Council Update: CSC to begin re-imagining early care and education supports

Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County’s board on Thursday approved the recommendations of a 16-member resident advisory committee to re-imagine how CSC funds early care and education supports in the Palm Beach County. The recommendations come after a year of work, in which CSC staff engaged the community numerous times in meaningful discussions about what’s working, and what could be improved, when it comes to child care in our community. The recommendations include: 

  • Salary Supplements to help retain child care teachers, reduce their financial stress, enhance job satisfaction, attract new teachers to the field and promote continuing education. The supplements will be available to teachers at programs that receive public funding and will be based on teacher education/training, longevity and classroom assessments. They will be paid directly to the teacher every 6 months and will range from $200 to $6,000 a year. Implementation of this support will begin early 2025 and is budgeted to cost up to $2.77 million.
  • Classroom Supports to help address child development and other classroom needs. The supports will bolster children’s development, provide teachers with strategies to increase children’s social-emotional learning, connect children and families with developmental/behavioral resources and reduce teacher burnout/turnover. The implementation of these supports currently is being developed by staff.
  • Mini-Grants for one year to support child care programs that receive public funding through the ECE Re-imagining transition. Implementation of the grants will begin in the fall 2024 and will not exceed $4.5 million.

The committee recommendations do not impact the individual child care scholarships that local families access to supplement paying for care. 

In other business

BeWellPBC: The Council approved continued funding for BeWellPBC, a countywide initiative addressing Palm Beach County’ s complex mental health needs. CSC partners with other local funders, including Palm Health Foundation, Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties and others, to support BeWellPBC’s programs. CSC will fund BeWellPBC, through Palm Health Foundation as its fiscal agent, for three years in the amount not to exceed $225,000 in total. The Council also approved a renewed commitment to fund BeWellPBC’s Community Connectors program for two years in an amount not to exceed $380,000 in total. 

Youth Mental Health: The Council approved $80,500 funding in collaboration with Palm Health Foundation to support three youth mental health initiatives: 

  • Providencia/Rhythm of Hope: Weekly groups and monthly workshops that use expressive arts and movement with youth who are on a waitlist for individual therapy.
  • Ann Norton Sculpture Garden/Indian Ridge School: Art and music studio lessons for youth from Indian Ridge School.
  • M&S Community Stars: Scholarship funding for youth to participate in an arts program during the school year, including coverage of supplies/materials. 

Parenting/Role Model Program: The Council approved a funding collaboration with Palm Beach County Youth Services Department to support Parenting/Role Model and Educational Support programs. With a CSC contribution of $1.08 million over three years, the following programs will be offered to local families:

  • Children of Inmates, Inc.’s Babies N Brains Parenting: Teaches local, incarcerated parents the fundamentals of infant brain development, developmental milestones, appropriate child maturation and the impact of trauma on child development.
  • Grandma’s Place’s Family Support Program: Provides support services to parents/guardians of children with special needs. 
  • Literacy Coalition of PBC’s Glades Family Education Program: Breaks the intergenerational cycle of low literacy, low academic achievement and poverty. 
  • American Association of Caregiving Youth, Inc.’s Caregiving Youth Project: Provides free services to middle and high school students who sacrifice their education, health, well-being and childhood to perform adult-sized responsibilities in providing care for a family member who is chronically ill, injured, elderly or disabled.
  • Children’s Home Society’s Building Resilient Youth: Provides a variety of resiliency and other services to youth in the Riviera Beach community who are chronically absent or at risk of chronic absenteeism.
  • Connect to Greatness’s The Boys to Men Leadership Academy: Supports underserved African American/Black boys ages 11-18 with group mentoring, social-emotional wellness programming and other services to guide them into adulthood.
  • Digital Vibez, Inc.’s Lifetime of Consequences: Empowers underserved youth through songwriting, audio-visual production, dance and mentoring programs to cultivate creativity and skills while fostering self-esteem.
  • Youth Empowered to Prosper, Inc.’s Young Women Who Win: Provides mentoring to challenged female students in predominantly Title I middle and high schools in the county.

Enhanced Mentoring: The Council approved renewal of a $1.2 million, three-year agreement between CSC, the County and United Way of Palm Beach County to continue funding the Enhanced Mentoring Engagement Program for youth involved in, or at risk of being involved in, the juvenile justice or child welfare systems. This program was recognized as a Best in Category for a Children and Youth Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo).

Weekend Backpack Program: The Council approved a funding commitment of up to $500,000 to expand the Weekend Backpack Program, which provides children with food to take home to fill the 68-hour weekend hunger gap (Friday afternoon to Monday morning). Staff estimate the program would serve 14 schools and more than 1,500 children and their families per week. With the Backpack Program expansion, total CSC funding for hunger relief now is more than $1.1 million.


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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