Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County’s board approved a tentative plan to provide up to $500,000 for some local elementary and middle schools to increase mental health services.
The Council’s intent bolsters The Palm Beach County School District’s Mental Health Assistance Program, which plans to use state funds to expand school-based mental health services for the district’s highest-need schools. Those services include the addition of two Crisis Response Teams and co-located mental health providers in some schools. Children’s Services Council (CSC) will contract with mental health providers directly to co-locate mental health services in additional schools of CSC’s choosing, with focus on elementary and middle schools in select BRIDGES communities. BRIDGES are CSC-funded community hubs in 10 neighborhoods across Palm Beach County where indicators of children’s well-being historically have lagged behind the rest of the county.
Staff told the Council at its monthly meeting that they are working with the school district to create a coordinated plan.
In other business:
Annual Planning Session: The Council adopted numerous actions from its annual planning session, held June 28, including:
- Approving the addition of Committed to Advancing Equity as one of the Council’s guiding principles.
- Affirming the Council’s current areas of investment in concrete supports to include: food/hunger relief; transportation; two-generation efforts; resources to help families access public benefits; and income support in the area of scholarships for child care, afterschool and summer camp.
- Adopting the recommendations from the Strategy Review & Allocation Analysis to: ensure continued refinement of the early childhood system of care to focus on reducing racial disparities, and to promote involvement of all important adults in children’s lives; improve opportunities for families to choose preferred services; promote resiliency and support families on their path to self-sufficiency; and facilitate access to behavior health services.
- Affirming and supporting the continuation of increased investment in summer camp scholarships.
- Affirming CSC’s role and investment in STEM.
Grade-Level Reading Campaign: Children’s Services Council received numerous honors during the National Grade-Level Reading (GLR) conference in July. For the second time in five years, Children’s Services Council was designated a Pacesetter for its work in creating Healthy Beginnings, a maternal-child health system of care. CSC’s EveryParent campaign achieved GLR Bright Spot honors. Moreover, the annual Happily Ever After Begins with Reading event, as well as CSC’s partnership with Alpha Media, both were showcased at the national conference. Additionally, CSC nominated four local partners as literacy Council of Champions, and the Delray Beach GLR Campaign nominated a fifth champion. All five Palm Beach County representatives are:
- Cobi Dunn, Parent-Child Home Program Director, Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County
- Amanda Escalante, Parent-Child Home Site Coordinator, Guatemalan-Maya Center
- Molly Felmet, Reach Out and Read Program Director, Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County
- Joe Gillie, former CEO and President of Delray Beach Old School Square Cultural Arts Facility
- Hollyanne Ruffner, Library Media Services Specialist, The School District of Palm Beach County
Summer Events: Children’s Services Council sponsored or participated in numerous family friendly summer events, including …
- Fourth on Flagler – CSC joined the West Palm Beach July 4th festival for the first time this year. While wet, stormy weather kept attendance down, families who created an account with CSC’s EveryParent website or apps received free admission into the enclosed arcade area.
- Summer Spelling Bee – CSC joined Palm Beach County’s Youth Services Department at the fourth annual Countywide Spelling Bee at Palm Beach Lakes High School July 12. At least 400 children who attend camps through the Summer Camp Scholarship Program participated in the bee on National Summer Learning Day.
- Pool Parties – More than 1,200 people came out Saturday, July 14, for the fourth annual Water Safety Party at Lake Lytal Pool in West Palm Beach. Another 450-plus people showed up Saturday, July 28, for Summer Safety Celebration at Pioneer Park in Belle Glade. Families received free pool admission, free food and more, as well as a chance to learn about dozens of local community resources.
- Summer BreakSpot Book Giveaway – CSC donated more than 12,000 books to 200-plus Summer BreakSpot sites across Palm Beach County. These are sites – schools, libraries, camps and more – where children 18 and younger can receive free meals during the summer. The books provide an opportunity for the children to read while they eat. At the end of the summer, children will be able to pick a book to take home and keep.
- Be My Neighbor Day – Families received free tickets to Be My Neighbor Day at the Ballpark at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, where they can meet PBS character Daniel Tiger and watch the Jupiter Hammerheads take on the Palm Beach Cardinals. The event is to take place Aug. 4.
Children’s Services Council, a local special-purpose government created 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. To learn more, please visit www.cscpbc.org.