Children’s Services Council partners with University of Chicago to boost babies’ brains

Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County
October 11, 2018

Beginning in fall 2019, Palm Beach County families will have the chance to help their baby’s brain grow stronger and improve their early school success.

Palm Beach County will be the first site in the nation to demonstrate how proven community-wide services and practices can bolster brain development in children, thanks to a new partnership between a University of Chicago research institute and Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.

“Babies aren’t born smart, they’re made smart. They’re made smart by their parents,” says Dr. Dana Suskind, Founder and Co-Director of the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health in Chicago. The TMW Center strategy places parents and caregivers at the center of their child’s education and focuses on prevention rather than remediation. The programs will take place in the hospital after birth, during well-child checks at pediatricians’ offices, and in community-based organizations.

The TMW Center will partner with Children’s Services Council in sharing the vision of all children entering school ready to thrive. CSC’s long-established system of care for early childhood education, called Healthy Beginnings, was the key factor in selecting Palm Beach County for its first multi-year, community-wide demonstration project, says Dr. Suskind.

“The goal of this partnership is to implement TMW interventions in Palm Beach County that reach at least 60 percent of families with children age birth through three,” says Dr. Suskind. “Through this partnership, we intend to develop a model for community-wide saturation and implementation that can be replicated elsewhere in the country.”

“This opportunity fits so well with our work,” says Dr. Lisa Williams-Taylor, CEO of Children’s Services Council. “We all want parents and caregivers to have the knowledge, tools and supports they need to support the healthy development of their children’s brains, beginning at birth.”

“This also aligns perfectly with CSC’s goal of school readiness at kindergarten,” Dr. Williams-Taylor says. Even allowing for changes in state-mandated measurements of school readiness, children in CSC-funded programs consistently out-performed comparable groups of children on the Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener for more than five years.


About the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health

The TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health, an interdisciplinary research institute at the University of Chicago, develops, tests, and disseminates evidence-based, parent-directed interventions that promote children’s cognitive, language, and social-emotional development. To be effective, the organization uses feedback cycles to improve programs and inform scaling.

With science driving its efforts, the TMW Center seeks to advance a public health approach to early learning:

  • Focus on prevention, rather than remediation
  • Place parents and caregivers at the center of their child’s education
  • Embed proven practices into existing education and health systems
  • Use research to drive innovation and impact at scale


Through its outreach, the Center aims to influence the broader fields of health, education, and social services with this preventive, evidence-driven approach that focuses on the importance of the first three years of life.

A joint venture between University of Chicago’s Biological Sciences and Social Sciences Divisions, the TMW Center is led by Dana Suskind, MD and Professor John List. Learn more at and on Twitter @TMWCenter. 


About Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County

The Council is a local special-purpose government created by Palm Beach County voters in 1986 and reauthorized in 2014. For more than 30 years, it has provided leadership, funding, services and research on behalf of the county’s children so they grow up healthy, safe and strong.

To make the biggest impact, the Council focuses on prenatal health and early childhood development so more Palm Beach County children are born healthy, grow up safe from abuse and neglect, are ready to learn when they enter school, and have access to quality afterschool and summer programming.

The Council believes that by giving children the fundamental tools for success early, they are more likely to:

  • Reach vital growth and developmental milestones
  • Graduate from high school
  • Become productive members of society

The Council accomplishes its goals by funding local nonprofit and community agencies to provide proven, high-quality services to the county’s children and families. In 2017-2018, the 57 programs funded by the council provided direct services to thousands of Palm Beach County children and families.

For more information about Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, please visit us at or contact Shana Cooper, Public Information Officer, at or 561.374.7570.





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Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County
2300 High Ridge Road, Boynton Beach, FL 33426
561-740-7000 or 1-800-331-1462
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