Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County and community partners immediately engaged in developing an “action plan” for mental health services in the county, in the wake of the Parkland school shooting tragedy, CEO Lisa Williams-Taylor told the council at its monthly meeting Feb. 22.
“What can we do more of here to be supportive of our children and our community?” Ms. Williams-Taylor asked. A recent needs assessment found CSC already is one of the largest funders of mental health services in the county.
Along with the county’s youth services department, the school district, health care providers and others, CSC is moving forward to ensure the county’s Collective Impact initiative, Birth to 22: United for Brighter Futures, addresses any local gaps in services.
“We need to be more proactive,” she said.
In other business
New Council Members: Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County’s board welcomed newly appointed member Jose Luis Rodriguez. Mr. Rodriguez is chief human resources officer for the City of West Palm Beach. He succeeds Gregory Langowski and will serve for a term ending Nov. 3, 2020.
The Council also welcomed back Thomas Bean, who was appointed to second term. Mr. Bean is the director of public and community engagement at Florida Power and Light.
The Council has 10 board members, five gubernatorial appointees and five of whom are seated based on their roles in the community – including a juvenile court judge, the schools superintendent, the head of the local Department of Children and Families, a school board member and a county commissioner.
“We’re thrilled to have Mr. Bean remain as a council member,” Ms. Williams-Taylor said. “His knowledge of our community and interest in the children of Palm Beach County helps make our organization stronger.
“And we welcome Mr. Rodriguez and look forward to developing a close working relationship on behalf of the county’s children.”
For a full list of council members, click here.
Strong Minds: Also on Thursday, Council staff provided an update on the organization’s Strong Minds Network. Strong Minds is Palm Beach County’s quality rating improvement system for child care providers. This voluntary network offers financial supports, technical assistance and resources to child care centers, school-based sites and family child care homes – and their staff – in an effort to improve overall quality.
More than 200 child care programs participate in Strong Minds, with about 2,000 practitioners caring for more than 11,000 children. Of those children, 79 percent receive public funding for care.
The majority of children in Strong Minds sites live in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Lake Worth and Boynton Beach, respectively.
Providers appear satisfied with the network. In a recent survey, Strong Minds found that 70 percent participate in the program to improve their site’s quality of care. And when asked how well Strong Minds met their expectations, 75 percent said extremely well and 21 percent said moderately well.
Summer Book Distribution: The Council approved the purchase of books for 102,000 public school children as part of its early literacy campaign. In May, each child ages pre-K through 5th grade who attends a traditional public or charter school will choose a book of his or her own to take home. The goal is to encourage reading during the summer and reduce the risk of summer learning loss. This is the fifth year the Council has provided free books to school children. The book purchase is not to exceed $300,000.
Children’s Services Council – 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, contact Shana Cooper, public information officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-740-7000 ext. 2170.