Council proclaims April as Child Abuse Prevention Month
Of the more than 1,500 children who were abused or neglected in Palm Beach County last year, more than 87 percent were under age 13 and nearly 40 percent were under age 6. In total, six local children died as a result of abuse. To continue to raise awareness and evoke the kind of change that keeps more children safe, Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County’s board proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month during its March meeting.
Child welfare officials report that substance misuse is one of the main reasons children are removed from their homes and placed in foster care. Yet while there has been a 22-percent increase in the number of children placed in the foster care system in Palm Beach County, there are not enough foster families to care for them.
On the positive side, strong collaboration in the past nine years between CSC and local child welfare and advocacy groups has helped decrease the verified child abuse rate in the county from 11.5 per 1,000 children in 2015 to 5.2 per 1,000 currently. These partnerships have led to a 50-percent decrease in child deaths since 2015-2016. They’ve also meant that children involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems are receiving more consistent, cohesive services.
To continue to raise awareness, the council purchased more than 7,200 blue pinwheels to be placed in “gardens” around the county, including BRIDGES sites and CSC’s building. Also in April, the 10 BRIDGES have activities planned to share information about the impact of child abuse, as well as tips to prevent it. CSC staff will participate in other awareness events and spread the child abuse prevention message via its social media platforms.
In other business
EveryParent: Staff updated the Council on EveryParent, CSC’s free website and mobile apps designed to help making raising children in Palm Beach County easier. EveryParent – launched in August 2017 – offers families trusted tips, expert advice and connections to local resources. The information is broken out by age and topic area. Currently more than 9,000 family accounts have been created on EveryParent, which includes about 13,000 children. Staff shared changes in the areas of content and technology to improve the user experience, as well as plans for additional outreach in the community to spread the word about EveryParent.
Strong Minds: Staff updated the Council on Strong Minds, Palm Beach County’s quality improvement system for early care and education. Strong Minds offers supports to child care programs, as well as to their staff. Programs that participate in Strong Minds receive financial incentives, onsite technical assistance and access to a helpful online child assessment tool. Teachers and other staff receive professional development scholarships, salary supplements, technical assistance in the classroom, career advising and the same GOLD online child assessment tool.
Currently, 243 child care centers, family child care homes and school-based sites participate in Strong Minds, serving about 12,000 children.
Student-led Grant Making Pilot: Through the Great Ideas Initiative, CSC will partner with Student ACES Glades to plan, implement and monitor the Grassroots Student-led Grant Making Pilot. Through this project, CSC will provide $50,000 to Student ACES to disburse $35,000 in community mini grants to local nonprofits and community associations to support needed programs and services identified by the local students, parents, residents and other stakeholders. The mini grants will focus on funding programs and services that help the Glades communities realize the vision they have for their young people. The other $15,000 will help the student members of Student ACES plan, implement and administer this yearlong project.
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.
For more information about Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, please visit us at https://www.cscpbc.org or contact Shana Cooper, Public Information Officer, at 561.374.7570 or by clicking here.