Council Update: Council joins community partners, invests in behavioral health

Recognizing the vital importance of a community’s collective behavioral health, Children’s Services Council has joined other leaders in funding BeWellPBC. This local behavioral wellness initiative, launched in January 2019, engages residents, systems and sectors in meaningful ways to address the county's behavioral health needs collectively – with the promise to do better for our children, families and neighbors. 

Lauren Zuchman, BeWellPBC’s executive director, shared the initiative’s focus areas with Children’s Services Council’s board at a recent monthly meeting. The goals are to:

  • Change the behavioral health landscape and approach
  • Understand and address equity barriers in behavioral health care
  • Create greater integration and coordination for access to existing services
  • Empower community driven solutions
  • Educate and advocate

To date, the Council has invested $87,500 in BeWellPBC, which is overseen by Palm Health Foundation, with a commitment to invest another $50,000 in fiscal year 2020-2021.

Staff told the board that BeWellPBC’s work directly aligns with several of the Council’s strategy areas by promoting resilience and supporting families on their path toward self-sufficiency, as well as helping families find access to appropriate behavioral health services.

In other business

Community Voice: An independent, cost-benefit analysis of Community Voice by a Florida Atlantic University professor found that the program provides impressive return on investment. Community Voice, a grassroots program funded by the Council and administered by Sickle Cell Foundation of Palm Beach County, employs lay health advisors to share information about healthy birth outcomes within targeted communities. A 2018 evaluation of Community Voice by Council staff found significant improvement in birth outcomes after the program was implemented.

The study by Patrick Bernet, a professor of Healthcare Finance, found that since its inception, from 2009 to 2016, the program cost $4.1 million. Of the 10,341 births in Community Voice zip codes during that time, the community saw a savings of $621 per birth – or $6.4 million overall. That’s a savings of nearly $2.3 million.

As a result, every $1 spent on Community Voice results in a return of $1.56, or a 56-percent return on investment.

Child First: One of three agencies that administer Child First, an early intervention program funded by the Council, has lost its accreditation through Nonprofits First because of significant loss of revenue and concerns about fiscal stability. As a result, the Council will terminate its contract with the Institute for Child & Family Health (ICFH). To ensure continuous service for the families currently served by ICFH, Council staff have created a process by which the two remaining agencies (Center for Child Counseling and Families First of Palm Beach County) will bid to absorb ICFH’s program. Once the process is complete and the agency is chosen, an amended contract will go into effect March 1, if approved by the Council at its Feb. 27, 2020 meeting.

CPPA: Staff reported results of the Annual Comprehensive Program Performance Assessment (CPPA), which is one of several assessments used to evaluate providers’ performance and compliance with contracts. The main areas of review under CPPA are: program implementation and fidelity, program operations, and outcome achievement. CPPA is conducted at least once a year and is used with other financial, administrative and programmatic tools to measure program accountability and quality improvement.

In Fiscal Year 2018-2019, the Council evaluated 57 programs in full implementation. Of those, 18 programs were evaluated using the short form. All 18 were found in compliance. Of the 39 other programs scored using CPPA, 38 received a score of 90 (out of 100) or above. One program scored 82.5. This provider has already implemented corrective action on issues identified earlier in the year. Staff stated that no further intervention is recommended at this time.


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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