members Shelley Vana, former Palm Beach County Commissioner, and Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Kroll. The Council, in turn, welcomed Palm Beach County Mayor Paulette Burdick and Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge James Martz.
By law, the Council’s governance consists of a 10-member board. Five are gubernatorial appointees, and they serve staggered four-year terms. Five others serve by virtue of their positions in other bodies, and they are: Palm Beach County School Superintendent, Southeast Florida Regional Director of the Department of Children and Families, a school board member selected annually by the school board, a county commissioner selected annually by the county commission, and a juvenile court judge selected annually by the Chief Judge for Palm Beach County Circuit Court.
CPPA: Staff presented the results of the year-end Comprehensive Program Performance Assessment (CPPA) review. This review of funded programs provides a score on the following factors: Implementation and fidelity, data submission and quality, operations and outcome achievement. For 2015-2016, 60 programs were reviewed. Of those, 30 programs went through the full CPPA review, 24 went through a shortened version and six went through the full CPPA review but were not scored because they’re new. Of the 30 that went through the full process, 24 scored 90% or better and 4 scored between 76%-89%. Of the 24 that went through the shortened process, 23 met their contract expectations and one is still pending more information.
Head Start Update: Staff provided an update to the 2014 early education plan that included collaboration among CSC, The Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County (ELC), The School District of Palm Beach County, Palm Beach County Community Services Department and Lutheran Services of Florida. The goal of the plan is to create an early childhood system of care in Palm Beach County that makes accessing child care easier and more efficient for families, while reducing duplication of services and funds among providers. Staff noted some highlights of the last two years:
- Families are able to go to one location, their local BRIDGES site, and meet with the roving ELC outreach team to see whether they’re eligible for a child care subsidy, Head Start or Early Head Start (administered by Lutheran Services) or CSC scholarships.
- Nearly 150 children in Head Start and Early Head Start were referred to CSC’s Healthy Beginnings System for additional services.
- Child care sites funded by Lutheran Services and ELC to provide Head Start and Early Head Start services are accessing Strong Minds supports at impressive rates.
Strong Minds Update: As of December 2016, 249 child care sites – serving nearly 12,000 children – were participating in the Strong Minds Network, a voluntary quality rating improvement system funded by CSC that promotes high-quality early care and education programs. Strong Minds helps providers improve: children’s learning environment, staff quality and practice, family engagement, and children’s development and school readiness.
Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County is an independent special district established by Palm Beach County voters in 1986 and reauthorized in 2014. The Council provides leadership, funding, services and research on behalf of the county’s children so they grow up healthy, safe and strong. To learn more, please visit www.cscpbc.org or contact Shana Cooper, public information officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561.740.7000 ext. 2170.