Council Update: Children's Services Council honored with United Way's Champion for Children Award

Children’s Services of Council of Palm Beach County received a surprise Champion for Children Award this month at United Way of Palm Beach County’s Heart of Palm Beach County: Celebrate the Impact ceremony, staff informed the board at its monthly meeting. The recognition is one of 22 that United Way awards community members, nonprofit agencies, donors and others who support the organization’s mission.

The Champion for Children Award is reserved for those who go above and beyond to assist Palm Beach County youth. The recipient embodies the mission and values of United Way of Palm Beach County by ensuring that all residents have access to the basics and that all families can reach their full potential. 

Children’s Services Council was the first recipient of this prestigious award for its commitment to creating transformational changes in the community, supporting special initiatives and investing in hunger relief, mentoring youth, providing services for children with special needs, and fostering capacity for nonprofit organizations. 

Children’s Services Council funds the following United Way-administered programs:
•    Enhanced Mentoring Engagement – provides long-term mentors to youth involved in, or at risk of becoming involved in, the juvenile justice or dependency systems.
•    Mentoring Initiative – funds ongoing oversight of local mentoring programs, as well as technical assistance.
•    Hunger Relief – Summer BreakSpot – supports the Mobile Summer BreakSpot program that delivers meals to children outside of normal school hours in convenient locations.
•    Special Needs Initiative – administers special needs-related programs, including afterschool and respite needs, as well as the Special Needs Equipment Fund.

In other business

DCF ACCESS Positions: The Council approved CSC’s contract renewal with the state Department of Children & Families to support three DCF ACCESS positions. These employees, who are co-located at CSC’s Healthy Beginnings entry agencies, help families apply for state assistance and, in doing so, eliminate delays. When families apply for assistance in a timely fashion, with a correct application, they receive faster medical services and vital prenatal and infant care. Help navigating the social services/health care system is one of the most used services in Healthy Beginnings. The contract, from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025, will not exceed $216,000.

CSC Gives Back: Staff partnered with nonprofit Speak Up for Kids during CSC Gives Back Day, May 16. Seeing the ongoing need for more foster parents, Speak Up for Kids created the Foster Palm Beach program, a community-wide approach to raising public awareness about the critical need for foster families to care for Palm Beach County’s children. CSC staff prepared 1,000 backpacks with essential items – from hairbrushes to journals – for youth ages 15 through 17. CSC Council Members Alexandria Ayala and Tom Weber joining staff in packing the bags. 

EveryParent Launch Campaign: The official launch of CSC’s refreshed website began this month with a strong promotional campaign. To create excitement and spread the word, CSC is offering families a chance to win one of five free photo sessions to those who log in or create an account between May 15 - July 3. The promotional campaign includes:

• Videos on social media and digital platforms, in both English and Spanish
• Promos on our Spanish-language Familias Latinas Facebook site
• Promos by social media influencer Kitty Lundan
• Radio PSAs airing on 14 local radio stations: five Hubbard Radio stations, five Spanish-language stations, two Creole-language stations, a Caribbean station and one Belle Glade station.

The refreshed website offers families: more videos, more expert content, more local resources, and a friendlier user experience (including open access to all content without logging in). In addition, families who log in or create an account can view a fun list of free and low-cost things to do updated weekly, easy sign-in to the EveryParent mobile app and local promotions and other perks. soft-launched in August 2017, with a formal roll-out in February 2018. The website and apps hold accounts for more than 18,700 families and more than 25,000 children.

Heatstroke Awareness: In honor of National Heatstroke Awareness Day, CSC – along with partner agencies Safe Kids Palm Beach County, the state Department of Children & Families and Palm Beach County Fire Rescue – held a news conference to raise awareness about the dangers of leaving children alone in hot cars. At the conference, a large display demonstrated how the temperature inside a parked car can rise 50 degrees in about 20 minutes. In addition, Fire Rescue demonstrated how they would respond to a call of a child in a hot car. 

Facebook Live Town Hall: On May 18, CSC hosted its first Facebook Live Town Hall with Familias Latinas, CSC’s Spanish-language Facebook group. Carlos Mahecha, a well-known local Hispanic television and social media personality, facilitated the event. This virtual Town Hall featured Triple P therapist Carolina Libreros with Center for Family Services, who addressed questions regarding teen mental health. Also participating were three local Hispanic mothers of teens, who shared their experiences and challenges in raising teens. The Town Hall was shared live on the Familias Latinas Facebook group platform entirely in Spanish. Questions from the audience were addressed as they were posted after the discussions. This event was recorded and will be shared again at a future scheduled date. the livestream receieved moore than 180 views and generated 37 comments. 

Water Safety Day: CSC’s Communications Team partnered with Palm Beach County Parks &
Recreation for a World Water Safety Day May 13 at Lake Lytal Aquatic Center in West Palm Beach. Families were able to swim for free from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and receive water safety messages, with Children’s Services Council providing free drawstring bags.

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.

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