Children thrive in quality child care settings that participate in Children’s Services Council’s Strong Minds Network. This is according to a longitudinal study, now in its four year, which examines the impact of Strong Minds’ technical supports, financial incentives, professional development and an online child assessment tool on child care programs in the network. Currently, 243 child care centers, family child care homes and school-based sites participate in Strong Minds, serving about 12,000 children.
The study, conducted by an independent researcher, found:
- Child care providers that participate in Strong Minds saw improvement in quality over time.
- Children in Strong Minds In-Network programs scored 13.5 points higher on state early literacy assessments and were 1.2 times as likely to be ready for kindergarten as those attending non-Strong Minds programs.
- When the ratings of a particular child care provider improved (moving from Emerging to Promising to In-Network Tier I to In-Network Tier II), children benefited and their kindergarten readiness scores improved.
- Children in non-Strong Minds programs were 4.3 times more likely to be retained in kindergarten than those in Strong Minds In-Network programs.
- Strong Minds practitioners felt supported and saw a positive impact on classroom quality, kindergarten readiness and kindergarten retention.
In other business
Counseling Services: The Council approved the extension of a waiver for counseling services. Currently, CSC contracts with Center for Family Services and Center for Child Counseling to provide counseling services to families in CSC’s Healthy Beginnings System. To meet demand, and serve families currently on a wait list, staff would like to extend a waiver with Community Partners of South Florida and Families First for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Total cost for these services are not to exceed $200,000. These funds already are budgeted.
Dental Services: The Council approved early termination of a CSC contract with Palm Beach County’s Health Care District after the two entities were unable to come to payment agreement to cover dental services for low-income pregnant women and new mothers. In the future, CSC’s Healthy Beginnings care coordinators will assist clients in obtaining dental services on their own, including through the Health Care District’s income eligibility process. The district will continue to provide dental services to families who do not have the resources to pay.
Great Ideas Initiative (GII): The Council approved the creation of a Great Ideas Initiative Capacity Building Pipeline to assist select GII recipients in improving and enhancing their ability to deliver and sustain their mission. The pipeline plan will offer a menu of tiered capacity building supports and resource, starting with an overview program offered by Nonprofits First. GII is funded with the use of under-expenditures. The estimated cost of the GII Capacity Building Pipeline is up to $375,000.
STEAM-focused Summer Camps: The Council approved funding for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) summer camp opportunities for underrepresented children through a contract with Prime Time Palm Beach County. The summer camps would be held at several community based sites and serve as a pilot for a larger, year-round initiative. Total cost for these services are not to exceed $100,000. These funds already are budgeted.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month: The Council proclaimed May as Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, recognizing a positive trend – the teen birth rate in Palm Beach County for girls 15-19 (14.9 per 1,000 girls) is the lowest it’s been since 1995, the earliest year data is available. Despite the good news, teen pregnancy prevention remains a priority because of the life-long implications for both teens and their children. Research shows that children of teen mothers are more likely to be born prematurely and at a low birthweight. Only about half of teen mothers earn a high school diploma by age 22, compared to 90 percent of women without a teen birth. Teen mothers are more likely to live in poverty and depend on public assistance.
TMW Demonstration Project: During a presentation, the Council learned about The TMW Center’s Community Wide Demonstration Project, which they are launching in coordination with CSC in Palm Beach County. TMW takes an evidence-based public health approach to educating parents, and the community at large, about the incredible brain growth during infancy and early childhood development. The hope is to encourage parents to tune in, talk more and take turns having conversations with their young children to maximize a baby’s ability to learn and grow. To do this, TMW will partner with CSC to reach at least 60 percent of Palm Beach County children (0-3) and their families within five years.
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.