Council Update: Council dedicates resources to community mental wellness

At least 3,000 Palm Beach County residents directly benefitted this year from mental wellness services through programs funded by Children’s Services Council, staff told the Council’s board at its most recent meeting.
Such services included programs that: support pregnant and new mothers coping with depression, and their babies; normalize child behavior and parenting; help families in crisis because of substance abuse or domestic violence; help young children struggling with behavioral issues in school; and build teens’ self-esteem.  
CSC also provides trainings and workshops for the staff of agencies we fund as well as our own staff, such as those that address reflective practice and compassion fatigue. And CSC partners with local leaders in mental wellness, such as BeWellPBC, to promote the importance of behavioral health across the county. 
All this is just one of the reasons CSC earned the Gold Bell Seal for workplace mental health from Mental Health America.
“We know that COVID has affected mental health for many children and adults in our community, and our CSC staff and managers have felt the same impact,” CEO Lisa Williams-Taylor, said when CSC received the Gold Bell Seal. “Anxiety over the pandemic, limitations and occasional closing for local businesses, schools and governments, uncertainty about jobs and child care, loss of loved ones – these factors and more have altered so many lives and workplaces. 
“Like all employers, we’ve tried hard to reduce stress and keep our employees’ concerns first and foremost,” she said. 
In other business
Summer Camp Scholarships: The Council approved an increase in the amount it funds for summer camp scholarships by $500,000 to $4.4 million. This will allow a total of almost 4,000 children to spend the summer in enriching, fun camp environments. This will avoid the need for a waitlist and ensure all children who applied and are eligible enjoy the benefits of summer camp.
Safety & Justice Programs: The Council approved a collaboration with the Palm Beach County Youth Services Department to fund two programs that reduce future child abuse and/or work with youth who may face greater risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice or criminal justice systems. The programs supported by this funding collaborative are: Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA) and Children of Inmates. AVDA’s initiative offers domestic and dating violence prevention programming for youth ages 14-22. Children of Inmates’ initiative improves services and access for incarcerated parents and their children by developing activities that foster positive family engagement, reduce violence and interrupt intergenerational incarceration. The total cost to CSC to fund these programs for a three-year period beginning Oct. 1, 2022, is $352,524. The county’s Youth Services Department anticipates providing $471,000 during the same three-year period. 
Book Distribution: The Council approved increased funding for CSC to purchase children’s books for child care sites, as well as the option to purchase more books if a need arose this fiscal year. The Council already had approved up to $420,000 for books for children, kindergarten through 5th grade, who attend public and charter schools in Palm Beach County, as well as CSC’s BRIDGES programs, as part of the “A Book for EveryChild” campaign and summer reading programs. The additional funding will increase the total amount allocated for books up to $480,000 this fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2022.
Transportation Services: The Council approved an increase in its contract with 4R Services of up to $308,168. The $78,000-increase of the current contract will mean more families in CSC’s maternal-child programs can receive transportation to doctors’ appointments and other health-related services.

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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